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Former Florida city commissioner gets 3 years for killing shoplifter

WESH Orlando logo WESH Orlando 5/24/2022
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A former Florida city commissioner was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for fatally shooting a shoplifter at his store.

Michael Dunn, 51, pleaded guilty in Polk County court in March to manslaughter with a firearm, according to court records. He was originally charged with second-degree murder.

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Dunn resigned from his seat on the Lakeland City Commission several weeks after the October 2018 killing of Christobal Lopez. Lakeland is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Orlando.

Lopez had been attempting to shoplift a hatchet at Vets Army & Navy Surplus when Dunn, who was armed with a handgun, confronted Lopez, officials said. Video surveillance showed Lopez try to flee the store. Investigators said Dunn grabbed Lopez and then shot him twice in the torso. Lopez died at the scene.

Defense attorneys argued Dunn was acting in self-defense.

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