FL Man Pleads Self Defense in Shooting Teen Over Loud Music

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
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FL Man Pleads Self Defense in Shooting Teen Over Loud Music

Florida man pleads not guilty to shooting teen to death over loud music - U.S. News

A Florida gun collector has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge alleging that he opened fire on a car full of unarmed teenagers, killing one, in an altercation that police say stemmed from loud music.

Michael David Dunn, 45, acted "as any responsible firearms owner would have," his lawyer said of the Friday evening incident at a gas station outside a convenience store in Jacksonville, Fla.

Dunn and his girlfriend were in Jacksonville for his son's wedding when they pulled up in their car next to the teens. Police allege that while the girlfriend was in the store, Dunn told Jordan Russell Davis, 17, and his three friends to turn down their music.

"It was loud," Jacksonville homicide Lt. Rob Schoonover said of the teens' music. "They admitted that. That's not a reason for someone to open fire."

After an exchange of words, Dunn began shooting with a handgun, Schoonover said.

"Nobody else in that vehicle was struck; it was just our victim [Davis], which was lucky because the vehicle was shot eight or nine times," Schoonover said.

Davis was in the back seat and was struck twice, reported The Orlando Sentinel.

Dunn and his girlfriend drove off and spent the night at their hotel, according to Schoonover, but witnesses took down his license plate number. Police arrested him Saturday morning at his home in Satellite Beach, Fla., on one charge of murder and three charges of attempted murder.

"His side of the story is he felt threatened and that is the reason he took action," Schoonover said.

On Monday, Dunn ? a gun collector who shot at local gun ranges, according to authorities ? pleaded not guilty in Brevard County court, with his attorney describing his actions as self-defense.

"Once all the facts come out, that what really happened is known, it will be very clear that Mr. Dunn acted responsibly and as any responsible firearms owner would have acted under these same circumstances," said his attorney, Robin Lemonidis, reported FirstCoastNews.com, the website for NBC station WTLV in Jacksonville.

Dunn's 20-year-old daughter, Rebecca, told FirstCoastNews.com, "he just reacted," adding that his family was rallying behind him.

"Everyone in his life loves him and everyone who met him, all of my friends are praying for him," she said.
Dunn, who had been in Brevard County Jail after his arrest, was transferred back to Duval County, where the shooting happened, on Tuesday. His girlfriend won't face any charges.

"When she came out [of the convenience store], she asked him, 'What's going on?'" Schoonover said.

"Supposedly his statement was, 'I just fired at these kids.' I don't know if he knew that he struck anyone in the vehicle. The next morning, I guess when they woke up in the hotel and saw on the news that someone was killed, that's when they got in their car and fled."

Davis, the victim, lived with his father in Florida, but was to be buried in Georgia ? where he was born ? on Saturday, reported jacksonville.com.

Davis' mother, Lucia McBath, who lives outside of Atlanta, asked that her son's death not be thought of as a hate crime.
"We don't know where he was or what kind of dark place he was in at that moment, but something snapped in that man. Something snapped in him, so we are not looking at it as the hate crime because that's not going to honor Jordan," McBath told FirstCoastNews.com.

She said the fact that Dunn drove off after shooting Davis was "unconscionable."

Davis, a high school junior, had just gotten a job at McDonald's, picking up some extra cash after work, his mom said. At Thanksgiving the day before his death, he said he was thankful to God for his family, his mom told FirstCoastNews.com.

"He was just so excited and happy" for everything in his life, she said.

She said the family is starting a foundation in his memory to help at-risk children.

"It didn't matter to Jordan if you needed the help, you needed the support ? he was going to give it to you no matter what side of the tracks you came from. So we feel it's really important to honor that in him," she said.
Ron Davis, the victim's father, added: "I was looking forward to as a parent to being there when he got married, being there when he found love. All the things that I'm not going to be able to do is what pains me."

Bolding mine.

Debate questions: Do you think that the Stand Your Ground law is a good law? Do you think it will protect this man, assuming that the facts show that the teens were unarmed and never got out of the car? Do you think that he acted "as any responsible gun owner would?" Lastly, do you think his girlfriend should have been charged with anything after she came out, got the answer that he "fired on those kids" and still left with him, and later fled with him?

Update: http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/29/odonnell-rewrites-jordan-daviss-death/

According to this, he claims he thought he saw a shot gun. So is "thinking you see a shotgun" a good enough reason to open fire on a car full of unarmed kids?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

IMO, the proper response to someone having overly loud music is to call the Police. (Unless of course you are the police Smile )

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

IMO, the proper response to someone having overly loud music is to call the Police. (Unless of course you are the police Smile )

And then what?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

Do whatever police normally do. Tell them to quiet down or they will receive a ticket or be arrested. It would not be a big deal unless they tried to resist arrest or harm the Police Officer.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

This was murder, plain and simple. Acting like 'a responsible gun owner'? Puh-lease. Get some tolerance and suck up what is at the very WORST a temporary annoyance. So you are forced to listen to some freaking loud music for a minute or two? Sure, ask them to turn it down, and if they don't, then whatever. Is someone here going to make any crazy statements like this guy felt his rights were being infringed upon in a convenience store parking lot and that he correctly perceived some sort of imminent threat or danger from loud music? The kids should have turned the music down. They didn't. Is that worth paying with your life?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

The "I thought i saw a gun" thing is tough. I mean, I think if you really do see a gun and someone looks about to use it, you should be able to defend yourself, but i don't think that means just the mere sight of anything that remotely looks like a gun means you should be able to shoot. And of course I don't think anyone should just be able to say that and be excused of murder. I guess that's why we have courtrooms and a justice system.

