LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland city commissioner accused of fatally shooting a shoplifting suspect earlier this month was arrested Friday on charges of second-degree murder, the State Attorney's Office said.
Police said Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn, 47, fatally shot Christobal Lopez, 50, of Wauchula, over a $16 hatchet Dunn said he saw Lopez try to steal from the Vets Army Navy Surplus store, where Dunn also works.
Surveillance footage shows Lopez move toward the store's front door. Dunn tries to grab Lopez's shoulder, but instead ends up with a fistful of the man's shirt. Lopez raises his left arm, trying to break free.
Dunn then appears to shoot Lopez at least once.
The shoplifting suspect falls to the ground just outside the door with an object that appears to be a hatchet still in his right hand.
An attorney for Lopez's family provided Channel 9 the following statement Friday evening:
"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."
© 2021 Cox Media Group