VIDEO: Florida City Official Shoots, Kills Alleged Shoplifter

From CBS News:

Authorities in Lakeland, Florida, released surveillance footage Monday showing a city commissioner fatally shooting an alleged shoplifter earlier this month outside a military supply store he co-owns. Michael Dunn, who took office in January, fired a gun after seeing a customer taking a hatchet and trying to leave without paying, the Lakeland Police Department said.

The seven-minute video from inside the Vet Army Navy Surplus store Oct. 3 shows Christobal Lopez, 50, attempting to exit the store with an object in his right hand as Dunn confronts him with a gun. Dunn grabs him by the shirt before apparently firing the weapon and striking Lopez, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.

CBS naturally attempts to make this incident about Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which, from the video evidence, doesn’t appear to apply at all.

The fatal shooting comes amid scrutiny over the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law, which says a person can use deadly force “if the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force.” In August, a man was charged with manslaughter after he shot and killed a father of three who shoved him in a parking lot.

The Lakeland Police Department has issued the following statement:

“We have received multiple requests for comments, reports, surveillance videos and evidence regarding the shooting at the Vets Army Navy Surplus store. Please understand this is an ongoing criminal investigation. We are working with the State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiners Office, two wonderfully reputable agencies, to ensure this investigation is done in the most transparent, professional way possible. Until the investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

At this time, in the interest of transparency, although the criminal investigation continues to be active, we at the Lakeland Police Department have requested and received the approval of the State Attorney’s Office to release all the videos which show the shooting that occurred on October 3rd. Raw files of the videos have been submitted to the State Attorney’s Office and media. The clips shown here have been shortened for the sake of time, showing only when activity is occurring.

Though citizens may have strong feelings about what is depicted, we ask you to remain patient as our department continues to work with the State Attorney’s Office to investigate.

comments

  1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    This one maybe troublesome.

    1. avatar Bearpaw says:

      As an axe/hatchet afficinado, I cannot imagine any hatchet in an Army/Navy store worth buying let alone stealing.

      The perp was likely doing the store owner a favor taking junk steel off his hands. To bad the clerk didn’t see it that way.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Not the clerk, the owner.

        1. avatar Bearpaw says:

          I know Mark, but I didn’t want repeat words. The problem with elegant alteration such as I write requires that I continuously refresh my vocabulary in order to maintain the attention of the more refinely educated. Facts take a backseat unless you have a Ferrari.

          Those just clunking along don’t care.

        2. avatar glocker says:

          Shooter is an idiot. Actually pulls on perps shirt before plugging him.

          This is pure 100% FDA inspected fodder for anti-gun rhetoric. Stupid gun owners are going to cost us our gun rights.

        3. avatar Cars kill more says:

          I don’t agree Glocker. People who are for gun control say that many outright 100% good shootings are ‘bad shootings.”

          Also, my brother-in-law has a store in NJ and has a firearm on him when there, nothing has ever even been proposed post Heller that would stop that. It isn’t concealed carry law. Even DC when it 100% prohibited concealed carry allowed you to carry in your business property or home.

          The fact is the thief was in possession of a deadly weapon while in commission of a theft, which is an armed felony.

          If the felon had gone out and hatcheted someone in the parking lot people would be wondering the the store owner did nothing as a deadly weapon was stolen

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Looked to me like he had to pull on the shirt to avoid shooting the guy in the back. I don’t think I want to get into this one. Could go either way. But I agree, “stand your ground” it ain’t.

      2. avatar Huntmaster says:

        A shoplifter trying to walk off with a hatchet presents a different set of concerns than a guy walking off with a pair of gloves, a package of gum or a couple of cans of baby formula. Was the guy acting in a bizarre manner, other than shoplifting a hatchet? What’s he going to do with it? The act of stealing it already demonstrates criminal intent. What’s next? I didn’t like what I saw but the hatchet presents a troubling twist. What if it was a machete or a gun?

      3. avatar Huntmaster says:

        A shoplifter trying to walk off with a hatchet presents a different set of concerns than a guy walking off with a pair of gloves, a package of gum or a couple of cans of baby formula. Was the guy acting in a bizarre manner, other than shoplifting a hatchet? What’s he going to do with it? The act of stealing it already demonstrates criminal intent. What’s next? I didn’t like what I saw but the hatchet presents a troubling twist. What if it was a machete or a gun?

      4. avatar Jhon says:

        Hahaha of course you are an axe/hatchet afficianodo. I’ll bet you even have mom buy your cheetos for the basement apartment she lets you live in for free.

        1. avatar CC says:

          “jhon” I am still waiting your answer to my question when you wrote “gun murder is way up the past 25 years.” I gave you the citation showing it is way down.

          and stop crying about hillary losing 🙂

        2. avatar OH NO says:

          Beats you living in a dorm for 8 years, blowing the security guards.
          (Next time you bring up someone’s mom, they should beat the ever loving crap out of you commie POS).

    2. avatar james e michael says:

      I don’t see this having a positive outcome for him or us . Looks like (in slowmo) the shoplifter was holding his purloined hatchet by it’s hear and got a side to side round while retreating .
      Gonna be a long stretch to justify lethal force .
      And this is the first time I have questioned the use of lethal force here or on any other forum .

    3. avatar paul howell says:

      He forgot rule #1. Always put one in the Brain !

  2. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

    While I don’t exactly feel sorry for the guy who got shot (play stupid games win stupid prizes after all), it certainly looks like he was doing everything in his power to leave without presenting a “threat” to the owner. It’s hard to say if it’s right to take a man’s life over less than $50 in goods.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      The value of the property should not be a factor for someone to exercise their right to protect it.

      You may value a criminal’s life at more than $50, but criminals will kill you for less.

      I don’t want people to die. However, I know that only the possibility of death can persuade criminals to not victimize innocent people. Once you take that off the table, criminals now have ultimate power over you…

      1. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

        You’re right, criminals have killed for less. But that wasn’t this guy or this situation. Guess it’s ok to shoot a kid taking a .25 cent piece of candy too since the shooter would be exercising “their right to protect it.”

