Charged with second-degree murder for fatally shooting a man, former Lakeside City Commissioner Michael Dunn was released from jail on bond Thursday night when he suddenly fled across a parking lot to avoid reporters. Dunn was caught on video fleeing from the journalists’ questions and had also been recorded killing a man for allegedly shoplifting.
On October 3, then-Lakeside City Commissioner Michael Dunn was recorded on surveillance video aiming a pistol at Christobal Lopez for allegedly stealing a hatchet from his military surplus store. As Lopez attempted to exit the store, Dunn grabbed his shirt sleeve before fatally shooting him.
According to the video, Lopez was holding both the hatchet and the door with his right hand when Dunn killed him. Lopez did not appear to attack or threaten Dunn with the hatchet.
On October 15, Lakeland Police publicly released the surveillance video of Dunn killing Lopez for shoplifting. Five days later, Dunn was charged with second-degree murder after Brian Haas, the state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, determined that Dunn’s actions did not fall under the protection of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
After Dunn was charged with murder, he resigned his seat from the Lakeside City Commissioner earlier this week. On Thursday, Circuit Judge Wayne Durden ordered Dunn to house arrest and set his bail at $150,000. Dunn was also ordered to surrender his firearms and ammunition, avoid any contact with Lopez’s family, and could not work at his business, the Vets Army Navy Surplus Store in Lakeland, because of the guns in the store.
While being released from jail on bond, Dunn was confronted Thursday night by several journalists waiting for his release. Shortly after a reporter asked Dunn if he had anything to say, Dunn was recorded on multiple videos suddenly running from the journalists and fleeing across the parking lot.
After running away for nearly a minute, Dunn entered a government-issued SUV and left without answering any questions.
Adam Kemp, family attorney for the Lopez family, released the following statement:
“Christobal Lopez’s family just lost a brother, a son, a beloved family member; their lives have been turned upside down, and they’re trying to cope with this enormous loss as best they can. As a grieving family, they didn’t feel comfortable being at Dunn’s bond hearing, surrounded by the media and in the same room as the man who shot their brother and son, and frankly, there was no need for them to be there. Right now, the family is focused on healing and holding Dunn fully accountable through both the criminal and civil justice systems.”
Dunn’s next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for November 13.
At the age of 19, Dunn accidentally shot another man while practicing his aim with a pistol inside his home. After Dunn claimed he thought the gun was unloaded, police determined that shooting had been accidental and cleared him of any wrongdoing.