Watch: Florida City Official Fatally Shoots Alleged Shoplifter

A Florida man is dead after allegedly trying to steal a hatchet, fatally shot by a store owner who also happens to be a local official. Surveillance footage of the shooting was released this week by police.

Fifty-year-old Christobal Lopez was visiting the Vet Army Navy Surplus in Lakeland Florida with his father on Oct. 3. Investigators believe that as the man’s father was paying for an item, Lopez grabbed what appeared to be a hatchet and made toward the exit.

As Lopez was leaving he was confronted by Lakeland city commissioner Michael Dunn, a co-owner of the surplus store. Authorities said that Dunn asked Lopez if he was going to pay for the item and that’s when the situation turned deadly.

Video (see above) shows Dunn grabbing Lopez by the shirt as he attempts to leave the store. Then, Dunn fires two shots from his handgun, hitting Lopez. Police say Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lakeland Chief of Police Larry Giddens said the investigation is ongoing in a statement earlier this month.

“We have received multiple requests for comments, reports, surveillance videos and evidence regarding the shooting at the Vets Army Navy Surplus store,” said Giddens.

SEE ALSO: When to Lawfully Kill to Protect Property

“Please understand this is an ongoing criminal investigation. We are working with the State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiners Office, two wonderfully reputable agencies, to ensure this investigation is done in the most transparent, professional way possible. Until the investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” he added.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office told CBS News that the probe should be wrapped up by week’s end.

Undoubtedly prosecutors are examining the evidence to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified, which is ultimately a question of did Dunn reasonably fear imminent death or great bodily harm when he pulled the trigger.

Judging by the available facts, i.e. the video, what say you? Do you believe the shoplifter presented such a threat? Do you believe Dunn acted reasonably? Do you believe Dunn acted in accordance with Florida law?

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 173 comments… add one }
  • Danny June 5, 2020, 1:53 pm

    I’m getting much for wasting my time writing the previous
    will not get posted due to the fact it had actual “facts” in it. Censure Censure Censure!!!

  • Danny June 5, 2020, 1:51 pm

    You watch, this city official will get off this charge due to some technicality or
    the DA drops it to some misdemeanor with a plea deal. I’ve seen cop shows where
    some drunk ass alderman(2 times) get out of the car and calls someone while the
    officer stands there wondering what the fck is going on. In both cases they never
    showed either person doing any dui test or anything. This was on one of the cop
    shows on fact in both cases the drunk woman were yelling at the police saying
    ” Don’t you know who I am”!! And walks off with her phone to talk to whoever. Even
    across the country these local politicians have different rules like DC.

  • Dave June 5, 2020, 9:52 am

    This is clearly a homicide. There was no imminent danger since the suspected shoplifter was fleeing and he was shot in (what looked to be) in the back.

  • Robert Davis November 1, 2019, 9:10 am

    The video is clear, deadly force was used against petty crime only. The man should go down.

  • Donald November 1, 2019, 8:33 am

    Anyone who carries should become familiar with Tennessee vs Garner. If a fleeing criminal who is posing no immediate threat cannot have deadly force applied by a police officer then you surely cannot. Only use deadly force to save yourself or another from serious physical injury or death!

  • Bink September 27, 2019, 5:27 am

    ABSOLUTELY NON- JUSTIFIABLE HOMOCIDE. Fella was trying to flee the store and CLEARLY posed no threat of ANY kind. This dude’s goose is cooked.

  • Anonymous November 16, 2018, 7:17 pm

    Finger on the trigger all the way, not justified, no “Hatchet” in victim’s hand. In Oklahoma, no shooting is justified if “person is fleeing and/or over property loss, unless your life or others are in intimate danger.

  • Michael October 31, 2018, 7:24 pm

    This was murder. Shoplifting has never been a death penalty offense in this country. Lopez was entitled to a trial and sentencing by a judge for his actions. Dunn is not a cop. Even if he were Lopez was fleeing. Dunn acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Our country was based on these laws and rights.

  • James J Donatelli October 29, 2018, 4:34 pm

    In this video, the man who was shot appears to be essentially fleeing, not intending life threatening harm to the shooter, he was fleeing. Regardless of what happened earlier, in the moments just prior to and when he was shot, there was no bodily threat to the shooter, and he was gunned down while trying to flee. A really bad decision to use deadly force on the part of the shooter. This video will be used in the future to train gun owners on what NOT to do. While I do not condone theft, and I am in favor of citizens being properly trained and able to carry, this shooting does not appear justified.

  • john October 26, 2018, 9:58 am

    to everyone on here who posted in favor of the perp, put your money where your mouth is and post your name and address along with a list of your belongings and a statement that you will not shoot anyone that comes take your stuff as long as they are not posing imminent threat to your life , and let the Christmas shopping begin!

    • Bink September 27, 2019, 5:35 am

      Sorry bub, NOT EVEN CLOSE to the same situation. The guy that MURDERED this perp is goin to prison -THE END.

  • Shane M Camburn October 21, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Okay, was it justified as per Florida law — yes, there is a high likelihood he will walk… 1. The suspect was known to be armed and the item he was armed with was something that could easily be perceived as potentially fatal. 2. He was in his place of business and he the right to defend his property. 3. Being in his business, both stand your ground laws and castle doctrines will applied… Was the suspect on the shooters property, yes, was he compliant with the request of the property owner, no, could a reasonable person feel fearful in the situation — the guy had an axe in his hand, yes. Not guilty…

    Now my moral perspective… I would have allowed the guy to leave with the stupid axe. There is video, you have a clear shot of his face, if he had family in the store, then detain the family member, have them roll him to the police. He goes to jail and gets a chance to fix his path in life. I am have a CCW, many guns, and both LEO and Security license with Repo and PI licenses as well. I disagree with his actions. He could have safely allowed the man to leave, he tried to stop him, the suspect was pulling away… Now had he even tried to raise that axe in my general direction, yeah I would have unloaded on him.

    So, do I agree personally, no — but this isn’t court of popular opinion… Would I have chosen differently, yes… Was the shopkeeper/councilman justified by legal definition — absolutely. Unfortunately, in this case it’s all that matters…

    Do I believe that the law should be changed because of one incident that lands in the grey — absolutely not, these laws serve to protect tens of thousands of people each year in the state, abuses will always occur, things like this will always fall through the cracks.

    • AJ October 22, 2018, 3:09 pm

      Apparently he is going to trial for 2nd degree murder…

  • Kris colt October 21, 2018, 3:12 pm

    There is a lot of of opinions here, just like assholes everyone had one.

  • Andrew N. October 21, 2018, 1:44 pm

    Seems excessive over a real loss of what, $2.50 from the supplier? Also, the guy’s elderly father was still in the store. How far away was he really going? I’m all for defending your life and property, but at what cost? But, I do agree with the argument against the Liberal Judges that got us to this point. Crime should be punished, and to the point where criminals really THINK about doing it again due to severe consequences.

  • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:22 am

    The shop owner is going to jail. No justification whatsoever. The kid was TRYING TO LEAVE and was not posing a threat in any way shape or form at the time of the shooting. I didn’t even see the hatchet in his hand. I don’t think the kid had anything in his had at the time of the shooting. Geez, this is horrible.

  • Migliaito. Lopes October 20, 2018, 11:34 pm

    Stealing an axe = mans life?
    No way. Owner has ethics problems. No conscience. 2nd degree murder. 20 yeqrs….

  • Vic October 20, 2018, 8:24 pm

    Not a “property issue” while in principle I agree that a person should have the right to shoot to prevent the theft of personal property.. That is not a winning argument as the law is written in most states.. However everywhere it is perfectly legal to shoot to stop someone who poses a legitimate danger to the lives of oneself or others.

    So it was not that he was stealing .. it was what he was stealing. A hatchet is potential deadly weapon.. When the the thief chose to steal a potential weapon and had it in his possession he was armed.. further when failed to stop, drop the hatchet he was irrational… The store owner would do well to argue he reasonably thought the thief having stolen a potential weapon failing to stop when confronted by a weapon was irrational and represented a threat to not only the shop owner but other innocents should he successfully leave the area with the weapon in hand.. That he fired to stop that threat from manifesting in the potential death or injury of innocents..

