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Courts / Law

Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn Charged With Second-Degree Murder

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Video released by police show the confrontation between Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn and Christobal Lopez, which ended in Lopez's death outside of Dunn's Army & Navy Surplus store.

Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn on Friday was indicted on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Christobal Lopez on Oct. 3.

According to Polk County State Attorney Brian Haas, Dunn was indicted by a grand jury on Friday and taken into custody by Lakeland Police. Haas said Dunn is likely to remain in jail without bond until at least next week.

Dunn, 47, shot and killed Lopez, who police say was attempting to shoplift a hatchet from Dunn's Army & Navy Surplus store near downtown Lakeland. A video shows Lopez, 50, attempting to exit the store when Dunn grabbed him by the shirt and discharged a hand gun.

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Credit Polk County State Attorney's Office
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Polk County State Attorney's Office
Michael Dunn

Haas said he believes it is likely Dunn's lawyers will raise Florida's Stand Your Ground law as a defense, but he refused to say why he believed the case did not fall under that law.

Lopez's family issued a statement via their attorney Friday night, thanking Haas for charging Dunn and saying a civil suit is also on the way.

“There is no way to undo the life-shattering harm that Mr. Dunn caused, but we are pleased with the grand jury’s decision for such an unnecessary and egregious use of deadly force. We want to thank the State Attorney’s Office and the Lakeland Police Department for their swift and thorough investigation. 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,” the statement read.