A Florida man who allegedly shot and killed an African-American teen on Black Friday during a parking lot argument over loud music is citing the state’s so-called “stand your ground” law as his defense.
Michael David Dunn, 45, claims he was threatened with a shotgun and feared for his life during a Friday night confrontation with 17-year-old Jordan Davis over his car stereo’s volume. Jacksonville police, however, said they did not find any weapons at the scene.
Police say Dunn fired at Davis’s car eight or nine times, according to The Orlando Sentinel, striking Davis twice. Several other teens were also in the car at the time. Dunn reportedly fled the scene and returned home, only to be arrested the following day thanks to tips from witnesses.
“He didn’t think he had harmed anybody and he just thought he had scared them off and he wanted to report it, but he didn’t want to go in a sense, throw himself to the wolves, in a strange city without representation,” Dunn attorney Robert Lemonitis told reporters in a prepared statement.
Davis’s mother, Georgia resident Lucia McBath, told First Coast News that she just couldn’t understand why someone would kill her son over loud music. “That’s no reason to kill anybody,” she said. “Something snapped in that man.”
“Stand your ground” laws, on the books in 32 states thanks to lobbying by conservative groups and gun advocates, say that it is legal to use deadly force without the obligation to retreat first if a person feels their life is in danger. The laws were at the epicenter of a national controversy earlier this year after another unarmed Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, was gunned down.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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