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Police on Monday released graphic surveillance video that recorded a Lakeland, Florida, city commissioner fatally shooting a man who he said was trying to steal a hatchet from his military surplus store.
The shooting on Oct. 3 has drawn renewed attention to Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, which was enacted in 2005 with support from gun lobbyists.
No charges have been filed in the shooting of Christobal Lopez, 50, of Wauchula, by Lakeland City Commission member Michael Dunn at Vets Army & Navy Surplus, which Dunn owns. Lopez's obituary described him as an agricultural laborer with three brothers and four sisters. Lakeland is about 35 miles east of Tampa.
The video appears to show Dunn grabbing Lopez as he tries to leave the store and then shooting him with a handgun in his right hand. Lopez appears to be holding a hatchet in his right hand.
The law eliminated the traditional legal doctrine that a person has a duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense and provided immunity from prosecution and civil action for justifiable uses of force.
Florida's law puts the burden of proof on prosecutors to show that a person was not justified in invoking "stand your ground" — not on the shooter to establish that he or she was justified.
Lakeland police said they released the video because of the intense public interest but would have no comment on its contents. An attorney for Dunn, who took office in January, has said that he and his client would make no public statements and that they hadn't decided yet whether to invoke the "stand your ground" statute.
Tenth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Haas said he expects the investigation to be completed by the end of this week, NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa reported.