Lakeland city commissioner charged with murder in shooting of man he suspected of shoplifting
LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder after he fatally shot a suspected shoplifter.
State Attorney Brian Haas announced the arrest on Friday, just two weeks after the killing.
▼WATCH PRESS CONFERENCE HERE▼
Surveillance video of the October 3 shooting shows Dunn shoot 50-year-old Christobal Lopez at the Vets Army & Navy Surplus store located at 819 N. Florida Ave. Lopez was pronounced dead on scene.
According to statements, Lopez entered the store with his father. As his father was making a purchase, Dunn reportedly witnessed Lopez trying to steal a hatchet. Dunn stopped him and asked if he was going to pay for the item, then a confrontation ensued.
Dunn is a co-owner of the store.
Lopez family’s attorney, Adam Kemp, released the following statement, prior to 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.”
Dunn was indicted on Friday and booked into the Polk County Jail on a charge of second-degree murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.