        Jesus Christ… someone can be in the wrong without deserving death as punishment.

        1. avatar CC says:

          Threatening someone, as this criminal did by grabbing a deadly weapon in the course of a legitimate arrest, and store owner are able to physically arrest you for stealing in Florida, does not make the crime about a candy bar or $30 item. The shooting is about someone grabbing a lethal weapon, the hatchet and whether or not the hatchet in the hands of the criminal consisted of a threat.

          And what kid has been killed for shoplifting a candy bar? Answer: none. if you strike someone, assault them in order to steal, as the one ‘candy bar case” and then try and grab the gun of the cop arresting you, it is not about the candy bar. you committed two violent felonies.

          We had a case were a guy was working on his car, and anther guy came along and stole his a few tools including a screwdriver, when he chased the guy down, the thief stabbed him with the screwdriver, and was promptly shot, three times, by the victim. The thief lived but that was not a shooting “only because of a stolen screwdriver,” but because of an assault with a weapon.

        2. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

          You must be a cop. The guy was already falling over when the owner shot him. He was NOT presenting an imminent threat of death or severe harm.

          Besides if he felt so “threatened” by a guy with a hatchet why try and grab him at all?? I’m not making any attempt to grab an individual with a bladed weapon when I can use my CC to stop the threat. This guy was trying to be Billy Badass and arrest the shoplifter. When it looked like the perp was going to get away he murdered him. Period.

          Hope I never run into you in a hardware store. I may be purchasing a hatchet giving YOU all the authority you need to ventilate me. Maybe move to Saudi Arabia where they treat thieves a little harsher. Seems right up your alley.

        3. avatar CZJay says:

          You are asking we put a monetary value to the right to protect life, liberty and property. What arbitrary value is that?

          In principle, if a criminal is stealing property from someone, the victim should maintain their right to protect it. The decision should be theirs, not the government’s or the judgmental non victim’s.

          I think most Americans are not going to shoot a child for stealing a few cents of candy. 1) you don’t have to teach a child a lesson by shooting them, yelling and a spanking will do. 2) it costs more to shoot someone than a pack of gum. Logically and practically, it does not make sense to shoot a child for stealing a few cents from you. Not punishing the child will teach them that they can get away with crimes. These days if an owner was to spank the child for stealing he would likely get in trouble with the law and the community. Even if he was able to shoot thieves lawfully, the community can socially punish him by not doing business there anymore, which can lead to him going bankrupt, so he is highly unlikely to exercise that power.

        4. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

          So it’s ok to shoot an adult that steals candy? Regardless, it really has nothing to do with the value. In FL you CAN NOT use deadly force to stop the theft of property. This man was trying to flee and did not deserve death even if he was a shitty person. If I were on the jury I would vote for manslaughter at a minimum and I am usually very generous with what can be defined as a deadly threat.

        5. avatar CC says:

          “So it’s ok to shoot an adult that steals candy? ”

          If they are robbing you of that candy with a hatchet? yes,

      2. avatar Paul says:

        Value shouldn’t matter, I agree with that. What matters is whether or not the guy presented an imminent threat of death or severe bodily injury; this does not appear to be the case. Also, when a “threat” is attempting to leave, you should let them go assuming doing so does not put you in peril. For these reasons this guy should not have employed lethal force.

        1. avatar CC says:

          He is not merely attempting to leave, he is resisting a lawful detention by the store owner, who is allowed to use force to detain him. the thief turned into a deadly threat when he put his hand on that hatchet was carrying.

          His putting his hand on the hatchet also converted his theft into an armed robbery

  3. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    From the looks of it, not a shot that I would have taken.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Could have taken him down hard. It would had been nice to have a taser in that situation.

      I don’t feel bad about it.

      It sucks that guy was dumb enough to continue trying to steal the weapon when he was being held at gunpoint. He could have simply dropped the item and ran.

  4. avatar Dev D says:

    I’m the first to say when a shoot is good and when it’s bad. This is a bad shoot. No doubt the guy is a scumbag but he wasn’t posing a threat.

    I first assumed maybe the hatchet was in his other hand and the owner thought he was gonna swing when he grabbed him but it seems to be a plastic package around whatever he was holding and the dead guy was just trying to pull away.

    I dunno, it sucks all around really but the shooter should have showed a bit more restraint and he wouldn’t be about to lose his livelihood, repuatiation, and possible freedom.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      I’m the first to say when a shoot is good and when it’s bad. This is a bad shoot. No doubt the guy is a scumbag but he wasn’t posing a threat.

      These guys can do almost whatever they want regardless of the circumstances yet people support them and reward them. Once you take that badge off you can’t do the same things anymore. That’s not a just society, just a hypocritical system.

      1. avatar Frank says:

        People support them and reward them? You mean like the cop who shot Michael Brown and realized he had to resign if he wanted to keep his family’s life decent? It’s not the thirties anymore, MOST cops who wrongfully used force get punished for it on a professional level (IA investigation, leave without pay, suspension, revocation with loss of all benefits), and in court.
        How many times have you dealt with cops abusing their authority? Never in my life! For one video showing a cop losing it, i can probably show you 50 showing cops taking risks using other methods than lethal force. They must delete the bad videos I guess because how is that possible? Yes I support cops because the overwhelming majority of them are not crooked nutjobs who want to plant evidence in your pockets or beat you up just for fun. They are between government officials who govern the agency, and the people, so depending where they work and who they deal with whatever they do or don’t do is wrong, and when S hits the fan the street cop takes the door, not the city manager.
        Regarding what happened: cops respond, make the scene safe, request EMS if not already done, interview and gather evidence, write an incident report and if necessary make an arrest or file a capias request for the St Attorney Office. They didn’t tell the guy to pull the trigger, and they aren’t judge and jury.
        I just a see your post as another rant about cops on TTAG. You can very easily avoid having interactions with law enforcement, if you have them and particularly if it is unpleasant ones, YOU are probably doing something wrong. But but but the police…we have so many cops in the streets because we have that many turds in the streets. People own guns in Switzerland, they also have cops there, how often do they have possible cases of wrongful use of deadly force and other serious abuse? Less often than in the US for sure, maybe the people of Switzerland are smarter and obey the laws more.

