Police release video showing Lakeland city commissioner firing shot that killed shoplifting suspect

Polk County
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Lakeland police have released surveillance video showing a city commissioner shoot a man who was trying to steal a hatchet from his military surplus store.The video has been edited for this story and does not show the fatal shot being fired.

Police are investigating the deadly shooting.

The shooting happened Oct. 3 at the Vets Army Navy Surplus which is owned by Dunn.

The video shows the city commissioner trying to detain Lopez with his left hand and then shoots him with a semi-automatic Glock handgun in his right hand as Lopez tried to make a break.

Lopez has the stolen hatchet in his right hand and is not threatening Dunn with the hatchet at the moment of the shooting, but seems intent on getting away.

The fatal shooting has attracted a great deal of attention due to Dunn’s prominence as a local politician and the Stand Your Ground law. Dunn’s lawyer says he has not decided whether that will be a defense in this case.

8 On your Side interviewed Dunn last year about gun store security after series of gun store break-ins.

Police initially said the shooting occurred after a fight broke out between Dunn and Lopez.  There is no fighting shown in the surveillance video released by police Monday, beyond Lopez’s attempt to flee.

Michael Dunn is a Lakeland City Commissioner who took office in January of 2018. He skipped Monday’s city commission meeting involving important land use questions. Dunn’s lawyer later said he didn’t want to be a distraction.

State Attorney Brian Haas said the investigation continues and he anticipates the investigation will be completed at the end of the week.

8 On your Side is investigating the implications of this latest evidence and will have live reports tonight at 5 and 6 on News Channel 8.

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