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Surveillance video shows Florida city commissioner fatally shooting shoplifting suspect

The Lakeland, Florida, Police Department releases surveillance video in the shooting death of a shoplifting suspect. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A Florida city commissioner fatally shot a shoplifting suspect at an Army and Navy surplus store earlier this month. The commissioner, who is co-owner of the store, may face charges in the shooting.

Authorities released video footage of the incident Monday amid an investigation into whether the city commissioner should face charges over the incident.

What are the details of the incident?

The incident occurred on Oct. 3 at the Vets Army & Navy Surplus Store, according to WTVT-TV.

Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn accosted the now-deceased suspect, Christobal Lopez, after Dunn suspected him of shoplifting.

Lopez, a 50-year-old homeless convicted felon, according to police, reportedly attempted to leave the store with a stolen hatchet in his pants.

In the video, Dunn can be seen approaching Lopez with a firearm, while simultaneously trying to stop him from leaving the store with stolen merchandise.

Lopez just about makes it out the door and pulls free from Dunn when the city commissioner fires two rounds at Lopez.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Lopez is visible "holding the door with his right hand and appears to be holding an object in that same hand" immediately prior to Dunn shooting him.

The outlet notes that it is "unclear if the object is the hatchet that Lopez is suspected of trying to steal when he was shot."

After Dunn fires the two rounds, Lopez falls to the ground outside of the store as Dunn looks on.

Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Nelson said that both rounds struck Lopez. Police say that the suspect later died from injuries.

What else?

On Oct. 4, Dunn's attorney said that Dunn feared for his life when he fatally shot Lopez.

"[Lopez] was given that chance and made a choice not to accept responsibility and wait for law enforcement to come, to have an investigation, so [Dunn] had to do things under split seconds to protect himself, his business, and his community," Dunn's attorney, Rusty Franklin, said.

The Lakeland Police Department is still investigating the fatal shooting.

The Florida State Attorney's Office is considering whether to charge Dunn over the incident.

Police issued a statement along with the video, which said, "Though citizens may have strong feelings about what is depicted, we ask you to remain patient as our department continues to work with the State Attorney's Office to investigate."

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law permits people to use deadly force if they feel they face "imminent death or great bodily harm." The law also notes that such person "has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground."

According to the Ledger, Dunn took office as city commissioner in January.

The outlet noted that the governor could suspend Dunn from office if Dunn is arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony.

Additionally, Kevin Cook, a spokesperson for the city, said that fellow commissioners could vote Dunn off the commission if convicted of a felony.

You can watch the altercation in the video below.

(Content warning: Graphic video):

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