Southern States Violent Crime

Florida Store Owner Allegedly Shoots Shoplifter Caught on Camera

Florida Store Owner Allegedly Shoots Shoplifter Caught on Camera

A city commissioner in central Florida was indicted on the charge of second-degree murder in the death of a suspected shoplifter at his military surplus store earlier this month, a state attorney said Friday.

Warning the video is graphic and not suitable for children. Discretion is advised.

The Oct. 3 shooting was captured on store surveillance and showed Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn firing at Christobal Lopez, 50, at the front door of Dunn’s Vets Army and Navy Surplus.

Dunn could be seen grabbing Lopez, an agricultural laborer, as he tried to leave, then firing a semiautomatic Glock at him.

Lopez was holding a hatchet in his right hand that belonged to the store, police said but wasn’t seen in the video physically threatening Dunn.

Dunn, who was booked into Polk County Jail, has not commented about the incident, which has drawn renewed attention to Florida’s “stand your ground” law, enacted in 2005 with support from gun lobbyists. His attorney has previously said they haven’t decided whether they would want to invoke the statute.

Lakeland police said in an affidavit that Dunn did not indicate Lopez made any threatening statements and admitted to shooting Lopez twice. One shot hit Lopez in the left side of his body and the other in his back, police said.

Dunn allegedly said he was in fear, but when he was asked by police what would have happened if he let go of Lopez, Dunn replied, “It might be fair to say, that if I just stepped back and let somebody come in and take what they want, that there would be no issue,” according to the police affidavit. Dunn also did not render aid, police said, and for all those reasons police said the shooting was unjustified, the affidavit said.

“It is the policy of my office to comply with and abide by the Stand Your Ground Law, however, I have determined that this case and the actions of Mr. Dunn fall outside the protection of the Stand Your Ground Law,” State Attorney Brian Haas said, according to NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa.

Dunn’s attorney, Rusty Franklin, said the video shows Lopez with an ax, and the use of force was justified.

“He had no choice but to protect himself, and that’s what we hope this trial will prove and we will prove it in a courtroom, not in the media,” Franklin said.

An attorney for Lopez’s family said in a statement to WFLA that they hope through both the criminal case and a civil suit they plan to file that justice will be done. They called the killing “senseless” and said it was an “unnecessary and egregious use of deadly force.”

Floridians can justify using deadly force if they believe their life is in danger, and the law doesn’t require the gun owner to first try to flee the scene before pulling the trigger.

Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
________________________________________________________________________________

Fugitive Watch was founded in 1992 by two San Francisco Bay area police officers, Steve Ferdin and Scott Castruita. Fugitive Watch is a reality-based television show, newspaper and website, fugitive.com. We can also be found on social media such as InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. The mission of Fugitive Watch is to make Your community safer by helping law enforcement fight crime. Fugitive Watch brings the community, local business, and law enforcement together to solve crimes, apprehend wanted fugitives and provide education and crime prevention information to the community.

Business and private sponsorship help Fugitive Watch empower the community to strike back at crime from the safety of their living rooms. Fugitive Watch has been credited by law enforcement with over several 1000 crimes solved or fugitives apprehended. Fugitive Watch also helps improve the safety of police officers by locating fugitives for law enforcement so they can more safely arrest them rather than unexpectedly running across them through extremely dangerous routine “chance encounters”. As law enforcement officers know all too well, These “chance encounters” have resulted in countless officer injuries and deaths.

Leave a Comment