On October 3, 2018, shortly after 2:30 p.m. officers responded to the Vets Army Navy Surplus store, located at 819 North Florida Avenue, in reference to a shooting. Upon arriving at the scene officers located a man, 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez, at the entrance of the store with gunshot wounds. Lopez was declared deceased by emergency medical professionals shortly after they arrived on scene.
According to statements, Lopez entered the store with his father. As his father was making a purchase, store owner Michael Dunn, witnessed Lopez taking and concealing a hatchet, before trying to exit the store. Dunn stopped Lopez asking him if he was going to pay for the item and a confrontation ensued. Dunn then fired his weapon, striking Lopez who was still in possession of the hatchet. In addition to Lopez ’s father and Dunn, detectives interviewed two store employees working at the time.
Michael Dunn is a Lakeland City Commissioner who took office in January of 2018.
The criminal investigation into the incident is ongoing in partnership with the State Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
50 years old