        1. avatar CZJay says:

          Only recently some cops got punished in the court of law like the average citizen. You have to go back decades in some places to see the last time that happened. It has to be so bad, and on camera, for them to be charged with a crime. The DA usually refuses to charge cops for a crime, it has to be the people that do it.

          I have had bad experiences with cops, same for my friends.

          No, I wasn’t committing a crime. No, I have never used drugs. Never drank, never smoked. They simply didn’t like me and prejudged me based off their personal feeling. They saw me eating and didn’t like what they saw. So instead of staying to eat, while they gave me bad looks, I left. They stopped eating and followed me to a friend’s house, where they illegally came onto the property with guns drawn and threatening to kill me. Then they started searching my person for weapons or drugs. They told my friend to shut up or else because my friend said they are violating me and have no right. They interrogated me while I sat there with my hands visible and no shoes on. They obviously wrote everything down for their little task force book, although I was simply an innocent teenager trying to get some chili fries in peace.

          In that same county cops would shoot kids who run. They still do it today, just not as often because cameras and politics. That created a phobia in kids to even be around cops, so kids would run every time it looked like the cops were going to stop them. They figured it was safer fleeing than interacting. We used to find getaway paths — that cops couldn’t follow — where we would jump through yards and run across walls to make it to another block where we can hide out in a buddies’ house or keep going before the helicopter can get there.

        2. avatar CC says:

          your video selection is strange, that first one the guy the cops shot was carrying two pistols and just threatened to kill a neighbor.

          How is a a violent felon, carrying two guns illegally and a knife, and threatening to kill his neighbors right at that moment ‘not a threat” and “unarmed.” Two pistols and knife is ‘unarmed”?

      2. avatar jwm says:

        People support cops in general. Not cops acting as criminals.

        Do you believe adam lanza represents all ar-15 owners? If you want a just society it starts with the individual. Unjust individuals lead to an unjust society. Until you clean up your own house you have no right to complain about your neighbors.

        1. avatar ORCON says:

          I support the law and I think most decent folk support the ideal of what it means to be a police officer; but we’re at a point where there are so many law enforcement personnel that the rate of bad cops by volume makes them unignorable.

          If one out of every given 100 people is a threat to society , what happens when you give them guns, authority, a “tactical” attitude and a system that will cover for them?

          I’m an upstanding citizen with a clean driving record and no criminal history, I’ve been man handled and roughed up by the cops simply for stopping at a park to stretch my legs after a 12 hour drive. Apparently it was a common place for “gangbangers” and “drug deals”.

        2. avatar Cars kill more says:

          I looked at the the first of those three videos. the bad guy shot by the cops was armed right then and there with two firearms (two lack powder pistols), had violent felony priors, was a prohibited person, and had been threatening to kill neighbors before hand and right then and there.

          One of the other videos is a a guy wanted for multiple weapons felonies.

          of course some cops are bad, but in my town we had a guy with two felony wants — while on parole — including manslaughter with an illegal firearm stopped by a cos for a tail light, who then attempted to drive away with the cops arm locked into his window. That was spun as “unarmed man killed for a broken tail light.” In fact he was fleeing from the wants and parole violations that would have put him in jail for 25 years. The local press and BLM types made it like the perp had no motive to put the cops life in danger, when in fact he had a a MASSIVE motive of avoiding 25 years in prison.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          Yep. 2 guns and a knife. But that was a cop ‘murdering’ an innocent person.

          czjay. If this is the half assed kind of proof you got you’re no better than bloomberg or soros.

  5. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    I wonder what transpired to make the victim (not the thief) draw his weapon. The video looks damning but I would love to hear the audio.

    Then there’s the angle where a petty politician feels entitled to be judge, jury and executioner.

    I hate thieves but wouldn’t feel the need to shoot one, unless threatened by said thief.

  6. avatar Wayne says:

    I would not want to be the shop owner.

  7. avatar Michael Buley says:

    Part of the problem is ‘petty crimes’ go unpunished. People can steal cars time and again, and nothing happens to them in some states — like Washington, from what I understand. So someone steals, nothing happens … The shoot doesn’t appear to be justified.

    Who knows what was running through the owner’s head? maybe this has happened to him multiple times, and he reached a breaking point. Too bad all the way around.

  8. avatar Justice For All says:

    Theft isn’t a death penalty crime. The shooter is in the wrong.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Neither is manslaughter or reckless homicide. Nor is rape or kidnapping.

    2. avatar Cars kill more says:

      Theft isn’t a death penalty crime. The shooter is in the wrong.

      Wow what perverted logic. In fact 99% of the crimes you can use deadly force to counter are not death penalty crimes. in fact most people in the US live in states that don’t practice the death penalty even for murder.

    3. avatar Scoutino says:

      Self defense has nothing to do with penalty for crime. Attacker does not get shot as punisment for his attack. He gets shot to stop that attack. If he dies as a result, that’s too bad, but it is never the intended result. All that ‘judge, jury and executioner’ noise is total BS.

    4. avatar Kenneth says:

      Oh, leave the poor little snowflake(‘justice’ for all) alone. He can’t even tell the difference between a self defense shooting and a State-sponsored execution. Obviously the poor guy hasn’t got even two brain cells left to rub together.
      What do you hope to show or teach to such a one? Better start with 1 + 1, and be prepared to go up in difficulty level after a few months of intensive training.
      If you can handle that, more power to ya. Me, I don’t have enough years left on this planet to tackle such world class idiocy.