To me this sounds nothing like self defense. I mean he shot at the car, he fled the scene. He didnt' report to the police what happened or that he thought he was threatened and had to protect himself. ANd then when he found out someone died, they tried to run away.

F'd up.

As far as Stand your ground. I'm undecided. I mean if someone is actually threatening you and you fear any attempt to escape would result in your death...i think you should be able to fight back without facing consequences. Of course thats a judgement call on the individual defending themselves...and we all know that some individuals have very poor judgement....which is why I'm undecided.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"KimPossible" wrote:

The "I thought i saw a gun" thing is tough. I mean, I think if you really do see a gun and someone looks about to use it, you should be able to defend yourself, but i don't think that means just the mere sight of anything that remotely looks like a gun means you should be able to shoot. And of course I don't think anyone should just be able to say that and be excused of murder. I guess that's why we have courtrooms and a justice system.

To me this sounds nothing like self defense. I mean he shot at the car, he fled the scene. He didnt' report to the police what happened or that he thought he was threatened and had to protect himself. ANd then when he found out someone died, they tried to run away.

F'd up.

As far as Stand your ground. I'm undecided. I mean if someone is actually threatening you and you fear any attempt to escape would result in your death...i think you should be able to fight back without facing consequences. Of course thats a judgement call on the individual defending themselves...and we all know that some individuals have very poor judgement....which is why I'm undecided.

On the flip side, had the driver of the car shot the man he could have claimed self-defense because Angel the other guy approached him (b) "I thought I saw a gun" could be accurate since he did have a gun.

I am getting really tired of the "I thought I saw a gun" defense. Maybe we need to rethink what we're doing as a society. How are we at that point where we have devalued human life so much that we accept this?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

On the flip side, had the driver of the car shot the man he could have claimed self-defense because Angel the other guy approached him (b) "I thought I saw a gun" could be accurate since he did have a gun.

I am getting really tired of the "I thought I saw a gun" defense. Maybe we need to rethink what we're doing as a society. How are we at that point where we have devalued human life so much that we accept this?

I think it becomes a game of luck. Say you are an individual and you swear you saw a gun, or you swear the guy was pulling for a gun....if you are right, then your actions seem to make sense, don't you think? If you are wrong, even if you genuinely thought you were right at the time....then it seems that we have grounds for persecution. Basically you are at the mercy of your ability to judge the moment correctly.

Unless you think the first scenario, where you are right, doesn't seem right either.

Its tricky IMO. I don't know what the right answer is. I want to be able to call BS on guys like the one in the OP.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Do whatever police normally do. Tell them to quiet down or they will receive a ticket or be arrested. It would not be a big deal unless they tried to resist arrest or harm the Police Officer.

But if someone tells you to STOP, you stop, right?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Do you think that the Stand Your Ground law is a good law? Yes
Do you think it will protect this man, assuming that the facts show that the teens were unarmed and never got out of the car? No
Do you think that he acted "as any responsible gun owner would?" No

Lastly, do you think his girlfriend should have been charged with anything after she came out, got the answer that he "fired on those kids" and still left with him, and later fled with him? No, she wasn't there so I don't think she should be charged with anything. I'm sure he didn't tell her exactly what happened only his version.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

But if someone tells you to STOP, you stop, right?

That depends on who it is. A police officer - yes. Most everyone - yes. A stranger who looks threatening - no.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Lastly, do you think his girlfriend should have been charged with anything after she came out, got the answer that he "fired on those kids" and still left with him, and later fled with him? No, she wasn't there so I don't think she should be charged with anything. I'm sure he didn't tell her exactly what happened only his version.

According to to the article, he told her "I fired at those kids." No way would I just get in a car and drive away without calling the police or something if my signicant other had felt threatened enough (or just been crazy enough) to fire a gun at people. THEN when they saw on the news that someone had died, she still didn't call the police and went with him when he "fled." Therefore, I think she's kind of an accomplice.

As to the whole "I thought I saw a gun" thing.... no, I don't think it's a good defense. It's an easy excuse to fall back on, but I feel like you should have to be in very clear and present danger before you can just start shooting people.

It's stuff like this that makes me wish that guns weren't so prevalent in our country. If he hadn't have had a gun, he couldn't have shot anyone. If the odds were less likely that the teens had a gun (because guns are everywhere!), he would have been less likely to assume that they had one (IF that part of his story was even true.)

Is it just me or does the Stand Your Ground Law seem like code for the "Indulge Your Fear of Black Males" law?

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Well, he felt that his life was in danger. Of course he can shoot at them. If cops can he can. *rolling eyes*

I do not like the Stand Your Ground Law.
This guy acted like a moron. He confronted them and then felt threatened (um...sensing a pattern here?)
GF should be charged. Even if I thought my husband acted in self defense I wouldn't leave.