JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Brevard County man accused of shooting into a SUV carrying four teens at a gas station Friday night, killing one of them, told police he felt threatened, which is why he opened fire, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Police said 45-year-old Michael Dunn shot at the car eight or nine times in a dispute over loud music. Dunn and his girlfriend had attended his son's wedding earlier in the day, and they were on their way back to their hotel when they stopped at the Gate gas station at Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road about 7:40 p.m.
Police said three 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were in a SUV at the gas station, and Dunn told them to turn the music down.
"Evidently there were words exchanged between our victim, who was sitting in the backseat of that vehicle, and our suspect," JSO Lt. Rob Schoonover said at a news conference Monday morning. "For whatever reason, our suspect produced a weapon and began firing into the vehicle."
Investigators said Dunn's girlfriend had gone into the store to buy something at the time and was inside when the shooting happened.
"She came running outside and she jumped in the vehicle, when they took off," Schoonover said.
The woman, whose name was not released, will not face charges, police said. They said she has been cooperating with investigators.
"When she came out, she asked him, 'What's going on?'" Schoonover said. "Supposedly his statement was, 'I just fired at these kids.' And we believe at that time, I don't know if he knew he struck anyone in the vehicle. But the next morning, I guess, when they woke up in the hotel and saw the news that someone was killed, that's when they got in their car and fled back to Brevard (County)."
Witnesses spotted the license plate number and helped police locate Dunn.
"It turned out to be excellent information," Schoonover said.
Dunn, of Satellite Beach, was arrested Saturday at his central Florida home. Schoonover said he was in the process of turning himself in to his neighbor, who is in law enforcement.
JSO detectives went down Saturday afternoon and talked to him.
"He gave us information that his side of the story is, he felt threatened, and that is the reason he took action," Schoonover said.
Nobody else in the SUV was struck by gunfire, "which was lucky because the vehicle was shot, I believe, eight or nine times," Schoonover said. He said there were no guns inside the SUV.
Schoonover said he doesn't know if Dunn's son, who got married, is from the northeast Florida area. He said it doesn't appear Dunn had any ongoing personal issues that may have "set him off."
"He was a collector of guns. Supposedly information obtained from Brevard County that he was a collector," Schoonover said. "He shot at local gun ranges down there."
Police said there was no surveillance video of the shooting.
"They were listening to music. It was loud. They admitted that," Schoonover said. "But that's not a reason for someone to open fire on them and take action."
After Dunn made a first appearance before a Brevard County judge Monday afternoon, his attorney, Robin Lemonidis, said what really happened is very different that what has been reported.
"Once all the facts come out, what really happened is made known, that it will be very clear that Mr. Dunn acted responsibly and as any responsible firearms owner acted under these same circumstances," Lemonidis said.
Jordan's father, Ron Davis, said he is not seeking revenge from the man who killed his son.
"If the person can look in my face and tell me why, that'll be enough for me," Davis said over the weekend. "I don't believe a life for a life, because taking that person's life is not going to bring my son back."
The Brevard County judge ordered Dunn held on the Duval County felony warrants. It was not clear when he would be brought to Jacksonville to face those charges, though Ron Davis said he was told Dunn would be returned to Jacksonville on Tuesday.
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