  9. avatar Hannibal says:

    Many states have laws that allow shopkeepers to use reasonable force to stop someone from shoplifting. Normally, reasonable force would be grabbing someone or something. But here the suspect was, in fact, armed.

    If you’re gonna steal something and don’t want to be shot, maybe don’t steal a weapon which, by virtue of you stealing it, makes you a threat.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      If the criminal had tossed the weapon and continued to attempt to flee, then I would say the shooting was immoral.

      In this case the criminal stole a weapon, refused to disarm and continued resisting. If you apply cop logic, that was 100% justified.

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        Also, the criminal was shot right after he turned toward the armed citizen with his hand moving toward the gun. Cops shoot unarmed people when they attempt to reach for their gun. So, just on that alone, cops would label this “justified use of force.”

      2. avatar rosignol says:

        Yeah, if a cop shot a guy holding a hatchet, he’d probably be free and clear.

        Insofar as I want everyone to be held to the same standard on this kind of thing, the shoplifter screwed up badly by stealing a weapon.

    2. avatar Tiny Lizard says:

      That’s a dangerous way of thinking. Follow the details in the video.

      The shoplifter’s hand carrying the hatchet was firmly on the door when the shots were fired. The shoplifter’s body language in no way suggests the shoplifter was being aggressive. At best, one might argue he was attempting to strike the owner with his left arm in an effort to break his grip and flee, but it could just as easily be argued that it was a fear response once the shoplifter recognized that he was at gunpoint, as many people are inclined to put their hands up in surrender when faced with the possibility of being fatally shot. If indeed he was attempting to surrender, it would then appear the shop owner took this as an aggressive gesture and fired. In such a scenario, there was no possible way the shoplifter had enough time to express a desire to give up and return the goods before the trigger was pulled.

      One of the best things we can do as gun owners is call out bad behavior in our own when we see it, and that certainly seems to be the case here. Those shots didn’t look like they were fired out of fear. It looked more like an individual who had a gun and saw his chance to use it.

      1. avatar james e michael says:

        I agree . It was an execution .

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        “The shoplifter’s hand carrying the hatchet was firmly on the door when the shots were fired…”

        If you wait until someone is going to bury a blade in your skull, chances are you will not have time to stop them. Action beats reaction. If someone decides to strike or shoot you, you will have to see the action before it hits, interpret it, decide to react, and then react. You will NEVER be able to do this faster than the first mover is able to complete his action. That is why things like the Tueller Drill exist. Someone can go from “fighting to get away” to “fighting” too fast for you to react, and now you’ve got a hatchet in your head. Bringing a weapon into the fray means the whole encounter is different than, say, that case where the guy got shoved down at the convenience store and shot the guy who was backing up at the time.

        Like I said, he should have stolen something that isn’t a weapon if he wanted to avail himself to being able to commit his crime without someone using a weapon against him.

      3. avatar Cars kill more says:

        The shoplifter’s hand

        That is not a shoplifting under the law but an armed robbery

      4. avatar Huntmaster says:

        He was committing felony armed robbery. He had a deadly weapon. A weapon he was stealing from that military surplus store. Nobody forced him over that line. If he had a pair of socks or a package of gum it would be a completely different issue. What if it was a machete or if the store sold firearms and the thief was trying to walk with a gun? The optics might not look that nice but he was shot while in the act of stealing a deadly weapon.

  10. avatar Better call Saul says:

    The guy is in deep trouble. The use of deadly force to defend property is not legal in FL. The only hope is if you convince people the guy was nuts and he was about to hurt people with the axe he stole.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      A jury can decide what is or isn’t illegal.

      1. avatar Mike in OK says:

        Ummm, no. A jury gets to decide who’s guilty or not guilty. The legislature decides what’s legal or illegal.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          Read up on jury nullification.

        2. avatar CZJay says:

          The jury can choose to ignore the law and decide what they think is wrong. You can argue semantics, but jury nullification is still real.

          Don’t forget the people can vote on what’s legal too. Also, judges can decide what is actually a proper law and how it can be enforced.

    2. avatar doesky2 says:

      The thief set the process in motion.
      I would not penalize the owner for making the wrong choice in a moment of crisis when he didn’t start it.
      He walks if I was on the jury.

      The dead guy “chose poorly”

    3. avatar Cars kill more says:

      The use of deadly force to defend property is not legal in FL.

      A typical strawman argument. If an armed person breaks into your home to steal your stuff, your deadly force response is not at that point solely about “property.”

      In the case in this story, there is a continuum of events.
      – There is the attempt to steal and conceal a deadly weapon.
      – At that point this is arguably a crime committed in possession of a deadly weapon.
      – There is a 100% legal attempt by the store owner, all while on his property, to affect arrest of the armed thief.
      – The thief does not comply, and in the scuffle he has access to the deadly weapon he stole.

      Those saying this is 100% not a good shooting are simply ignoring that the only thing in question is the last point — and we don’t know all the facts yet and this is why we have a justice system.

      In that 100% legal actions by the store owner right up to the point of the shooting, would it have been a good shooting if the robber had fully drawn out the hatchet? Is the store owner supposed to await being struck by the hatchet.

      It is a close quarter fith where we cannot deny the robber had a hatchet, a deadly weapon, accessible. would your opnion change if he had stolen a bowie knife, a gun?

  11. avatar Gillum the turd says:

    Don’t get your pride or feelings decide if you are going to pull the trigger or not. I can understand a business owner witnessing a parasite stealing is an upsetting thing, but it does not justify use of deadly force. That’s why you have insurance and use precautions and equipment that may dissuade thieves.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Thieves steal because they know you won’t defend your property because you are forced into paying a corporation for insurance and they know most employees are forbidden to resist. They can literally walk in, grab something and walk out.

      Immoral people know once there is an opportunity to loot might as well take it and stream on Facebook as you do it. “Got mine. Did you get yours!?”

