LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland police are trying to determine what led to a city commissioner shooting and killing a man Wednesday at a military surplus store.
- Man shot, killed at military surplus store
- Police, state attorney's office to determine if any charges to be filed
- Previous story: Lakeland commissioner fatally shoots man
According to authorities, Commissioner Mike Dunn was the gunman that shot a man just after 2:30 p.m. at Vets Army Navy Surplus on N. Florida Avenue, just north of downtown.
Police said 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez was shot after he tried to steal a hatchet out of the store. Authorities are now gathering and reviewing any surveillance video of what happened at the store and going through witness statements.
As of now, Dunn, who is an owner of the shop, is not facing any charges. Dunn was elected to Lakeland city council in January.
Police said Lopez was in the shop with his father Wednesday and as his dad made a purchase, Dunn spotted Lopez grabbing a hatchet and hiding it in his clothes.
Dunn confronted Lopez asking if he planned on paying for the hatchet. That’s when tempers apparently flared between the two. Authorities said the situation escalated and Dunn shot Lopez who then stumbled out of the gun store and died outside.
Lakeland police, the state attorneys office and Polk County medical examiner are all working the case.
It could be days before investigators determine if this shooting was a case of self defense or if Dunn will face any charges.
"(It's) terrible because he’s (Dunn) got good integrity," said Joan Peterson, a friend of Dunns. "He's a Christian man. Married, he's just a great man. He always thinking about others and reaching out to others making sure everyone is safe."