VIDEO: Store Owner Fatally Shoots Man Stealing Hatchet

A Florida man shot a homeless man whom he said was trying to steal a hatchet from his store.

Lakeland, FL – Police released surveillance video that showed a store owner fatally shooting a man who tried to steal a hatchet from his military surplus store (video below).

Police said Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn shot 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez on Oct. 3, while he was shopping with his father at the store co-owned by Dunn, according to WFTS.

As Lopez’s father was making a purchase, Dunn saw Lopez trying to steal a hatchet.

He stopped Lopez and asked if he was going to buy the hatchet, and that sparked a confrontation that left Lopez dead less than 10 minutes after he entered the store.

The video began as Dunn backed into the camera’s view with his gun pointed at Lopez, who was trying to get to the exit.

Lopez tried to leave the store and had his back turned to Dunn when the commissioner grabbed him by the left shoulder, the video showed.

Dunn grabbed Lopez’s t-shirt as the man tried to make his escape.

The video showed Lopez pulled away while both hands were on the door, and finally got loose of Dunn’s grasp.

That’s when Dunn fired his weapon at Lopez, who immediately collapsed to the ground.

Police described both Lopez and his father as transient, and said the men had been in Lakeland for about a month, according to The New York Times.

No charges have been filed against Dunn.

"At this time, in the interest of transparency, although the criminal investigation continues to be active, we at the Lakeland Police Department have requested and received the approval of the State Attorney's Office to release all the videos which show the shooting that occurred on October 3," the Lakeland Police Department said in a statement, according to WFTS.

"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,” the statement read.

James Franklin, Dunn’s lawyer, confirmed to the New York Times that his 47-year-old client shot Lopez with a Glock handgun, but said he wouldn’t make any further comments until after the investigation was completed.

The New York Times reported that the investigation was expected to be finished by the end of the week.

Dunn, who has been a city commissioner since January, texted The Ledger that he was "OK" but had no further comment.

The Ledger reported that Dunn also had been involved in an accidental shooting when he was 19 years old.

Dunn shot Robert Hilton while he was practicing his aim with a pistol at his house. He said at the time that he thought the gun was unloaded.

The bullet went out the front door of Dunn's home and hit Hilton in the elbow as he drove by in his car. Police determined that shooting was accidental, and Dunn was not charged, The Ledger reported.

You can see the video of the shooting below. WARNING - Graphic Content:

Comments (57)
No. 1-28
jinx73
jinx73

no need to kill,his trigger happy life was not in danger.sad.

bobjals
bobjals

You don't shoot someone trying to get away when you are in no danger.

RespectLaw
RespectLaw

I can't believe he shot that man - he doesn't even fit the profile of a criminal like the media keeps depicting. Maybe the media is wrong? maybe?

JustMe12
JustMe12

No need to shoot the man, he was not in danger.

Moktor
Moktor

Even if he tried to say he was "in danger" he went hands on with a dude with a hatchet. Who was trying to run away. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor... I imagine everywhere, so even that angle doesn't work. Sorry, but dude needs to be charged.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I wonder whether stricter federal gun control laws could have prevented this criminal homicide.

BillyRay
BillyRay

He had a clear shot (point blank range) at the legs. Bad decision that he will live with for the rest of his life.

merlin9
merlin9

No need to shoot. The man was not presenting a threat

Marxest
Marxest

No charges have been filed? This man needs to be charged with murder right away. He wasn't in danger and there was no need to shoot. Disgusting behavior from both the killer and the police department.

turbohips
turbohips

All these comments are stupid. There is a reason why there is so much theft in our country. The laws are too soft. In the middle east, people get their hands cut off for stealing. There is hardly any theft going on over there. How about this douche bag shouldn't have stolen in the first place making this store owner have to resort to extreme measures. Let's start at the problem and make judgments before commenting on the legal store owner that didn't want this in the first place.

M4D
M4D

Ummm, pretty sure that was MURDER. Just saying

Dependabilityfirst
Dependabilityfirst

Now that's funny. Easy shot from that range.

Georgia
Georgia

Don't want to get shot, don't steal.

Georgia
Georgia

He didn't need to steal, his poor choices brought that on himself.

Sickandtired
Sickandtired

Kind of funny how the rhetoric goes on here. If the shooter would have been an on duty cop and shot a suspect armed with a hatchet, you all would be cheering the shooting as justified. Just another oxygen thief taken out. It wouldn't matter to you that he was walking away. He didn't do what he was told so it was justified you all would say. Of course the scenario I brought up and this one are both murder.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Terrible shooting, straight murder and the PD should have arrested him not let him be out while they investigate. Bullshit.

phinum
phinum

This was not justified. A life vs a hatchet? How can this be justified? If your life is threatened, do what you have to do. This guy was only trying to get away. If this is ruled as justified, I can only believe it is because of his political connections.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Gospel.

Preachur
Preachur

Don't rob stores and you won't get shot.

budski
budski

Don't steal !

angeleyes
angeleyes

theft is not a capital crime, at least not yet. TG. He presented no immediate danger, was trying to get away, did not threaten the owner in any way. The justice system is quick to vilify our LEOs when they shoot someone, especially when it's a righteous shooting. Now we have private citizens taking the law into their hands to be judge, jury and executioner over theft that was on tape and not being arrested. Now Mexico will be suing the store owner for murder of one of it's citizens.

mark338378
mark338378

Thou shalt not steal. 10 commandments. Justice served. The man had a hatchet in his hands. Don't take what is not yours. Lots of people crying here about it was only stealing a hatchet but what is he was in your house only stealing your wife's purse or only stealing your jewelry. Then I think it would be thought about differently. This man had to pay for that product in his store with money he worked for and earned. This other man felt he could just take it without working. Where is this mentality coming from? Lesson learned.

ChrisBlue
ChrisBlue

yeah, I think this store owner might be in a little trouble here. If he called the cops first he might have some defense but I doubt it. It would have to fall under Focible Felony to be justified to kill someone. A lawyer might be able to get it reduced but I think he's going to prison for a little while.

damyers
damyers

Was your life worth the hatchet you tried to steal? smh ~

Hannibal
Hannibal

Not a good reason to kill someone. Over a fucking hatchet. What in the hell is going on in this country. Judge jury and executioner, sorry no.

tctommy1
tctommy1

f--k him justice was quick and he was put out of his misery

pepeangel
pepeangel

Sad, and in front of his father. It is wrong to steal but greed is just as bad. This homeless man may have needed a hatchet for his protection among other things. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not kill.

ceplato
ceplato

what kind of idiot thief when faced with a gun and order to drop your stolen goods, refused to drop the stolen goods? Oh, an idiot thief.