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        That’s the society anti liberty people have created. You can’t defend property and liberty anymore. In some places they make it hard to defend your life.

        And people wonder why this country is getting worse. Go ahead blame solely the other 50% of the country, see where that gets you.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          I will say it. I totally support shooting shoplifters.

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Apparently, robbing cell phone stores is a thing. A couple stores near me have been hit, and one ended in tragedy when the fleeing perp t-boned a car and killed a young woman.

          You would think it’s stupid because the phones are useless without being activated, but apparently the thugs can sell them to unsuspecting buyers who don’t understand that part.

    2. avatar Don't attack someone with a hatchet says:

      Fairly sure you never worked in or owned a small retail business

      “That’s why you have insurance and use precautions and equipment that may dissuade thieves.”

      No small store has or can effectively using insurance to remedy shoplifting. Your insurance is for the place burning down, flooding destroying all your inventory, maybe for someone robbing you of a days worth of cash receipts back in the day when cash was used, and for someone claiming they slipped and fell in your store. The deductibles etc make it impossible to use for shoplifting unless you are a jewelry store.

      In Florida where my family had a small store, the store owner/s can physically stop and detain a shoplifter. Whether other employees can and how much loss protection training on how and when to arrest someone they need to have had, varies. But store owners can arrest you with probable cause — including grabbing you, holding you, handcuffing you, and are not required to be certified.

      if the owner was watching the video feed at the display on the counter, that is probably cause, the arrest right up until the shooting is certainly legal. if the subject resisted the store owner could tackle him, he could also handcuff him. It is clear the store owner does know some of the law since you see him start to affect the arrest right as the subject crossed the doorway threshold which is where it is supposed to occur.

      Right at that point you can simply imagine it is a cop arresting a man armed with a hatchet. The store owner has the same rights and responsibilities as a cop attempting arrest on a robber armed with a deadly weapon at that point. He is making a citizens arrest specifically and explicitly allowed store owners in Florida code.

      During the arrest, the robber takes out the hatchet and it looks to me like he is readying it to swing and does swing it, the hatchet trips out of his right hand after he is shot, making this quite likely a legal shooting.

  12. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Why is it ok for the police to shoot and kill a car thief? As was just done in Florida. But not a shop lifter who steals a weapon?

    Is stealing government weapons in a government car a death penalty offence? But if you steal weapons from a civilian business its no big deal?

    Are some animals more equal than others?

    BTW
    Some where on You Tube there is video of a pawn shop/gun store owner shooting at burglars with an AR 15, who rammed a van into his store at 5 am. He was never prosecuted.

    1. avatar Michael Buley says:

      I think a sign, ‘Looters and thieves will be shot’ — and then they’re shot — would cut down on theft. I don’t have a lot of compassion, if any, for people who steal. A hatchet? Not a life necessity, I would guess. I mean, if it’s a little kid, an old lady, in a grocery store stealing milk, hold fire. This guy? just don’t break the f-ing law. And the thing is, the criminals have more rights than the people you steal from. What CAN you do to stop someone from taking your property? Get into a fistfight? Hit him with a baseball bat? Tackle him, and THEN it turns deadly? Someone steals your car. It’s your lifeline to work, to paying bills, to living your life. Can you shoot THEN? Or do you just have to let the thief drive off? When people can’t do anything to protect their property, it sets up very bad situations like this. ‘Just call the cops’ — well, yeah, your stuff is gone, the perp is never caught or prosecuted.

  13. avatar Gunwrites says:

    An “alleged” shoplifter but not an “alleged” shooter. We can see through this and clearly see your agenda.

  14. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    This Incident will be worth following and the outcome may depend more on the attitude of the DA than how the law is written. Despite the video, we only have a limited knowledge of the event. If nothing else, it is worth knowing the local laws and to have thought thru various scenarios and personal limits on the use of deadly force.

  15. avatar former water walker says:

    Overreacting? Mebbe so…but then I think Officer Van Dyke in Chiraq getting 2nd degree murder of a criminal yout was ludicrous. It’s a freakin’ hatchet-not a priceless heirloom.

  16. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Its the very wealthy or very isolated, they live and work in a safe neighborhood, who say you can’t protect your property. The Libertarians Liberals and the Left for example.

    But then why is it ok to shoot looters after a “little wind and rain”?

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      BTW
      Is it ok for a bank guard to shoot an UNARMED man who just jumps the counter. Grabs the money. And then runs out of the bank with the money he just stole?

  17. avatar Hoodlum says:

    While I hate a thief. The video is going to cause the owner some problems. Looks like the perp was just trying to get out the door. There wasn’t any threat at all.

    1. avatar Cars kill more says:

      The store owner has every much as much right to detain a thief on that property as the cops do.

    2. avatar Scoutino says:

      Yeah, no threat at all. Except for the hatchet in his hand. If you want to wait for the moment it swings at your head to call it a threat, it might be too late to do anything about it.

  18. avatar Cars kill more says:

    I think some people are conflating their firearms training about 1) the inadvisability of using one to stop a theft (which is not the case here) and 2) about not using a firearm in a some kind of fight that arises out of an everyday argument.

    This one is a mess it is right in a gray area. but it is not a store owner shooting someone over a “$20 hatchet.” it is a store owner who is in his 100% legal right to physically detain a person who is in the middle of of stealing from him, who then meets resistance to the legal detention, AND display of a deadly weapon in the form of the hatchet while being in distance and contact where the hatchet can be used to kill him in half a second.

    Ask yourself this: if the thief had had a gun instead, and not used the gun to rob the place, but the store owner saw one in his belt, and the thief him reaching for it, while the store owner legally attempted to affect detention, would you think differently about this? And don’t say a hatchet is not a deadly weapon, it is.