    That is a reasonable course of action.

  • Sean Carberry October 20, 2018, 7:25 pm

    Not 100% on florida law, but the thief was pulling away to escape. Mr shooter might be in some trouble unless he knows the judge.

  • Paul October 20, 2018, 1:46 pm

    My entire family has concealed to carry! In no way (NOW WAY) was this councilman justified in this disgusitng act of shooting a man to death!

    If he couldnt hold the many and the man got away then so be it. The other comments saying he had the right to kill this man are disgusting. You mean for a hatchet what $30 $40 he kills this man?

    Sure he was shoplifting, he didnt pull a gun himself, i didnt see him try to use the hatchet on the counciman..

    By the way the many thats say this country is going down the drain..your dead right…but that doesnt mean us gun owners who support and defend freedom and the 2n amendment do the same!

    Like we say about the immigrants and illegals…there are laws and in this case the laws in Florida do not defend or support the councilman!

    You had the shoplifter on camera!

    By the way I was brought up to respect guns! Respect our Freedoms, respect the human individual, our laws! My grandfather was the founder memember of a Rifle & Pistol Club he would be embarrassed by this disregard for human life.

    While myself would not allow anyone to leave my business in this situation I would try in stop them at gunpoint not knowing what he may pull on me. but if he didnt pull a weapon I would follow and try to see where he goes dont we all have cell phones in our pockets? Or a license plate whatever…but he had no right to kill this man…this close he could have shot him in the damn leg or somewhere on his body to disable him at this range even a nutcase like him you would think could do this in this close vicinity!

  • Barry October 20, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Not a reason to shoot unless he came at him with the hatchet.

  • Mark October 20, 2018, 11:45 am

    Clearly he didn’t have to shoot the shop lifter. He’ll have plenty of time to dwell on it in his cell. I carry, so don’t think I’m a gun hating liberal. You need to act responsibly with that pistol at all times. I fear we have too many inexperienced individuals walking around who don’t have a clue about responsible carry. A 2 hour class to get a carry permit is not enough.

  • Scott Mahoney October 20, 2018, 11:34 am

    That is tough to watch. Even in crazy Florida that seems unjustified. Stand Your Ground will be tested again in this one. These idiots in Florida think SYG allows them to be Judge, Jury and Executioner. That $10 hatchet is going to cost that idiot at least $100,000, and his own video is going to sink him.

  • miguelito October 20, 2018, 9:10 am

    The thug was stealing the mans property. Period . $10.00 or $10,000.00 it was his and he has a right to defend and keep what’s his. What do snowflakes want, just let anyone who comes in to take his hard earned money or property? Kind of like letting illegals come to the USA with no ramification.

    • AJ October 20, 2018, 5:27 pm

      Haha a snowflake would be the one to take a life over a $16 hatchet. Congrats though.

    • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:25 am

      No way. And don’t bring in “snowflakes” into this as that is completely irrelevant. The shop owner has a right to defend and keep what is his, but he has absolutely no right to shoot someone when there is no immediate danger. The kid didn’t even have anything in his hand *and* he was trying to leave. The shop owner practically shot him in the back. He’s going to jail.

  • Price October 20, 2018, 6:44 am

    Going to be a tough call…..if the guy stole the hatchet to go home and kill his wife then the shop owner saved a life….on the other hand have to ask if the shop owner has right to protect his store and property…..

  • Dennis Cogan October 20, 2018, 12:38 am

    The shooter has been arrested for 2nd degree murder. In Florida you may use “deadly” force only if in “fear of great bodily injury or death” I have a concealed carry license and I agree with the charges brought against the Councilman.

  • Martin October 19, 2018, 11:22 pm

    The shooter better find the best attorney money can buy, because he is in a world of sh*t.

  • joe smith October 19, 2018, 10:34 pm

    I think the store owner should be executed by firing squad…..what goes around comes around! He clearly was looking to murder someone and get away with it and the idea of getting away with breaking the law is typical with ALL politicians!!!

  • Craven Moorehead October 19, 2018, 10:02 pm

    I believe the shooter just wanted to ax him a question about that hachet.

    • Mjr October 20, 2018, 8:45 pm

      Hahahahahahah!! Great stuff, Craven – made my day..thanks 🙂

  • me October 19, 2018, 9:23 pm

    What was he going to do with the hatchet. Was he going to go kill someone with it. Was he going to chop wood. My guess is the first was more likely until we hear further evidence. Police Have shot people for less.

  • Wizzid0 October 19, 2018, 9:17 pm

    I’d have shot him too, but I’m in Texas and thieves expect to get shot here.

  • Brian October 19, 2018, 5:20 pm

    Bad shoot. No imminent danger.

    And over 10 bucks

    This is the kind of stuff that gives gun owners a bad rep

    • Wizzid0 October 19, 2018, 9:18 pm

      Think again, the thief had a hatchet in his hand.

      • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:20 am

        Yes, he had a hatchet in his hand…and he was LEAVING the store, not threatening anyone. And his father was paying for it. Why they didn’t bring the hatchet to the counter to pay for it, who knows, but deadly force being used in a situation where no one’s life was in imminent danger means the shop owner is going to jail. There is NO justification in what he did.

  • Ken Brewer October 19, 2018, 4:59 pm

    The thief drew the hatchet from his belt. He was shot in self defense. A hatchet at close quarters is a deadly weapon. Why would anyone say that this crook was unarmed?

    • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:23 pm

      Because Dunn’s statement was that it FELL from his waistband when he grabbed his shirt. He didn’t draw the hatchet.

      • Roger October 19, 2018, 7:02 pm

        All you have to do is watch the video. The hatchet was in now dead guy’s hand.

        • AJ October 20, 2018, 3:22 pm

          I’ve watched almost all the videos pertaining to this. Yes it was in his hand the video clearly shows that. But the video was released AFTER Dunn made the statement to the police that it had fell and Lopez was trying to retrieve it, then he shot him.
          Either way, it was not used in an aggressive manner as he was holding it by the head. Bad shoot

    • Roger October 19, 2018, 7:01 pm

      Yep. This guy was armed. It’s no different than stealing a loaded weapon off somebody.

    • Chubby Freen (@Chubbyfreen) October 19, 2018, 9:18 pm

      The thief was holding the hatchet by the head, not handle. Was not threatening, just trying to get away. Don’t know FLA law, so I can’t comment on legality/illegality, I guarantee you that the store owner will be sued into bankruptcy, if he isn’t bankrupted by the cost of a criminal defense attorney…

    • David white October 19, 2018, 11:37 pm

      The man was trying to get away. All that was required for the store owner was to step back 2 feet and he would have been out of harms way with a door between them both.

      This man was shot for no reason.

      • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:25 am


  • AJ October 19, 2018, 3:54 pm

    Just read the embedded article. Definitely not justified. Prosecutors believe the Dunn had control of the situation and had no reason to fear for his life. Also, this is the second person this guy has shot. He “accidentally” shot someone when he was 19. In the firearms world, there are no accidents, only negligence. How was this guy able to even own a gun if he “accidentally” shot someone before?

    The video clearly shows that the suspect made no threat to the store owner’s life. The only aggravated movement from the suspect was pulling away from the store owner. The argument that he had the hatchet so it is justified is moot. The suspect was trying to flee. It would be like me saying I shot a guy in the back because he stole my lighter or screwdriver.

  • Mike October 19, 2018, 3:50 pm

    Why didn’t he ask his father if he was taught to steal from his parental upbringing?

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out

  • Old Mort October 19, 2018, 3:24 pm

    The guy was attempting to leave with the hatchet…but the store owner or whatever he is didn’t have to shoot him in the chest. He could’ve fired a shot near his feet ot even shot him in the leg….the shooter should go to jail for a long time…

    • SD October 19, 2018, 7:24 pm

      You’re an idiot Mort. You don’t shoot somebody in the leg fool. And you don’t fire shots into the ground. You shoot to kill or not at all. In this case he should not shot at all. Beat the crap out of him maybe, but not shoot him.

