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Lakeland commissioner Michael Dunn resigns seat after murder charge

There soon will be a vacancy on the Lakeland city commission after Michael Dunn resigned his seat after being charged with second-degree murder.
Credit: Polk County Jail
Michael Dunn

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn resigned his seat after being charged with second-degree murder in a shooting death at his military supply store.

Lakeland city spokesman Kevin Cook confirms Dunn wrote a letter regarding his resignation over the weekend, and it was hand delivered Monday afternoon. His resignation would be effective upon receipt.

Earlier: Judge denies bond for Lakeland commissioner accused in deadly store shooting

In the letter dated Oct. 20, Dunn wrote the following:

Dear Fellow Commissioners and Mayor Mutz,

It is with a heavy heart that I submit this letter to you. Wherein I am tendering my resignation as Commissioner of the SW District of Lakeland effective October 20, 2018. Being born and raised in Lakeland, this city means a great deal to me and always will. Thank you to the residents of Lakeland for having given me the opportunity to serve.

An investigation spanning more than two weeks ended in a second-degree murder charge against Dunn.

Surveillance video recorded at his business, Vets Army Navy Surplus Store, located at 819 N. Florida Ave, showed Dunn shooting and killing Christobal Lopez at the store's entrance. Police say Lopez tried to steal a hatchet on Oct. 3 from the store.

The investigating officer said Lopez never made any threats and was holding the blade of the hatchet in his palm. Police say Dunn admitted to shooting the man twice because he was stealing.

Dunn is not protected under Florida's "stand your ground" law, State Attorney Brian Haas said.

The former commissioner was held without bend over the weekend, and he was in court for a second time Monday for attorney Rusty Franklin to be present for a bond hearing. Franklin reportedly had a dead car battery on Saturday for his first appearance.

Lakeland city's website, for now, lists Dunn as one of six commissioners, with a term running until 2021. It says he last served as chairman of the Lakeland Code Enforcement Board.

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