    1. avatar G says:

      I’m a Fl CWP holder. I’ve read Gutmacher’s books. Store owner is screwed. Florida law on this matter is about a reasonable person being fearful of his life. The store owner knew the hatchet was in thief’s hand and he approached him anyway. Owner is not afraid of the hatchet because he has a gun. The thief broke away and wanted to leave, owner applied deadly force. Owner overestimated his own limitations, temperament and stress management skills and killed a petty thief.

      Regarding police, they wouldn’t get within 7 yards of a criminal with a cutting blade. It’s either put down the hatchet or get shot/tased.

      Banking rules are different. Cash in banks are federal funds not state and protected under federal law.

  19. avatar John says:

    That was an execution. There is nothing to discuss here. The law allows you to protect yourself from violence. It also provides the right to trial by jury, not to be judge, jury and executioner because someone stole something and presented zero threat. That’s called anarchy not rule of law.

    1. avatar CC says:

      My guess is you would think all self defense are “executions.”

      An execution would be if he walked over and popped an unarmed shoplifter the head while in the store. Instead this is a struggle where the store owner had a right to physically restrain the criminal and then saw the criminal was armed and could well reasonably believe he could have been harmed?.

      Are you denying the criminal was armed with a hatchet?
      Are you denying a hatchet is a lethal weapon?
      Are you denying Florida law allows a store owner or employee to restrain and citizens arrest someone who has just stolen from them?

      What this is is neither a clear legitimate self defense, nor a clear illegal use of deadly force, but a case where more facts are needed before conclusions either way are drawn

      1. avatar john says:

        Typical response from some of the people here who think every time a crime is committed it warrants shooting the supposed guilty party. I really just have to shake my head at some of the crazy here sometimes.

        1. avatar CC says:

          John, You simply do not know the law that is why you are shaking your head, you are shaking out of your own ignorance.

          This was, under every state’s laws, an armed robbery with the armed robber grabbing the hatchet when a legal arrest was attempted by store owner he was robbing.

          The theft did not warrant the shooting and if you had any reading comprehension you would realize no one said so. It was criminal grabbing the hatchet in his hand during the lawful arrests that created a lawful use of deadly force by the store owner as a response.

        2. avatar John says:

          My friend CC. Look whose been charged with second degree murder. I’ll take the win here thank you very much 🙂

    2. avatar Huntmaster says:

      Absolutely not!!! Anarchy is what you get when you have a society where shop owners are no longer allowed to defend their property from those who would casually walk in and take it.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Huntmaster for the win! He’s got it figured out.
        We live under lawless anarchy RIGHT NOW, so anything is a change for the better. Yes, even Trump and the circus of clowns he drags around with him. And the three ring/24/7 circus that opposes him because he’s a murderer, rapist, crooked, russian spy, whatever else occurs to their pill crazed (semi) minds to blurt out. Does anybody remember Kavanaugh hosting rape parties? decades ago, so no evidence OFC. But accusations are enough.
        After all, NOBODY (or perhaps everybody…) has ever thought of lying for their own personal gain). But the bulk of the masses are too dumbed down to even read, let alone think, so they remain blissfully unaware of the world, much like the actual mentally retarded.

  20. avatar Josh FL says:

    I am a cop in Florida, and not in redneck FL where cost of living is low. I make $21/hour with a crappy health insurance and pension. I deal with azzholes, crazies, people with ZERO common sense and respect…every week! I am rarely risking my life and I am absolutely not a hero as some pro law enforcement folks believe.
    If I say “shit” out loud and someone complains I’ll get in trouble, and I read a bunch of idiots trying to convince people that we can shoot people randomly, and we will not only not get in trouble but also get a reward for it. You have no clue, but you have 3 videos from YouTube or your buddy told you…so MOST (if not all) cops are crooks, killers, gun grabbers…
    Feel free not to call 911 for your b.s and learn how not to be the idiot getting all the attention, because trust me, we can survive a shift not seeing your face. Oh I know I can quit if I don’t like it, and I am considering it. The truth is your big mouth full of wisdom and knowledge is not going to get the job done either, another Nazi with a badge will have to take over.

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Since you think that police are NOT rewarded for failure to do their jobs, I’m guessing you are NOT in Broward County, and did not watch them give Scot Peterson a reward of $8702.35 a month for life.
      Perhaps you just don’t live in a crooked enough County. Apply in Broward. They have a few positions open just now… but with Sheriff Israel now under severe pressure they might not be quite so outright in-your-face corrupt now.

    2. avatar Kenneth says:

      Or, since you mentioned killing people randomly, you might want to try Chicago. Random police shootings are old hat there:
      https://thefreethoughtproject.com/chicago-officers-shoots-autistic-teen/
      They even have secret precincts to hold people without charges or evidence:
      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/homan-square-chicago-police-disappeared-thousands
      Since they did this to thousands of people over years, I think you’ll have a tough row to hoe to persuade people that the police don’t do these kinds of things on a massive scale. At best, you might convince a few that YOUR PARTICULAR DEPT, doesn’t have a Homan Square or a Sheriff Israel, even though a lot of others do.

    3. avatar CZJay says:

      Just quit. You will be a better human for it. You won’t end up abusing your kids, getting a divorce, killing your cheating wife or become so messed up you kill yourself. It’s not like the department promotes good people into leadership positions, they generally keep you at the lower paid positions while you do most of the work and get most of the abuse. Unless you can get into leadership, I don’t see the point when you don’t want to be there and you want to come home alive to your family.

      Go open up a business to help contribute to the community positively and raise a good family. Be like Mike the Cop and Donut Operator: try to move on from the police department into something better.

      By the way, those three videos show cops getting away with screwed up shootings. One was a man who didn’t have the time to put down his guns that he was using to protect himself against a dog that was attacking people. The second was an autistic teen who ran away from his care taker, was found by an off duty cop, then shot when he approached the cop who was looking for him. The third video shows cops shoot about 50 rounds into an SUV they thought was trying to shoot them because they couldn’t see the driver’s hands when the driver was trying to drive away and he wasn’t even the person they were looking for in the first place.