    • Chubby Freen (@Chubbyfreen) October 19, 2018, 9:24 pm

      Shoot at moving targets much? I doubt Ad Topperwein could be certain of shooting a fleeing thief in the leg–the probability of missing, and having the bullet ricochet from the pavement and hitting someone/something else is too great to take a chance on in a public setting. Aiming for center body mass is the only way, if shooting is justified at all.

    • phil October 20, 2018, 12:02 am

      Firing near feet or in leg (attempted murder)

    • AJ October 20, 2018, 5:35 pm

      Yeah don’t ever shoot for the legs. You’ll wind up pinned with a lawsuit and a felony, attempted murder or Assault and Battery W/ a deadly weapon, depending on the state (just found out OK doesn’t have attempted murder, but that’s a different issue).
      Besides that, this guy was on the ground for a while. Meaning if he would’ve been hit in the leg he could’ve bled out depending where he was it. Add cruel and unusual punishment to that mix. You shoot humane, center mass (if possible). Paper is different from soft tissue, plus movement is in play. But center mass or close gives you the best chance to hit what you’re aiming at. Less likely to over penetrate and less likely to miss entirely. You don’t want to be shooting at a perp and hit an 8th grader or John Wick’s dog or some shit by mistake. Tact…. Live it, learn it, love it. Secondary and tertiary consequences are a bitch if you don’t think about them.

  • Nick October 19, 2018, 2:51 pm

    I own guns and this is a perfect example of what NOT to do with your firearm.

    Let’s be real for a moment… this is a sad deal, not something to be praised or applauded. To everyone justifying the killing as a service to humanity, put aside your prejudices and stereotypes for a moment- There is no place in society for THIS type of action. Yes, there are those who are justifiably killed like they were brandishing guns, weapons, causing bodily injury, etc., but seriously I don’t see that here.

    Let’s say this was your son? You found out they were trying to shoplift and got shot and killed. Then you find out they were just trying to run away and weren’t trying to fight or hurt anyone in the process. I bet you’d feel quite different about their being killed real quick! I know I would.

    We are not judge, jury, and executioner. Keeping a firearm on your person or premise is a huge responsibility. Deadly force is a last resort when you are in fear of your life or the lives and property of others.

    No justification for this. Tragic deal that nobody benefits from or ‘wins’ it’s just more fuel for libs to crack down more on 2A rights.

    • Wizzid0 October 19, 2018, 9:25 pm

      So, you said, “or the lives and property of others” but not YOUR OWN PROPERTY? So I should be justified in shooting someone who is stealing from YOU but not from ME?

      • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:29 am

        Are you kidding?!!! Shooting someone for theft? Nope, no way. Shoot someone who is threatening you with bodily harm or death? Absolutely. And in this case, the shop owner shot someone who was trying to get away, not even being a threat, and was even holding the hatchet by the head, not the handle. The shop owner is going to jail as he should.

    • phil October 20, 2018, 12:09 am

      Best comment ive read in a long time.

      As much as i love my fellow gun rights activists

      There are clear rules that we must abide by.

      I couldn’t imagine having to deal with a family member

      of mine fatally shot in cold blood

      This is cut and dry

  • Roscoe October 19, 2018, 2:40 pm

    Ever owned a store? Ever seen your life stolen one piece at a time? For everyone who cannot understand protecting what is yours, consider coming home everyday and discovering that something else is missing: a favorite chair; grand daddy’s shotgun; mama’s wedding ring. When YOU have some skin in the game, tell us about it, those of us who see hours, days, and years of getting out of bed every morning and seeing the fruits of that labor disappear so some lowlife can get a drink or a fix. Or to just toss it over the side of the next bridge she crosses.

    • Roger October 19, 2018, 7:03 pm


    • Ted October 21, 2018, 3:30 am

      Yeah, I agree with the sentiments, absolutely. But to kill over it? No way.

  • John Moe October 19, 2018, 2:31 pm

    I dunno, it’s kind of a tough call. But I think I’d have done the same thing, given the circumstances. It was an instant decision made in the heat of the moment. Even though the guy was trying to make off with only a $10 item, still a case could be made for just stopping future burglaries. I bet the owner will be safe from future attempts on his stock if the event is posted on FB.

    • Peter Brown October 19, 2018, 5:43 pm

      Exactly. The revolving door of pampered criminals came to an abrupt stop at that shop. Armed robberies just could taper off.

      • L. Russell October 20, 2018, 5:47 pm

        Lets get this straight, we are not talking about preventing theft here. No one has the right to use deadly force to prevent theft, if this man had raised the hatchet to strike it’s another story. He didn’t, therefore it’s murder.

  • LAMan October 19, 2018, 2:24 pm

    I have no use for thieves, but from what I saw in the video, this shooting seemed completely unjustified.

    1) No apparent opportunity to strike a blow with the hatchet, thus not an imminent threat. (If I’m not mistaken, the shoplifter was holding it by the head, NOT by the handle.)

    2) No apparent intent to inflict unlawful death or grievous bodily harm on the store owner or on other innocent persons. Again, shoplifter poses no imminent threat to innocents. (He showed no apparent intention to strike a blow of any sort.)

    3) Don’t know what words passed between the two as the incident developed, or what had just happened off-camera. That would be important. How important? Can’t tell. It would generally indicate the shoplifter’s intent, but likely wouldn’t rise to the standard of proving his imminent, unavoidable intent to carry out any threat he may have made. It would provide some context for store owner’s decision to shoot, but that context might be favorable or unfavorable to the store owner.

    4) No indication that the shoplifter had just committed some felony that would justify shooting him to prevent his escape. If he had just axe-murdered three infants, it could well be a different story.

    5) In some places, it’s legal to use deadly force to protect one’s property. In those locales, a jury might well consider it justified to prevent a thief’s escape with a vanload of property or an automobile, or to prevent arson of one’s domicile. But a hatchet? No reasonable person would consider a hatchet worth a human life. They’re not stranded out in the Yukon wilderness in mid-winter, where retention of the hatchet might be the difference between surviving or dying.

    I’m all for reasonable, law-abiding citizens protecting themselves and other innocents. I’m in favor of an individual’s right to use force to protect his property. But I certainly expect that property to be of major importance. A hatchet doesn’t even begin to reach that standard.

  • sksguy1 October 19, 2018, 2:09 pm

    the man at no time presented himself as a threat. i one of the most ardent supporter of gun rights and ownership, but come on. wrong is wrong. but its not who you know, but who you blow.

  • Nick October 19, 2018, 2:06 pm

    That was a bad shoot clear as day. The alleged theif made no aggressive movements towards the shooter, only away. The victim presses his back against the door frame while attempting to flee, he made no foreword movement in the shooter’s direction. The victims arm movement was an attempt to escape as well, he did not reach for or attack the shooter. This behavior by lawful carry members is shameful and will only aid the anti firearm community’s efforts to infringe on our rights as United States citizens.

  • Rex Henderson October 19, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Not a good shooting. Even if it was, this shop owner is willing to spend $100K in legal defense over a $20 axe? He did not use the good common sense all licensed carry people should own.

  • DadOfSixSons October 19, 2018, 1:34 pm

    I spent many years in retail with some responsibility for asset control (shoplifters.) I am a gun owner and recreational shooter and believe strongly one should have the ability to protect oneself or others if in threat of danger. This is absolutely not the what was happening in this situation.

    Obviously, a HUGE mistake was made by the gun owner. And over a hatchet? No one’s life is worth less than a hatchet….So sad for all involved.

    Too bad this will be used by the press to paint all gun owners as reckless.

  • Jose E Pena October 19, 2018, 1:14 pm

    It’s clear that the store owner could not have reasonably feared that the victim presented an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury when he shot the alleged shoplifter. This was murder, pure and simple. This is coming from a criminal defense lawyer with 40 years of trial experience in murder and capital murder cases. Killing a shoplifter over a $20 axe shows extremely poor judgment and a murderous character.

  • Tee October 19, 2018, 1:13 pm

    With 20 years as Military Police/Investigator(NCIS) and 20 years in Civilian Law Enforcement I see NO justification for the use of Lethal Force since the shoplifter did not present any resistance or threat to the store owner with the gun. Proper procedure would have been to call 911 and relay all information to the Police and let them handle it . Murder/Manslaughter Should be the charge. Shoplifting is NOT a Felony in any jurisdiction in the U.S. and does Not warrant the use of Deadly Force.

