Michael Dunn testifies on the witness stand on Tuesday, February 11 2014.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida (USA TODAY) -- The Florida man accused of killing a 17-year-old after a dispute over
loud rap music testified Tuesday that he was taunted and felt menaced
in the moments before the shooting.
But Michael David Dunn, on
trial for first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, said
he drove off from the gas station after firing 10 shots at the SUV in
which Jordan Davis was sitting because he didn't think anyone had been
hurt. He didn't learn that Davis, 17, had been killed until hours later.
to the shooting on Nov. 23, 2012, Dunn said the teens in the SUV
taunted him and "had menacing expressions" after he had asked them to
turn down the music. He thought he saw one of them hold something that
appeared to be a shotgun.
"I had every right of self-defense, and I
took it,'' said Dunn, whose testimony and cross examination began
shortly before 10:30 a.m., not ending until after 3 p.m.
"I was in
fear for my life,'' Dunn said earlier. "I had never been threatened,
let alone with a firearm. I was incredulous. I couldn't believe what I
was seeing and hearing."
Dunn is white. Davis was black. The case
has drawn comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of another black
Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, killed during a struggle with neighborhood
watch volunteer George Zimmerman. A Florida jury later acquitted
Zimmerman of second-degree murder.
Dunn said he tried to remain
calm behind the wheel of his car while Davis hurled obscenities and
threats at him from inside a red Dodge Durango. But Dunn said Davis
reached down, picked something up and slammed it against the
rear-passenger door of the Durango. Dunn said he spotted about 4 inches
of an object in the window frame that resembled a 12-gauge shotgun --
and their dispute over vehicle-rattling rap music escalated.
the continued threat of, 'You're dead, (expletive)!' now the door opens
and this young man gets out. And as his head clears the window frame,
he says, "This (expletive)'s going down now!" Dunn said Tuesday from the
witness stand, jabbing a pointed finger.
"This is the point where my death is imminent. He's coming to kill me. He's coming to beat me," he said.
"I thought I was going to be killed,'' Dunn testified.
he was retrieving his pistol from the glove box of his car, Dunn, 47,
testified he felt the situation was "a clear and present danger."
have said Dunn became enraged during the dispute over loud music and
fired 10 shots at the Dodge Durango. Davis and his friends were inside
the vehicle at a gas station parking lot on the south side of
Dunn, who broke down repeatedly during his
testimony, said Tuesday that he feared not only for his safety, but for
his fiancée, Rhonda Rouer, who had gone into the gas station to purchase
wine and potato chips.
After firing several shots from his
handgun, Dunn said he fired again into the SUV "to keep the heads down
... of three or four potential shooters."
After the SUV drove off, Dunn said he still felt threatened. "I shot at them, now, what are they going to do?"
cross-examination, assistant State Attorney John Guy asserted that
Davis was never a threat, and that Dunn merely opened fire after he was
disrespected by a mouthy teenager.
Guy also said Dunn never
mentioned to Rouer that he thought he had spotted a shotgun in the SUV.
Dunn earlier testified he told Rouer they had a gun multiple times on
the way to their hotel after the shooting.
"The truth is, you never told the love of your life that those boys had a gun," Guy said.
"You weren't there,'' Dunn replied.
his testimony, Assistant State Attorney Erin Wolfson called Rouer back
to the witness stand. Rouer repeatedly said Dunn made no mention of a
shotgun, stick or weapon in the Durango following the shooting.
and Rouer had been in Jacksonville attending the wedding of Dunn's son,
Chris. They left the wedding reception early to return to their motel
room to tend to their 7-month-old puppy, a French bulldog named Charley,
He didn't contact police that day, either.
have to understand, we didn't think anybody was hurt,'' he testified.
"We were not in trouble with police. We might be in trouble with the
local gangsters, but did nothing wrong."
The following morning, he was contacted by a Jacksonville detective. Dunn told him that he acted in self-defense.
"Again, I knew I had done nothing wrong,'' he said. He said he never thought he would be charged with murder.
Dunn is a South Patrick Shores, Fla., computer programmer, a private pilot and Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club member.
MORE ON THIS STORY:
-Florida's next Trayvon Martin case?
-Echoes of Zimmerman expected in FL murder trial
-Man claims fear led to slaying over loud music
-DAY 1: Prosecutor says Dunn was unconcerned after shooting
-DAY 2: Testimony focuses on rap music confrontation
-DAY 3: Jacksonville Police officer takes the stand
-DUNN'S FIANCE: Emotional Testimony