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.
“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.
We are allowing private citizens to impose the death penalty for shoplifting:
Surveillance video shows Lakeland city commissioner shooting alleged shoplifter https://t.co/6wJW9oWajj
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) October 15, 2018
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?