  • Bennie McDowell October 19, 2018, 1:11 pm

    From what I could see on the video the thief was laying face down when he was shot. To me, he is guilty and should not have fired his gun.

  • Jim Zoppi October 19, 2018, 1:02 pm

    Not a good shooting ! No ones life is worth a hatchet ! Slap him in jail ! As far as a town official, I sure don’t want to move there !

    • Richie October 19, 2018, 2:26 pm

      I’m sure he’s been in jail many times before. Probably a crack head…. he won’t be missed”

  • Frank Romo October 19, 2018, 12:55 pm

    It’s something we all have to consider, if you’re carrying, if you remember anything at all from your CCW training, “Only if the immediate threat is facing you, with a weapon, and you feel your life is in grave danger, only then, you can protect yourself with lethal force, to stop the threat”. Once the bullet leaves the gun, you can’t bring it back. It’s a bell you can’t un-ring….

  • Jim Cargill October 19, 2018, 12:50 pm

    What a fool. He will be found guilty of 2nd degree murder, and will spend maybe 8 years in prison, The thief did not deserve to die, though, at 50, it is safe to say he has stolen throughout his life, and likely caused tremendous stress, at times, for his victims. He did not deserve to die, but I will not cry over his death.

  • Deanna Johncox October 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

    I got this article confused with another one, but my opinion hasn’t changed much. Because I still believe human life is more important and all gun owners should carry responsibly. I hope there is more videos of different areas in the store to show what occurred before the shooting happened. There are just too many things that could have been going on that this short video just doesn’t show. So it should be left to the police to find out and the courts to punish accordingly.

  • Alej October 19, 2018, 12:43 pm

    What a bunch of bleeding hearts here. The punk asked for it, he got it, end of story.

    • Richie October 19, 2018, 2:23 pm

      What was he going to do with the axe? Cut wood for a living or murder someone? Not a good shooting, but one less violent thug”

  • Chris October 19, 2018, 12:43 pm

    This is total bullshit. I believe in the 2nd amendment as much as anyone else , but whomever thinks it’s ok to kill someone over a hatchet is fucked up. One we don’t know if he even was stealing and two even if he was that didn’t give the owner the right to shoot him dead. Maybe the man had mental issues or whatever but the store owner was not defending himself, his life was not in jeopardy and he could have and should have called the police to pick him up. Plus I’m sure the father wasn’t going to go anywhere. What a disgrace for this to happen and that idiot of a store owner will now have to live with the fact that he killed someone over a hatchet. What a moron!

  • petrmoo October 19, 2018, 12:16 pm

    I am sorry to say this is NOT a good shooting. I fear this will be a VERY costly decision for the store owner. Man was facing forward not the shooter, man was trying to leave the store not stay to fight, did not see a “reasonable threat to life and limb”. Had the man been facing, blast away ( I personally would not kill someone over a damn hatchet, good or bad shoot it’ll go to court. You have a video camera, let him go and call 911, not like you don’t know where the father lives. Who knows if the thief is deaf, mentally disabled, whatever, can’t kill; without threat to life or limb). Look in 30 years in the military and nine tours of combat, I know this is a split second decision, and it’s always easy to second guess when you’re NOT the guy facing down the bad guy. I also hate thieves but legally this store owner has some very serious problems – it’s ALL on camera. NOT a good shooting unless there is a witness to something off camera or the thief said “I have a gun I’m going to get it and kill you”. Sorry to say- BAD SHOOT

  • Gourdhead October 19, 2018, 12:06 pm

    I have no problem with this shooting. I, for one, am sick and tired of thieves and shoplifters running rampant and generally being let off the hook in the courtroom.

  • Deanna Johncox October 19, 2018, 12:01 pm

    Maybe the 13 years thought his Dad was paying for the hatchet? We’ll never know now because the idiot shot and killed him! The kid wasn’t going towards him with the hatchet so why did the guy shoot him? To stop him from taking the hatchet? Pathetic! Money is more important to him than a child’s life. And I’m a firm supporter of the 2nd amendment.

    • Larry October 19, 2018, 2:12 pm

      Deanna Johncox, Maybe I’m reading this incorrectly, but the person who was shot was fifty years old, not thirteen years old.

    • Richie October 19, 2018, 2:30 pm

      The punk wasn’t no child, but their and a crack head. What was he going to do with that hatchet…. up wood or murder someone? Theirs one less violent thug in this world “

  • Mich44 October 19, 2018, 12:00 pm

    So if he grabbed what is a deadly weapon, ran out the door and killed someone in the parking lot then what? Another Mexican with NO Respect for anyone or anything! Maybe he should of done the right thing and he would be alive today! His own choice, his own fault!!

    • Larry October 20, 2018, 5:17 pm

      Mexicans think it’s okay to steal from people, I think it’s okay to shoot people who steal from me. In my opinion, this shooter should be found innocent of the murder charges he was brought up on.

  • Earl October 19, 2018, 11:52 am

    Wow, I cannot see where this is justified. I certainly doesn’t appear that the thief had any intention to harm the owner. It appears that the thief just wanted to steal the ten dollar ax. Unless there’s more to this story that we don’t see, I think this was unjustified.

  • Tommie N. Thompson October 19, 2018, 11:42 am

    I read a lot of comments, like what if THIS and what if THAT. Past events do not come into play here. This was NOT a proper shooting based on the video evidence. The store owner was not in a life threatening situation here. The man was trying to flee and not threatening the owner as he was shot in the back. While I hate thieves as much as anyone. If I were on the jury for this case based only on the evidence, the store owner would be found guilty of murder.

  • Eric Stevenson October 19, 2018, 11:14 am

    Wow, I’m as pro-gun as they come but that was murder straight up. The dumb ass thief was just trying to run and get away, he was in no way posing a threat based on the video posted above. To kill a person for stealing a cheap ass hatchet is equally as stupid as the guy stealing it. This is the crap that gives the libs an excuse to take all of our gun rights away.

  • Retired LEO October 19, 2018, 11:11 am

    Even in Texas the shop owner goes to jail. Based on the video, there was no threat of personal harm to the owner, that leaves only one other reason under law to detain this thief: “citizens arrest”, and that is only legal if the crime is a felony. Even then, his defense is weak. Having all the facts might shed a different light on the issue: the thief acted as if he may have had mental issues?? Police are better equipped to deal with these issues. Bottom line, store owner goes to prison.

    • Brick October 19, 2018, 1:01 pm

      “Based on the video, there was no threat of personal harm to the owner” – Watch slowly at :05-:06…immediately before the first shot was fired. The perps left arm and hand swing back towards the shop owner/pistol. It is not clear to me from the video if the perps intent was to grab the pistol, but I can absolutely see where the shop owner would believe himself to be in grave danger. I hope if I were in the shop owners shoes I would have acted differently to avoid this outcome, but I can’t say I wouldn’t have shot the perp as well if a hand came that close to my pistol.

  • Hootus October 19, 2018, 11:08 am

    I don’t know enough facts to speak to the shooter’s (or victim’s) state of mind or decision processes that culminated in this shooting. Thievery is wrong — full stop. Shooting someone is wrong, as well, except in certain circumstances. Generally it is considered OK to use deadly force to protect you or other innocents from death or bodily harm from an immediate threat. The question is whether the deceased presented an immediate threat before he was shot. A hatchet, such as that purportedly taken by the deceased, represents deadly force, but was the deceased in a position to wield it? I have watched the video a couple of times, and it seems to me that the deceased was not an immediate threat to the shooter (perhaps to someone else, I have no way of knowing). Regarding the potential threat to the shooter, the deceased is clearly trying only to pull or get away out the door — his weight is biased out the door away from the shooter as he appears to be trying to disengage after the shooter grabs him. Further, the hand supposedly holding the hatchet is at the outside edge of the door (furthest away from the shooter) as he was shot. If the deceased had suddenly begun transferring weight back toward the shooter before the shots were fired, I’d be in the camp that says this was a righteous shoot, since that would indicate an immediate threat. I don’t see any indication of that, though, so I don’t support the notion that the shooting was justified based solely on this video evidence. Other evidence could change my mind, though.

