LAKELAND, Fla. — Michael Dunn, the Lakeland city commissioner who shot and killed an alleged shoplifter on October 3, was arrested Friday and charged with second degree murder.
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A grand jury indicted Dunn on a second-degree murder charge Friday.
Dunn was taken into custody at his attorney's office, according to Lakeland Police. He was subsequently booked at the Polk County Jail.
State Attorney Brian Haas and Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens briefed the media shortly after the arrest.
"I have determined this case and the actions of Mr. Dunn fall outside of the protection of the 'stand your ground' law," Haas explained. "It is important that this process go forward and that the victim, the victim's family, the defendant, and our community receive fair process and a fair trial, and we are working diligently to accomplish that."
"Although this investigation maybe taken longer than some would’ve liked, we had an obligation to do it right," Giddens said. "That's what we will always to do to insure the citizens of this community can continue to have faith and confidence in us."
The shooting occurred at Vets Army Navy Surplus on North Florida Avenue.
According to investigators, Dunn shot Christobal Lopez, 50, at the front of the business. Surveillance video showing the shooting was released to the public with the permission of the Polk County State Attorney's office last Monday.
The video shows Dunn shooting and killing Lopez, who appeared to be trying to leave the store after stealing an item.
According to the arrest affidavit, Dunn was still pointing his weapon at Lopez when officers arrived, and that Dunn admitted to detectives he shot Lopez twice because he was stealing the hatchet from his business.
The detective wrote Lopez never made any threatening movements towards Dunn during the incident.
Dunn's attorney, Rusty Franklin, saw it differently.
“This situation was commenced and started not by Michael Dunn," Franklin explained. "Someone made a choice to shoplift. Someone placed a hatchet in their pants. Someone had every opportunity to abandon their criminal offense that they were engaged in. Mr Dunn then sees an ax, and the ax was coming towards him."
According to a spokesperson, the Polk State Attorney's office has informed the Governor's office that a city commissioner has been indicted.
Dunn is being held without bond. He will have his first appearance before a judge Saturday morning.
Second-degree murder is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison.