BARTOW, Fla. – A Florida city commissioner has been charged with fatally shooting a man he accused of shoplifting a hatchet from an Army-Navy surplus store.
The Ledger reports that a Polk County grand jury indicted 47-year-old Michael Dunn on a second-degree murder charged Friday. A conviction could mean a possible life sentence.
Surveillance video released to the public shows the Lakeland commissioner shooting 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez on Oct. 3. The video shows Dunn holding a gun in his right hand while trying to keep Lopez from carrying the hatchet out of the store. Dunn grabs a fistful of Lopez's shirt, and Lopez is partly out the door, raising the hatchet, when Dunn fires and Lopez falls, mortally wounded.
Dunn's attorney, Rusty Franklin, has previously said the shooting was justified because Lopez was holding the hatchet.
The Lopez family attorney Adam Kemp, with Morgan & Morgan issued this statement after Dunn's arrest:
“There is no way to undo the life-shattering harm that Mr. Dunn caused, but we are pleased that the State Attorney’s Office is moving forward with criminal charges for such an unnecessary and egregious use of deadly force. We want to thank the State Attorney’s Office and State Attorney Brian Haas for making the decision to charge Mr. Dunn and not delaying justice. We are hopeful that through both this criminal proceeding and the civil suit we plan to file, Mr. Dunn will be held fully accountable for the senseless killing of Christobal Lopez.”
Update on Shooting Investigation - Release of Surveillance Video
Update on Shooting Investigation - Release of Surveillance Video On October 4th, Chief Larry Giddens issued the following statement in regard to the shooting that occurred the day prior. "We have received multiple requests for comments, reports, surveillance videos and evidence regarding the shooting at the Vets Army Navy Surplus store. Please understand this is an ongoing criminal investigation. We are working with the State Attorney's Office and the Medical Examiners Office, two wonderfully reputable agencies, to ensure this investigation is done in the most transparent, professional way possible. Until the investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to comment further." At this time, in the interest of transparency, although the criminal investigation continues to be active, we at the Lakeland Police Department have requested and received the approval of the State Attorney's Office to release all the videos which show the shooting that occurred on October 3rd. Raw files of the videos have been submitted to the State Attorney's Office and media. The clips shown here have been shortened for the sake of time, showing only when activity is occurring. Though citizens may have strong feelings about what is depicted, we ask you to remain patient as our department continues to work with the State Attorney's Office to investigate.Posted by LakelandPD on Monday, October 15, 2018