Monday’s release of dramatic surveillance video in the Michael Dunn shooting case has generated coverage from national and even international news organizations. Some, like The New York Times, added their own reporting to the story of the first-term Lakeland city commissioner shooting and killing a suspected shoplifter at his store, Vets Army Navy Surplus on North Florida Avenue. More
Crime / Justice
As the investigation into the Oct. 3 fatal shooting at City Commissioner Michael Dunn’s Vets Army Navy Surplus continues, the Lakeland Police Department released surveillance video this morning. If you have trouble viewing the article, see the video on YouTube. And repeating warnings from both LPD and The Ledger: The images may be disturbing.
Tampa Bay Times reports two attorneys they talked with say the video will make it difficult for Dunn to argue he feared for his life when he fired. Similarly, Clearwater defense attorney and former prosecutor Kevin Hayslett tells Bay News 9, “The law specifically says you cannot, I repeat, cannot use deadly force to protect a property crime.”
Ledger reporters John Chambliss and Kimberly C. Moore follow up on several angles of Wednesday’s fatal shooting of a shoplifting suspect by City Commissioner Michael Dunn. Among them:
- Dunn attorney Rusty Franklin says the shooting was justifiable since victim Christobal Lopez was holding the hatchet he had taken from Dunn’s military surplus store.
- Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens decided his department will continue investigating the case and will decide whether charges will be filed rather than turning it over to another agency.
- And this: “Dunn fired two shots. It’s unclear where Lopez was hit, how close the two were to each other and where exactly the shooting occurred in the store at 819 N. Florida Ave. Lopez died outside the front door of the business.”
City Commissioner Michael Dunn shot and killed a man he accused of trying to steal a hatchet from his store, Vets Army Navy at 819 N. Florida Ave., this afternoon, according to the Lakeland Police Department.
The victim was identified as Cristobal Lopez, 50. Police said as Lopez’ father was making a purchase around 2:30 p.m., Dunn accused the younger Lopez of trying to hide a hatchet and leave the store with it. More
The Second District Court of Appeals has been hearing cases in Tampa since the court’s Lakeland headquarters building was declared uninhabitable in 2016. In an editorial, The Tampa Bay Times argues the court should stay in Tampa. Half of the court’s business originates in the Tampa Bay region and 41 percent of the population of the 13-county district lives in the bay area, the newspaper points out. Pork chop politics in the Legislature landed the court in Lakeland and is clouding reason in the debate on where to house the court, the editorial states, concluding that “all Lakeland has to commend it as a legal center now is inertia.”
- Keely Rai Oltmanns, 15, of Lakeland, died Tuesday evening when the car she was riding in failed to stop at a flashing red signal north of Dade City | Tampa Bay Times
- A 22-year-old convenience store co-owner faces charges after video captured him shooting into the car of a fleeing beer thief | WFLA
- The city of Lakeland says it is accelerating efforts to place more security cameras in Barnett Park following an arrest near the playground | WFLA
@LakelandPD has charged Terrese Lafate Colston of Tampa with attempted 1st degree murder of a law enforcement officer following yesterday’s carjacking, chase and gunfire exchange. The officer, Alexander Rethwisch, is recovering.
✓ Affidavit: https://t.co/H7yVHplMAZ#lkld pic.twitter.com/xu5upst8eG
— Lkld Now (@LkldNow) July 13, 2018
✓ Background: Yesterday’s story via 10 News
✓ Today: Update via theledger.com
Parking lots at parks and gyms are being hit more often by thieves, Sheriff Grady Judd says. It’s not enough to hide your stuff in your car because burglars know what to look for, he says, adding: “It’s got to be locked in the trunk and out of sight.”
UPDATE: Lakeland police say their preliminary review of an incident of officers restraining and kicking a homeless man showed the officers “were justified in their response and acted within our Use Of Force policy.”
The Lakeland Police Department released its own description late last night and said the two officers’ use of force is under administrative review. A noon update today said the administrative review continues but that preliminary findings show the use fo force was justified.
Today’s update said: “Both officers used various physical tactics, including strikes to the upper torso, in an attempt to gain control of John Abbott and take him into custody. Abbott was not kicked in the head. As Officer West gave an audible warning that he was deploying his Tazer, Officer Anthony stepped back to ensure he would be clear of the Tazer effects. When the Tazer failed to stop Abbott, Abbott grabbed the device from Officer West. Officer Anthony then kicked Abbott in the upper torso in an effort to make Abbott to release the weapon.”
“When you try to take somebody into custody and they react violently, you need to take appropriate action,” Chief Larry Giddens told The Ledger today.
A police spokesman told The Ledger last night that what looked to some like a running kick to the head was really a kick to the suspect’s arm.
Deputies are asking the public’s help finding the person driving a white minivan who they say burglarized three homes in south Lakeland and took an urn containing the cremated remains of retired Lakeland Police Officer Buddy Newsome.