Sunday, December 02, 2012

Michael Dunn Charged With 2nd Degree Murder After Shooting Teenager Jordan Davis Over Loud Music

Florida resident Michael Dunn
I read Lizette Alvarez's article in the New York Times on Saturday about Michael Dunn, a 45-year old software developer from Satellite Beach, Florida charged with 2nd degree murder after shooting 17 year-old Jordan Davis with a handgun on November 23rd; the day after Thanksgiving.

I couldn't help but feel the same chilling sense of bewilderment and anger I (and millions of others around the world) felt back in February of this year when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin after following the unarmed teenager in his van because he seemed "suspicious."

The circumstances in this still-evolving case are just as puzzling and the results no less violent or tragic; another unarmed African-American teenager with no criminal record killed with a handgun by a white Florida man claiming to have felt threatened.

The cause this time? Angry words exchanged over loud music. Dunn's lawyer claims her client was sitting in his car outside a convenience store waiting for his fiancee to come out when he asked four teenagers in a vehicle parked next to him (including the victim Jordan Davis) to turn down their music and it went south from there.

After more words and insults were exchanged, Dunn, who has a concealed weapons permit, took a handgun out of his glove compartment and fired four shots into the back of the vehicle, then as the teens ducked and scrambled out in an attempt to flee for their lives, he fired four more shots at the vehicle; fatally wounding Davis who sitting in the middle in the back seat.

According to the victim's father Ron Davis, the father of the slain teenager, the teens were waiting for one of their friends to come out of the store with gum and soda. While Dunn, who admitted he'd had at least two drinks at a wedding, was waiting for a female companion to come out with some wine.

Dunn is trying to claim the teens had a shotgun causing him to fear for his life, directly contradicting reports he gave to police detectives after he was arrested. Dunn fled the scene after the shooting and was arrested 173 miles away; when questioned he never mentioned the teens had a shotgun.

While it's still too early to make conclusions based on the known facts, the slain teenager's father insists that his son ( a student at Wolfson High School in Jacksonville) and his three 17 year-old friends were on their way back from the mall, none of them have ever been in trouble and there were no drugs or a shotgun in the car as Dunn later claimed; the father claims he would never allow any guns in his house. 

Meanwhile it's looking like Robin Lemonidis, Dunn's defense attorney is going to try and dredge up the controversial Florida 'Stand Your Ground' law to justify her client's violent reaction to loud music, arguing, like George Zimmerman, Dunn felt threatened. Regardless of what happens Jordan Davis, an aspiring Marine, was buried last week and police have yet to locate the mysterious shotgun Dunn now claims was pointed at him from the car.

It's clear that at some point in the very near future Federal courts in the state of Florida are going to have to take an honest look at a basic question; is this what the Stand Your Ground law is going to be used for? Shoot first and claim that you were 'threatened' later? If Dunn felt threatened or was indeed 'Standing His Ground' as he claims, why didn't he just call the police? And why, as witnesses at the scene claim, did he flee the scene?

Oh and speaking of feeling threatened, we're still waiting for Trayvon Martin's killer George Zimmerman to stand trial, who (according to NPR) is now selling his autograph on his Website to raise money for his "living expenses and legal costs."

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