      I could link a lot more videos if you want, but the limit is about three before it becomes moderated. I know you’re biased enough to lash out, so it probably wont mean shit to you anyway.

      See you can decide not to be a cop, people don’t get to decide not to deal with them. Then cops complain that people don’t want to talk to them to help them solve crimes. They don’t want to deal with you anymore, they figure they are better off dealing with criminals their own ways. Who’s fault is that?

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Perhaps it’s the fault of the police who act exactly like the criminals do? Just perhaps, like as a hypothesis that we can then test for accuracy? Or lack thereof, the way the best and brightest “computer models” always seem to end up??

  21. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Enough with the legal gymnastics. Dude is not a threat just because he has a hatchet in his hand. If I walk out of a sporting goods store after forgetting to pay for a nine iron, it doesn’t give you the right to shoot me.

    Shooter will need to convince the cops and the prosecutor that he reasonably believed to be facing an eminent, credible threat of death or grave bodily harm. If he can’t convince them then he might need to convince a jury. That’s a pretty tall order, based on the video evidence we have.

    1. avatar Huntmaster says:

      What a crock of BS. The guy didn’t walk off with something because he forgot to pay for it. He was shoplifting. Period. You’re trying to set up a really, really, lame straw man argument. It’s worse than lame, it’s just plain dishonesty. You know there was no question in this case that the guy was a thief. And he was stealing an item that was, in every state in the land, a deadly weapon and he had it in his hand when he was shot. And he was also in a position to plant it in the shopkeeper’s head. You can express your opinions but don’t try that crap on this website.

      1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

        ” You can express your opinions but don’t try that crap on this website.”

        Thanks. That honestly gave me a good belly laugh.

        Suppose I’m open carrying and forget to pay for that nine iron. Now I’m an armed shoplifter. Can you lawfully shoot me? No. No, you cannot.

        Did the shooter reasonably believe to be facing an eminent, credible threat or not? That will be for a jury to decide. Sometimes an unarmed man is a threat. Sometimes an armed man is not. Did the shoplifter make any verbal threats? Did he brandish the hatchet in a threatening manner? Did he take a swing at the store owner with the hatchet? Those are the relevant questions. They all may have happened but weren’t caught on video.

        All we have to go on is a shoplifter trying to resist being detained and getting shot. I don’t have any sympathy for the deceased thief but I also think the shooter is in deep do-do.

        1. avatar G says:

          I’m with you on this case. I don’t know where the other contributors are or what states they’ve lived in but that store owner was not physically threatened. It’s not more threatening to steal a hatchet than it’s to walk up to the counter with one. The fact that the owner walked towards the thief and shot him while attempting to escape going to be his demise.

        2. avatar CC says:

          G, you are wrong, in every state this is going to be valid self defense.

          and look at curtis’ nutty statement:
          ‘Suppose I’m open carrying and forget to pay for that nine iron. Now I’m an armed shoplifter. Can you lawfully shoot me? No. No, you cannot.”

          That is not analogous to what happened at all. If the store owner detains you for walking out with that 9-iron that is a 100% valid detention in every state. if you then grab a hatchet in your waistband trying to fight him off, you are putting him under threat of serious bodily harm and he can shoot you.

          So don’t leave out half the facts.

    2. avatar Know the law, don't just make it up says:

      — If I walk out of a sporting goods store after forgetting to pay for a nine iron, it doesn’t give you the right to shoot me.—

      Nice strawman.

      FYI, if you pull a hatchet on the store manager who legally detains you at the door for stealing that nine iron, it does give him/her the right to shoot you in every state in the union.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        If the shopkeeper decides that iron is a threat it might as well be a hatchet. Even a person not well skilled with a club can do a lot of damage with a golf iron. Ask Tiger Woods.

      2. avatar G says:

        Thief didn’t pull the hatchet on owner. Owner knew the hatchet was present and was clearly visible in his right hand. The thief was on one side of door and the owner on the other. The owner is not fearful of his life, the owner has the entire store to retreat into. Not only did store owner not retreat (I know he didn’t have to) but he advanced onto thief before killing him. If you ever have to shoot someone holding a cutting instrument don’t walk towards them before doing so. Another huge issue that hasn’t been talked about is the owner didn’t render first aid to thief. Owner did everything wrong.

        1. avatar CC says:

          The perp who was shot absolutely did grab at the hatchet in his waistband during the perfectly lawful arrest by the shop owner. That s an armed robbery and an imminent threat of serious bodily harm by the robber

  22. avatar I’m right, you’re wrong says:

    Bad shoot. You can’t kill people because they shoplift. Shooter needs to do 10 to 15 years.

    1. avatar Know the law, don't just make it up says:

      So if someone pulls a hatchet on you and happens also have shoplifted, the shoplifting is only what is considered? No.

      The hatchet wielding armed robber is at fault. no jury will find the guy defending himself with a gun guilty.

      1. avatar I’m still right, you’re still wrong says:

        The hatchet was still packaged, the shoplifter didn’t “pull a hatchet on him”. You can’t grab someone’s shirt and then kill them as they are trying to flee with shoplifted camping equipment. I’m right you’re wrong deal with it.

        1. avatar CC says:

          The hatchet the armed robber is bout to use has a cardboard piece on part of its handle, it is still 100% functional as a deadly weapon

      2. avatar LOL MAGA says:

        At which Ivy League law school did you matriculate?

        1. avatar CC says:

          Do you deny any of the points? no you don’t. Stopped crying that an armed robber who attempted to use deadly force got shot. no jury will convict this store owner. By the way the perp has a prior armed robbery.

    2. avatar Huntmaster says:

      Actually “I’m right, You’re Wrong”, you aren’t right, you are dishonest. He didn’t shoot someone because they shoplifted. He shot them because the shoplifted a hatchet. A deadly weapon which they had in their hand while committing the crime. Or maybe you just missed that detail.

