Police in Lakeland are investigating after City Commissioner Michael Dunn shot and killed a man in the military surplus store Dunn owns.
Police spokesman Gary Gross said that the shooting happened just after 2:30 Wednesday afternoon at Vet's Army Navy Surplus in the 800 block of N. Florida Avenue.
Gross said Dunn and two other employees were inside the store when the incident happened. They were not injured.
Gross said witnesses told investigators 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez entered the store with his father. While the older man was making a purchase, Dunn saw Lopez trying to steal a hatchet.
Dunn asked if he was going to pay for the item, a confrontation ensued and Dunn fired a gun, striking Lopez.
Gross said that officers found Lopez lying face-up just outside the door. He died at the scene.
Police and the Florida State Attorney's Office continue investigating.
Dunn was elected to the Lakeland City Commission, representing the Southwest District, in a run-off election in December 2017. It was his third attempt at an elected office.
In April 2018, Dunn donated a .38 Derringer pistol for a raffle at a rally supporting a 26-foot tall Confederate monument that is located in Munn Park.
Speaking at the rally, Dunn said he would vote against any use of taxpayer money to have the statue moved.
"I actually have ancestors who fought in the Confederacy," he said. "I see it as a monument to their service, plain and simple."
Dunn and his fellow commissioners voted unanimously a month later to move the statue to Veterans Memorial Park. The city will not contribute to the move, instead private donors will need to come up with the estimated $250,000 it will cost to move the monument.