    The other thing to note is that escalating a confrontation can sometimes remove a presumption of innocence in cases where self-defense is claimed. To me, the shooter escalated the confrontation by grabbing the deceased as he was trying to get to/through the door. So this, too, weighs against the shooter’s actions in my mind.

  • OldGuy October 19, 2018, 11:02 am

    So this upstanding member of a Florida Community who is also a local merchant shot actually killed someone (shot in the back?) for shoplifting a utilitarian multi-tool which is a hammer, nail puller, and hatchet all rolled into one because?

    Aren’t these cheap hand tools made in China and don’t they retail for around $10? So ten bucks is the price of a human life? What church does this local merchant belong to?

    You have closed circuit tv/video of the incident, the dead guys father was in the store; I don’t know if this was sound judgement or not as it strongly resembles murder to me. The look on the perpetrator’s face was unusual: was he mental or just plain scared sh*tless?

    I think the local community should boycott the merchant’s business/store. Grand Jury anyone? What is next, greeters at Walmart toting guns?

  • Will October 19, 2018, 10:57 am

    Even Sharia law, which so many consider absolutely barbaric, would only allow for a have to be severed. Even heathen Babylonian law under the code of Hammurabi would only allow for equivalent exchange in redress of such a grievance.

    Have we come to the point in this society where so many of you will praise the killing of a man over a petty theft, extol the murder of another human just because you can? We will never know this man’s story, it is taken to three grave with him. Never know if it was need, a cleptomaniac’s compulsion, greed, or even absent mindedness what motivated this man, for he is snuffed out without justice, without a day in court, and without the chance to defend himself or his actions.

    Theft is wrong. Murder is worse, praise of murder requires a soul blacker than that of the most unrepentant thief. If it should be virtuous to end a life over such a small offense as a petty theft from a business, then it should be reward worthy to kill those base enough to praise such action.

    There was more humanity on display in the darkest corners of Bedlam than some of you could muster in your entire being, and if we lose our rights to bear arms, to defend ourselves, it won’t be because of mass shootings, gang violence or assassins, it will be on account of those of you who approve of this. God help us all.

    • petrmoo October 19, 2018, 12:26 pm

      “Sharia Law” is a joke and has relevance to this discussion. Typically I hate to to what I’m doing but Sharia is merely corruption, it is not evenly applied, and is wielded as a sword of oppression against those who can’t fight back. Hope not to offend but the truth must be stated- Sharia can never be applied fairly because the “values” it is based on are relative and the same for everyone. The five pillars of Islam illustrate that perfectly. Sharia is false because relative truth is a lie, the truth is always the truth and does NOT change. Many people have trouble with the truth, granted but why is a women buried to her neck to be stoned and a man to his waist. Many claim its for modestly, seems reasonable until you recall if the person can escape alive from being buried they are to be set free. I can free myself from being buried to the waist a lot easier than I can from being buried to the my neck. Again my apologies for my diversionary rant but I will fight the corruption and lies of Sharia on the internet, in the voting both, and in the streets as needed! no offense intended but SHARIA is a LIE!

  • Linda October 19, 2018, 10:44 am

    Stealing and lots of other crimes occur because the criminals have no fear of true punishment. Jail and prison time are not much of a deterrent in the USA. This is the fault of judges, lawyers, and weak-kneed legislatures and politicians. We should consider bringing back corporal punishment (like whipping) and forced hard labor for thieves and other criminals so that through the fear of true punishment they decide not to commit more crimes than to receive corporal punishment or work hard for many years. The one thing that I admire about many Muslim countries is that they cut the hand off of a thief, and execute those who commit heinous crimes and multiple offenses. Their crime rates are nil because the would be criminals know that real punishment is coming for their ill deeds and that punishment will be quick and merciless! The fear of punishment has to be much greater than the rewards of a crime or else lawlessness will only continue, and continue to get worse!

    • Martingard October 19, 2018, 11:30 am

      I have to agree with you, Linda, It’s kinda like we just expect crimes to happen and we should just look away. The more we look away the more emboldened the criminals become. Three hots and a cot are no deterrent. Justice can be painful some times, as well it should. Maybe this dude was a repeat offender? He will offend no more! He won’t place that hatchet or whatever it was in someone’s head.

    • Gourdhead October 19, 2018, 12:10 pm

      The crime rate is nil until they invade a European country or the U.S., then they let their hair down and the real heathen comes out.

      • Linda October 19, 2018, 1:08 pm

        Hello Gourdhead, you are exactly correct! Severe and swift punishment keeps wanna-be criminals “honest”. When they get to Europe or the USA, where even unruly children cannot even be punished or corrected, the criminals go wild because they have no fear for the consequences of their criminal acts.

  • Robert Wilson October 19, 2018, 10:41 am

    Should have not been killed for stealing a hatchet. But we don’t know maybe this guy has stolen from this store owner before and was caught and got a slap on the wrist and the store owner just got fed up. WE don’t know. Maybe this store owner has been stolen from and or held up multiple times. The fact that he is half way out the door, seems to me he can’t be shot because he is past the threshold. Many factors from even before the video to after. I know one thing the media is going to dictate his punishment. The officals may cave to the pressure and have to convict. We can’t judge the guy until we have been in his shoes.

  • Mark Allen October 19, 2018, 10:24 am

    What about my right to protect my property? If criminals knew they would be shot for stealing, they wouldn’t steal.

    • Larry October 20, 2018, 5:20 pm


  • AJ October 19, 2018, 10:20 am

    I don’t really see any reason for use of lethal force here. Especially when said lethal force is basically shooting a fleeing suspect in the side and in the back. Then again I’m not the lawyer of a city official.

    Personally I believe this could’ve been handled a different way entirely. He had a first hand description of the perp. He probably also had chance to get a vehicle description and/or license plate number. The police should’ve been called.

  • Wayne October 19, 2018, 10:09 am

    Oh well shouldnt be a theif id have shot him right in the fucking back of the head and for all the people saying its sad over a 10 dollar hatchet its not about the hatchet its about all these theiving bastards getting a slap on the hand and come out doing the same shit i bet he wont steal form any other hard working american

    • AJ October 19, 2018, 10:26 am

      So you’d go to prison for life for a $10 tool? Congrats. You are the reason for risk protection orders.

    • James October 19, 2018, 12:21 pm

      Wayne,you are a moron and the store owner needs to go to jail for a very long time!The thief was no threat to the shooter,this guy is a threat to everybody.

    • Rick October 19, 2018, 4:19 pm

      Then I’d be on the jury throwing your murdering ass into jail, too.

    • SD October 19, 2018, 7:52 pm

      What more can you ask for? Thief gets killed and moron shooter goes to prison. I’d call that killing 2 birds with one stone.

      • AJ October 20, 2018, 3:27 pm

        But moron shooter becomes Democrats’ poster child of the NRA. So it’s like killing those two birds, and then shooting yourself in the femoral.

  • Ricky Price October 19, 2018, 9:57 am

    Crime don’t pay.

  • DB October 19, 2018, 9:51 am

    This is the too-typical mindset of some gun owners. Usually it’s about a break in and theft of tools from a shed, shop garage, auto, etc… I’ve read several forum entries by small-community folks dealing with meth-head types who have stolen something from them or their neighbors. They’ll say something like, “By gawd, if they break into MY shop (etc) they’ll get a bullet for their trouble…. My response is usually, “REALLY??? – you’re willing to KILL someone for ripping off a pos $10 Wal Mart lamp?”…. Occasionally they sense their own folly of words and say they’d just wound the perp… But when I remind them that even what seems like a body zone to aim at to slow someone down will cause massive bleeding that can’t be stopped before a medical team arrives, they don’t have much to say. While working in local small-town radio, I wanted to do do “Fireside Chats” with the local sheriff – a popular 2A guy. He liked the idea and we discussed this very issue… Unfortunately, not enough local folks even listened to the programs… Doubtful any of my neighbors “got the message”. But make no mistake, this mindset is wayyyy too prevalent in this culture and doesn’t help our already difficult-enough task of preserving our right to bear arms. Just because you own a gun for self protection, doesn’t give you the right or REASON to take a life when some smarmy, worthless, unemployed, meth-head piece of shit steals a Crescent wrench, or even your LIFE SAVINGS from you. Wake up, stupid… Or YOU could spend the rest of your life behind bars and on your knees.

