Surveillance video released Monday showing Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn fatally shooting an alleged shoplifting suspect is now going viral.
Many people are calling for charges against Dunn after Cristobal Lopez's death Oct. 3.
The Polk County State Attorney’s Office and Lakeland police say they will not be releasing any more information about the case until Friday.
Dunn, who's been a very vocal gun rights advocate, has yet to talk.
Wednesday, a "No Media" sign was posted on the front door of Dunn’s military surplus store in Lakeland where the shooting happened.
We showed the video to Ryan Thomas, owner of Tampa Carry. He is a gun rights advocate, a concealed carry instructor and a public speaker who has worked with Dunn in the past.
“He’s been a great guy, he was joking around with my kids," Thomas said. "In fact, he gave my kids a gift, but just because you’re a nice person doesn’t mean that you don’t make a mistake in the heat of the moment.
"In my opinion, it is not a situation that a gun should have been pulled, shown to the customer or discharged.”
The surveillance video shows Dunn holding and then shooting Lopez as he appears to be trying to leave.
“I’ve watched it about a dozen times. You can clearly see Lopez is not reaching for the weapon. He’s just trying to get away. I definitely don’t think we have a right to shoot somebody who is just trying to run,” Thomas said.
Dunn’s longtime friend and barber Joan Peterson says the video may not be as incriminating as some may think.
“The video helps because it shows Michael did everything that he could to keep him within the store,” Peterson said.
While the commissioner has yet to talk about the incident, Peterson says he’s upset and unable to eat.
Meantime, as the video released by Lakeland Police continues to be shared, many are waiting to see if the commissioner will face any charges.
“I do believe Dunn had the right to use physical force to stop and detain this guy, but even then, I don’t think that would have been the right thing to do.” Thomas said. “I think just let him go, it’s not worth your safety, call the police and let them handle it.”
Again, the State Attorney’s office and Lakeland police say they expect an announcement on Friday. Dunn’s attorney, Rusty Franklin said he will make a statement Friday as well.
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