  23. avatar LOL GOP says:

    The shooter is just another stupid Republican (is there any other kind?) doing what Republicans do.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      You’re just angry because the Dummycrats lost a voter.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        No, they didn’t. This dead guy will get to vote for the dims for the next 100 years. But it won’t matter.

        The dims are about to get curb stomped and it’s all their fault.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      lol. The Trump Train. Choo-choo, maga muthfukka, maga muthafukka, choo-choo, maga muthafukka.

      Time to get aboard or get run over.

    3. avatar Watentme says:

      Ever wonder why Democrats are represented by an Ass?

    4. avatar CC says:

      85% of violent criminals — just like the guy who got shot — are DEMOCRATS.

      1. avatar Robert says:

        Oh cut the DEMOCRATS B.S.! ……….. NOT ALL DEMOCRATS ARE EXTREMIST LIBERALS any more than all REPUBLICANS are extremist conservatives!

  24. avatar SoBe says:

    Where did they find that definition of Stand Your Ground? And, why would Stand Your Ground even be relevant. This, if it were judged as self defense, falls under Castle Doctrine. He was at work. What bothers me is the lack of imminent threat of great bodily harm or death (as seen from the surveillance video at least) and that the thief appears to be retreating and leaving the shop. Oh, I get it, it is that thief regained Stand Your Ground rights by retreating. Yet, somehow I don’t think this is what the media meant.

    1. avatar SoBe says:

      Oh, I get it! By claiming the contentious principle of Stand Your Ground, defined by the press: shoot the shit out of anything that even minimally startles you, as long as you remember to mention that you could have crapped your pants, and by using a fully semiautomatic short barreled rifled assault weapon pistol, a weapon of war (designed for killing and not tickling), with a high capacity clip holding more than one bullet, aka a Weapon of Mass Destruction (Bush had his, why can’t the left have theirs?).

      1. avatar CC says:

        moron, it is not a stand your ground case.

        The store owner has every right to physically detain the armed criminal. Once the criminal grabbed for the deadly weapon, it falls under self defense law. This shooting would be legal in Massachusetts or California, whihc have no “stand your ground” so stop your nonsense.

        if you smash a jewelry case or steal a candy bar, the store owner has right to physically detain you and to use force to do so. if you reach for a deadly weapon as we see the perp actually put his hand on his deadly weapon during while fighting off that legal detention, they self defense law comes in.

        1. avatar SoBe says:

          First, I never said this is Stand Your Ground, in fact I emphatically said the opposite. Stand Your Ground, by Florida law would actually apply to the thief had he tried to defend himself. BTW, where did you get your law degree? California has always been a Stand Your Ground state, it has no statute because it embedded in case law. Oh, I almost forgot, don’t call me a moron when you can’t even read plain English.

  25. avatar Don't attack someone with a hatchet says:

    (3)(a) A law enforcement officer, a merchant, a farmer, or a transit agency’s employee or agent, who has probable cause to believe that a retail theft, farm theft, a transit fare evasion, or trespass, or unlawful use or attempted use of any antishoplifting or inventory control device countermeasure, has been committed by a person and, in the case of retail or farm theft, that the property can be recovered by taking the offender into custody may, for the purpose of attempting to effect such recovery or for prosecution, take the offender into custody and detain the offender in a reasonable manner for a reasonable length of time. In the case of a farmer, taking into custody shall be effectuated only on property owned or leased by the farmer. In the event the merchant, merchant’s employee, farmer, or a transit agency’s employee or agent takes the person into custody, a law enforcement officer shall be called to the scene immediately after the person has been taken into custody.

    The arrest by the shop-owner is fully legal. So the question is the threat from the resisting arrest.

    I would think the store owner will get charged, since the police and the prosecutors office are not and don’t want to be the finders of fact, that is for a jury and/or judge. My guess is the store owner would be acquitted. He has the legal right to detain even though almost everyone watching the video and condemning him probably doesn’t know the law.

    So you have a struggle where one person is an armed thief, and the other is a person effecting an explicitly legal detention where he is allowed to use force, non lethal force, to affect the arrest of the thief During the legal attempted arrest the thief goes from having a weapon on his person to one holding the lethal weapon in his hand.

    A decent defense attorney will point out the store owner was acting fully within the law, and in fact specifically in full accordance with the law as he grabbed the thief as he exited the doorway, The question will then be if the store owner had a reasonable fear of serious harm as the thief went from concealing a deadly weapon to wielding it.

    The District Attorney would much rather pass this off to a jury since the public, and including from the comments lots here, don’t know the law.

    It reminds me of Zimmerman prosecution. Media whipped up disinformation and focus on irrelevant details. An unsympathetic character in Zimmerman, who may have had bad judgment but was clearly acting legally A case the prosecutors knew they would not win, a charge for political cover, a token half assed prosecution effort, and an acquittal.

    1. avatar SoBe says:

      As you very well pointed out, it was all legal, until he pulled out the firearm (Florida Statues require the same of a threat to use deadly force as they do of the actual use of deadly force) and especially not legal once he actually pulled the trigger. It may be frustrating, but in Florida you cannot shoot someone who does not present an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death, in fact you cannot even threaten to shoot. That is how the courts have interpreted FS776.

  26. avatar Robert says:

    Did you see the same thing I saw? The store owner backs up while the perp pushes past him to get out the door.
    The store owner uses 1 hand to grab the tee shirt of the perp as he’s leaving. … Why? … Because the owner is ALREADY holding his gun in the other hand.
    As the perp pushes out the door, the hand of the perp holding the hatchet/axe is outside [past the door].
    To me, the ONLY question is, “Is the owner justified to shoot in order to stop the theft of his property?” … “IN FEAR OF IS LIFE,” looks to be a total fabrication.
    So, let’s stop blowing smoke and stick with the facts. … Justified or not justified? … I don’t know. [I do, however, have my own opinion.]

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