    • Rick October 19, 2018, 4:21 pm

      “Wake up, stupid… Or YOU could spend the rest of your life behind bars and on your knees.”

      Or losing everything you have trying to keep yourself out of both positions, too.

  • Mad Mac October 19, 2018, 9:38 am

    It’s about respect. The punk disrespected the store owner. Where do you draw the line? Do you let punks come in your place, knock over displays, intimidate you and your customers, grab a case of beer and wahoo out the door?

    We don’t know anything except the short video of the unfortunate shooting. Maybe this wasn’t the first time. What did the punk say to the owner?

    Ultimately, it’s about honor and respect. That is what sends victims into a murderous rage for otherwise petty theft or insults.

    • AJ October 19, 2018, 10:25 am

      So his justifies gang crime right? As long as it’s about honor and respect? Dude shot him in the side and in the back while he was fleeing. There’s no honor there. And he gets no respect because of it.

      Your mindset it’s why Dems have such an easy time profiling gun owners.

    • Aardvark October 19, 2018, 10:51 am

      Any gun owners that are commenting that it’s okay to shoot a shoplifter without reasonably fearing grave bodily harm or death to yourself or others, are a BIG problem for our freedom to bear arms. You are fueling the anti-gun frenzy in this country and if we end up losing our 2A rights, you will be as much to blame as the anti-Constitution, globalist left.

    • Richie October 19, 2018, 2:38 pm

      Very well said!

    • Rick October 19, 2018, 4:22 pm

      “Ultimately, it’s about honor and respect”

      …both which have to be earned.

  • Bob B October 19, 2018, 9:37 am

    That’s 2nd degree murder, plain and simple.

  • Mike October 19, 2018, 9:32 am

    No way should this shooting have ever happened. No threat, should have let the shoplifter leave and contacted local authorities. This is an example of what NOT to do.

  • Paul Taylor October 19, 2018, 9:29 am

    Not even close. No threat to the shooter. Charges by dinner time.

  • Willy October 19, 2018, 9:22 am

    Looks like murder one to me. The patron of the store appeared to pose no threat at all, but was just trying to get out of grasp of the guy with the gun. So he shoplifted, there was no reason to use deadly force over that.

    • Aardvark October 19, 2018, 10:54 am

      Murder one would mean it was premeditated. But you are correct that it was murder. This is more “ammunition” for the anti-2A left.

  • flintman50 October 19, 2018, 9:12 am

    Judge, jury and executioner…..not the way it is supposed to work.

    • Sean October 19, 2018, 9:19 am

      That piece of shit got what he deserved. Thieves should be allowed to be shot. Taking something that doesn’t belong to you is wrong. Chances are that guy was a habitual thief. Its because of p.o.s. people like that, we pay more. Maybe if more thieves saw that they’d reconsider their bad habit.

      • AJ October 19, 2018, 10:27 am

        So should morons with a shit opinion… But hey, here you are.

      • Aardvark October 19, 2018, 10:55 am

        A lot of commenters on here need to take a class on self defense law. You CAN’T murder people for petty crimes!

  • Patrick Norton October 19, 2018, 9:03 am

    There was no threat to the store owner he murdered that man over a less than $10.00 out of pocket item. He should have called the police.
    It is people like this store owner that create the outrage against private citizens owning firearms.

  • ateve October 19, 2018, 8:57 am

    Jesus Christ. That’s tough to watch. Over a freaking $10 hatchet?
    To answer the author’s question, considering the fact that the owner was holding on, trying to PREVENT him from leaving(as opposed to trying to get away) I find it hard to believe he feared for his life.
    Like, what was the point of this shooting? To stop a guy from getting away with the hatchet? To keep him there until the police came?
    It almost seems like he immediately thought about the fact that he just killed someone, and realized he didn’t really have to at all the way he just stands there and stares, watching the guys lifeless body not move an inch. it’s like the reality of the situation(which we as CCs often drastically underappreciate) set in.

    • Cyrus October 19, 2018, 10:37 am

      Exactly what I was thinking. You killed a man fleeing your store, stealing a fucking hatchet? You fucking shot him in the Back?He posed no immediate threat to you! What the Fuck is wrong with you?

  • Jack October 19, 2018, 8:45 am

    Probably going to use the axe as a weapon to rob a convenience store. Everyone has a right to defend their property. Stealing an axe this time, a car next time, then rob a bank. When does it end?? The thief made the decision to steal the axe – he caused his own death. He could have stopped when confronted by the store owner. You don’t think this was the first time he stole something????!

  • Paul October 19, 2018, 8:44 am

    Don’t steal!!

  • Tim October 19, 2018, 8:31 am

    At first sight I thought totally unjustified. After replaying the shooting and seconds leading up to it several times I see the perp turn his head towards the shooter and his right hand is in a position to thrust with the hatchet. Hard call, especially with the heavy breathing and tunnel vision thing going on. On a different note, at what point do you say, “NO MORE” When they steal from your store? From your house? Your car? How about your kid? Maybe it will take some frontier justice to get us back to where we came from.

    • Old Sailor October 19, 2018, 10:59 am

      The store owner went after the shoplifter with his gun drawn. The video never shows a threat to the store owner. It only shows the shoplifter trying to escape. The store owner appears to be the aggressor in this case. The shoplifter’s right hand was holding the hatchet. The hatchet was on the outside of the door and there was no way the shoplifter could use it to harm the owner when he was shot. He was off balance and trying to break away from the store owner’s grip. Not a threat! This was not a good shoot and the store owner should be charged. I certainly agree the shoplifter should have faced consequences for his actions, but getting shot and killed was not one of them.

  • MagnumOpUS October 19, 2018, 8:31 am

    The dirt bag didn’t steal a loaf of bread but a potential weapon, so became a threat.
    He wasn’t shot in the back, but appears to my observation to have been shot into the left side, with the bullets hitting the heart.
    It’s amazing, the seconds separating life from death.
    It’s also amazing, this entitlement mindset that one has the right to someone else’s belongings!
    I hope that the store owner is found not guilty.

  • John October 19, 2018, 8:23 am

    Glad to see another piece of trash off the street, hopefully nothing happens to the shooter. This would slow or stop crime if they knew they were going to get shoot. Good shooting.

  • Northwdsnh October 19, 2018, 8:21 am

    This is exactly the kind of incidents the leftist gun grabbers latch onto, and that will eventually lead to the end of our Right to “Keep and Bear Arms” in this country.

  • Scott Mahoney October 19, 2018, 7:57 am

    Betcha he regrets having that video recorder running now.

  • Richard Stern October 19, 2018, 7:48 am

    I had to re-read Chap 760 of Fl Stats – just to be sure that shoplifting or petit theft didn’t qualify as a “forcible felony” (it doesn’t).

    Hard to tell whether the shop owner was “in fear for his life against a threat of grave harm” – but from the looks of it the SHOPLIFTER WAS.

    This was “questionable enough” (as your place of business does qualify as your “castle” – which is why you can OC there), that LEO didn’t direct charge, but I’m betting the SA will – at most Murder 2 (since there was no premeditation – unless the guy had a sign that said “Shoplifters Will Be Shot”) or some form of manslaughter.

    If charged, I find it highly unlikely that a pre-trial affirmative defense of SYG is gonna fly with a judge (based on the video shown, there is likely more IN STORE VIDEO that we are not seeing yet). From all appearances, the shoplifter wasn’t “menacing or threatening” with said hatchet, and getting out of the shop door in full retreat

    If this were a “black dude”, instead of a “brown dude” – you can get Sharpton/Jackson/Crump would be BLM-ing at the store right now (crickets).

    You are permitted under law, to use “reasonable force” to detain a shoplifter. That force doesn’t extend to assault or deadly force. The shoplifter was clearly in retreat and IN FEAR FOR HIS OWN LIFE (if I was some kid that had some angry shop owner pointing a gun at me – I’d have pooped myself at that point). The shots were taken after the suspect broke free and crossed the threshold of the store – and the old “shoot em on your porch and drag em inside” just won’t fly on this one.

    The fact that this guy is a city commissioner and business owner – may have been a factor in his not being arrested on the spot – but recent cases in FL, have had LEO doing the investigation and letting the SA make the call.

    I called arrest (and probable conviction) on the idiot that got pushed down playing “handicapped parking police” – where everyone else was citing “justifiable shoot”.

    I am always fond of saying: carrying a firearm is a HUGE RESPONSIBILITY (in addition to being a right/privilege) and the decision when NOT TO SHOOT, is as important as the decision TO SHOOT.

    I’ve had a handful of incidents in recent years, where I could have LEGALLY PULLED THE TRIGGER – the presence of my firearm abated the threat – and removed THE LEGAL AND MORAL RIGHT TO TAKE A LIFE. It’s called MINDSET and CRITICAL DECISION MAKING UNDER PRESSURE. Sadly – many people that carry lack this necessary quality, and for that reason should reconsider the decision to carry.


    • Jorge Garcia October 19, 2018, 9:18 am

      Very well said, the fact that theres another piece of trash less in this world, and that he was taking a hatchet does play an intresting point to the question of if he so deserves to die for this crime. I for one hate these vermin with a passion, that being said, regardless of the intent the hatchet was being taken for, I dont agree this is a crime requring tha taking of a life. I carry everyday no matter where I go, and fortunately have never had to make this call, but given the brief video and lack of other evidence, This was an unjustifiable shooting and hope this guy gets his right to carry removed until further light can be shed on this incident, from my perspective, this was an abuse of the privilage to carry a weapon.

    • Will October 19, 2018, 11:10 am

      There is virtue in forbearance when such would spare a man’s life. People came to this country in the early days, many to escape the brutal penalties imposed as retribution for minor crimes in England at the time. To see so many recommend a return to such ways which our ancestors struggled so hard to escape, which our forefathers fought to prevent – why not just bring back debtor’s prison and indentured service while we’re at it? Thank you for being reasonable.

  • Jay October 19, 2018, 7:45 am

    The only thing I can say! When your in the middle of a criminal act, you have no more rights, as that act says I just gave them up as laws mean nothing to me! Your not just breaking local laws your acting against every law abiding citizen in the USA! When we as citizens are empowered to stop criminals, instead of criminals having more rights than law abiding citizens do, crime will drop like a rock!

    • Jorge Garcia October 19, 2018, 9:26 am

      This is the kind of rederick democrats love, keep it up and soon we will all lose our rights to carry, have you ever heard of laws that apply to all of us, including criminals,this is purely an act of desperation to discharge a firarm, your right to carry as well as mine is puerly limmited to protect yourself from bodily harm, to stop crime we have whats called the police department, when this kind of thinking takes off, we have lost all that we have worked for and even the police will be in danger. please watch what you say, there are millions anti gun, liberal bastards, out there just aching to grab this kind of rederick and use it against responsible gun toting citizens.

    • David October 19, 2018, 10:40 am

      Christ! Really man. There is a little inconvenient thing called the premise of innocence until proven guilty, even for shop lifting douche bags. And it’s not like they would have any trouble finding the kid, his dad was at the counter paying for something. I am a CCW permit holder. I carry and I take that right very seriously. This kind of crap and your asinine comments/attitude are the kind of things that give the Left all the ammo they need to remove those rights. Hopefully your just some leftist troll with nothing better to do. That I could understand.

  • Greg in FL October 19, 2018, 7:43 am

    I am a Florida CWP holder and have a pretty decent understanding of the Florida laws as they pertain to use of force. The video doesn’t show what transpired before the alleged theft and shooting took placed, but based strictly on what the video shows…. Lopez did appear to be removing the hatchet (or item in his hand) without paying for it when the store owner grabbed him by his shirt and fires the shots. All this takes place when Lopez is exiting the door and the object in question is outside the building.

    I saw nothing which lead me to believe Lopez was trying to physically harm the store owner as he was fleeing therefore he was not an imminent threat. Now, if he had turned around a tried to take a swing at the store owner with the “hatchet”, then there might be a case for imminent danger. I say might because the attorney representing Lopez or his family might argue that Lopez was acting in self defense because he was being attacked by a man with a gun.

    There is not telling what spin people may try to put on this incident but in my opinion the store owner was not justified in the use of deadly force.

  • Jay October 19, 2018, 7:40 am

    I love how everyone here is playing judge, jury and executioner here. The video is scathing but it’s for the officials to sort out. Now given this is Texas and castle doctrine rules are wide open I’d say the shooter is safe. But shooting an unarmed man in the back for shoplifting a 15 dollar hand axe doesn’t qualify for execution. Just remember there’s a judge in the afterlife, I don’t think the shooters scales are going to be even on his day of judgment.

    • Old Sailor October 19, 2018, 11:01 am

      It’s FL, not TX. It wouldn’t be justified in Texas either.

  • ATGR October 19, 2018, 7:38 am

    It looks like the owner was feeling threatened as they approached the door. When they come into the picture you can see him push the guy back and step back as if the guy was going to use force against him. The problem, I think, is he should have fired right then, not waited until he was part way out the door. When the guy got to the door you can see he was actually trying to flee, but the owner was holding him back. I think the owner will have a problem trying to defend his actions.

  • akjc77 October 19, 2018, 7:31 am

    My opinion is if the guy didn’t raise tbe hatchet or make a threatening move towards the owner he had no justification in shooting the punk. He should’ve let him go and call Police he had the father there with him. We can’t be shooting people unless they are truly a threat or the gun grabbers on the left will have more crap to use against us!

  • Stevr October 19, 2018, 7:27 am

    This store owner is the sort of douchebag that gives all gun owners a bad name. You don’t shoot someone over a hatchet. The hatchet wasn’t being swung at him. However, this dude is connected politically, and we all know that laws apply differently to connected people with money. So he may just walk….. but he shouldn’t. This is the opinion of an avid defender of the 2nd ammendment.

  • Marty October 19, 2018, 6:47 am

    Maybe the shop owner will argue that the man was not acting rationally and that he thought that the hatchet thief was an immediate threat to the community.
    I’d be desperately trying to think of something if I was him as simply shooting a fleeing shoplifter doesn’t cut it!

    • Rick October 19, 2018, 4:27 pm

      “and that he thought that the hatchet thief was an immediate threat to the community.”

      Self defense isn’t an affirmative defense against conjecture.

  • MB October 19, 2018, 6:40 am

    All those of you who think this was excessive force remember the theif was carrying a lethal weapon he was stealing. If this had occurred here in Texas there would not be an issue, as in Texas one can use deadly force to protect one’s property.

    • Old Sailor October 19, 2018, 11:05 am

      No it wouldn’t. I have a Texas LTC and carry daily. This was not a justified shoot. You can’t shoot someone in the back that is fleeing. They pose no danger to you. You will be charged, just as the store owner in this case should be charged.

      • MB October 21, 2018, 12:18 am

        OLD SAILOR Looks like he was shot in the chest, not the back. In any case, he was armed. If a police officer ran across him in the same situation ( armed, trying to get away ) there might me same result. The thief valued his life at $16 and was willing to fight about it. He lost., no loss to society The ownership of the gunshot was on the thief, if he had not resisted he would be alive. I do think if he was stealing a CD, then it would be a issue, but since he had a lethal weapon, that changes everything. Fortunately neither of us will sit on the jury.

  • dtom1955 October 19, 2018, 6:31 am

    Where the hell is the dad, someone just shot my kid ( who was taught not to steal and grew up with no sense of entitlement) I’d be all over them?

  • Scooter Lippy October 19, 2018, 6:31 am

    Owner had no legal justification to shoot this idiot who pushed past him even with a gun drawn on him. One less thieving Lopez in Florida probably a good thing.

  • 9 MM Ogive October 19, 2018, 6:10 am

    I watched this and was stunned. Knowing the scenario of what led up to it was still stunning…… that the thief was shot twice in the back…..let alone shot at all.

    You use deadly force when your life is being threatened. The thief was exiting the store not threatening the owner, he had his back to the owner trying to get away/be released from the owners grip…………and as I saw this idiot with his weapon fire two rounds into the perpetrator I wanted to scream: “WHAT IN THE FOCK ARE YOU DOING ? ? ? ! ! !”

    After that, I had my mouth partially open getting apoplectic in my brain…… with thoughts I wanted to blurt out but would not come.

    I’m “Mr. Law & Order”……………………….. but this was murder…or one of the manslaughter clauses.


    • dirtsailor67 October 19, 2018, 8:31 am

      Too bad your hands couldn’t have froze before you started typing that post…..

  • andy October 19, 2018, 6:07 am

    How is the shop owner toast? Only a retard would determine he is toast by just watching this video. Maybe the other commenter clearly determined that a civil conversation happened right before the camera view. Man with hatchet in hand… did you catch that part? Stand your ground… did he have a right to be where he was? did he have a right to protect his property?… I just might have my gun in hand when I am dealing with someone with a HATHET in his hand. The only question I see is did he have a right to physically stop the person who was stealing his property while on his property? If he was allowed to physically grab him… and of course the reason that is in question is because this country is going down the toilet with this “bill of Criminal’s rights” afforded to criminals by the democrat party… then he was smart to have a gun in his hand when doing so. But if he was in a state where he was obliged to hand the criminal coffee and a damn donut while on the way out of the store stealing his property, then he might be in trouble. He might be in trouble either way, but if this guy was acting unstable and he was intervening to act on behalf of whoever’s head or neck he might have buried the hatchet in (again, who knows by looking at this video what aggression this guy was displaying?” then he could easily be a hero. Oh… and to the idiots that claim to know for a fact that this guy was just your normal legal entitled & licensed shoplifter who had no intention of burying the hatchet in anyones face right after he escaped from the store, maybe you should look at some more youtube videos … maybe ones where the police play “please put the knife down” as they back up and back up and back up till they finally grab a innocent bystander and hold the knife to their throat and force the police to shoot and then kill the citizen knife wielder and innocent bystander because they played “put the knife down” a little too long.

    • Gerry October 19, 2018, 7:01 am

      Look, Andy, I’m with ya. I agree with everything you say…. But.
      It’s going to depend on a couple things. First, does Fla law permit deadly force in defense of property? I don’t know…anyone?
      Second, is there evidence that the suspect was threatening the shooter (or anyone else) with the hatchet? If not, then there’s a possible problem. The law might not give the shooter the right to self-defense if the suspect is found to not be threatening him. Not that he’s a “potential threat” – that he’s an “actual threat.” There’s a big difference.
      That said, I’m not certain that I personally would feel I had the green light. You’d have to be able to articulate that shooting the guy was the only course of action that the shooter had. Given the presence of the hatchet, would a reasonable person think that the shooter getting in the suspect’s path was the only option? Maybe not. Putting yourself in danger, rather than danger coming to you, might not be an adequate defense. Going toward the danger is expected of the police… but what about a “civilian”?
      It’s an interesting case. I’ll be waiting for the outcome.

      • andy October 19, 2018, 11:11 am

        I agree with you. I was not writing in defense of the store owner’s actions. I was only writing to support his presumption of innocence. Some people immediately came to the conclusion that he was guilty. I guess that is based on their expert experience in YouTube Analysis. I really didn’t like the actions he took. When he drew his weapon he should of just made sure the guy left the store. I think he put himself in too much danger. Even if it wasn’t a hatchet and was hammer, is it a good idea to confront someone so close to them while they have the object in their hand? Part of me says, I don’t care what he has in his hand, he’s not going to steal anything from my store and the other part of me says, dial 911 and just gather information and let him walk out…. and I only say that cause of the massive consequences there could be, kind of exactly what this guy is going to go through now.

        Some of the stuff people have written on here make me sick while some of it I support… like as soon as you start committing a crime, you lose all of your rights… I’m all for that. Some people want to get on their high horse and say he did not deserve a death sentence for shoplifting. Well, that seems to be exactly what he got though!! And why, because Mr Shoplifter must have been studying his Shoplifter 101 tips from an outdated manual or maybe there is this thing out there amongst other humans where one of the laws are that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Both of these guys were probably as sure of themselves an hour before that… one would just be operating his store like he always has and one was going to steal something. Maybe the store owner didn’t act appropriately, maybe even recklessly, but one thing I do know is that the shoplifter got himself killed… whether he so called “deserved it” or not.

    • Johnny Raygun October 19, 2018, 7:18 am

      I have to disagree with your post. His father was in the store. Was the father paying for the item? Should the owner of called the police? The father was still in the store and not going anywhere…Death is the not correct punishment for stealing.

      • Jim October 19, 2018, 10:07 am

        what better way to stop a thief. That is the problem in this country, no one wants to deal with criminals. If you steal from me, you will most likely forfeit your life. Are you willing to die for my tv or whatever? That is how the stealing will stop because jail doesn’t seem to be a deterrent.

      • andy October 19, 2018, 11:30 am

        Death is exactly what he got though… despite his logic, the store owner’s logic or your logic. Too much could’ve, would’ve should’ve or maybe this or that. I know one thing, if he would have gotten in line and paid for it he would not be dead. If he would have been with his dad at the register when it was paid for, he might be alive.

        Was the store owner supposed to know they were father and son… we are assuming too much to answer that. Did they have on matching t shirts or something that clearly indicated to the store owner they were father and son. Either way, the guy is 50… not 15 and would probably be given more latitude and just maybe and I’m really assuming here with all my might, the father would have snapped out and told the kid to get over here.

        So you somehow have disagreed with my post and I have no idea what you are disagreeing about. I didn’t say he deserved to die for his shoplifting activities. It just turned out that is what ultimately happened. Remember… 50 YEARS OLD… 50!!

      • Deanna Johncox October 19, 2018, 12:06 pm

        I agree, the kid may have thought his Dad was paying for the hatchet, then when the owner confronted him with a gun maybe it was the child that was afraid and just wanted to get away from him. It’s just really sad.

        • AJ October 19, 2018, 5:00 pm

          Um… What kid?

  • Tom October 19, 2018, 6:03 am

    Flat out terrible. Totally unnecessary use of deadly force. Stupid + Unreasonable = _______________. You fill in the blank.

  • Glock17 Catholic October 19, 2018, 5:47 am

    Agreed, based on what we see, the thief was trying to escape no longer presenting a threat to life.

  • Ray Robinson October 19, 2018, 5:30 am

    Could go either way. Looks like the guy was just looking back but it is hard to tell what the shop owner percieved to be the situation. I would not wait too long to react to a man commiting an illegal act with a hatchet in his hand.

  • Dave October 19, 2018, 5:15 am

    I’m in favor of the 2nd. But hey, it’s just a $10 hatchet man! You just don’t kill a person over a lousy $10! WTF was the owner thinking? “I’ll have to file bankruptcy if he gets away with my fukin hatchet!” Smh!

  • William P Dorsey October 19, 2018, 3:15 am

    Lopez was not threatening at all, he was trying to leave. That guy killed someone over a hatchet? That business owner should go to prison. There was no justification in that video for deadly force.

  • TOM H October 18, 2018, 9:47 pm

    Not aware of Florida’s law on personal property protection. Here in Texas you can shoot to protect your property in certain scenarios. If Florida’s law allows the use of deadly force for protection of personal property then this is a case close scenario, if not, then he should go to jail. I personally would have let him walk out with the axe as in the long term will be cheaper than the money he is going to have to pay in lawyers fees and lawsuits and ultimately in restitution.

    • Rick October 19, 2018, 4:31 pm

      “Here in Texas you can shoot to protect your property in certain scenarios”

      Is shooting a shoplifter with a $20 multi-tool in the side/back halfway out the door trying to get away one of those scenarios? If so, can he be shot over a $10 hammer? A $5 screwdriver? A .50 pack of gum? Where do you draw that line?

  • ro October 18, 2018, 11:02 am

    shop owner is toast (and a dumbscheisse) ….thank goodness he already has the prison hair style in place….makes for an easy transition

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