Shooting of unarmed Florida teen is no Trayvon Martin case, attorney says

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by Tristan Smith

(CNN)—The attorney for a Florida man who shot at a car of unarmed teens over the weekend, killing one, says the incident bears no resemblance to the Trayvon Martin case.

Her client, Michael Dunn, is no “vigilante” but did feel threatened and shot out of “self defense,” the attorney said.

Jordan-Russell-Davis
Left: Jordan Russell Davis (1995-2012); Right: accused murderer Michael David Dunn (Courtesy Photo/Think Progress)

“There are no comparisons to the Trayvon Martin situation,” said Robin Lemonidis, Dunn’s attorney. “He is devastated and horrified by the death of the teen.”

Dunn, 45, was denied bond Monday on a murder charge stemming from the weekend shooting in Jacksonville. The violence was sparked by a confrontation about loud music at a gas station, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

Dunn told authorities that he had asked the teens to turn down the blaring music from their vehicle adjacent to his, as he waited for his girlfriend to return to the car.

He heard threats from the teens, Dunn told police, he felt threatened and thought he saw a gun in the teens’ car. He grabbed his gun and fired at least eight shots, authorities said.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis, among the teens, was killed. There were no guns found inside the teens’ car, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

Ron Davis, the victim’s father, said he is devastated and doesn’t believe the shooting was self defense.

“He did something that there was no defense for,” the father said of the suspect.

Ron Davis said his son didn’t own any guns, wasn’t part of a gang and was a good kid. When Dunn pulled out the gun, the teens’ initially thought it was a fake then frantically tried to back up the car before being caught in the gunfire, Ron Davis said.

The father said he talked to two of the teens who were in the car, and they are “really shaken.”

Jordan’s body will be moved to Atlanta, the home of his mother, on Thursday, before a Saturday funeral.

Some have compared this incident to the Trayvon Martin case, the shooting of an unarmed Florida teen earlier this year that sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control. Martin’s shooting also focused a spotlight on Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows the use of deadly force when a person perceives a threat to safety.

Similar to Trayvon Martin, Davis was 17, unarmed and African American.

But Dunn’s attorney said her client’s action should not be compared to George Zimmerman, the volunteer neighborhood watchman who is charged with second-degree murder in the February 26 shooting death of Martin in Sanford, Florida.

“That’s ridiculous. Michael is not a vigilante,” the attorney said. “He’s a brilliant software developer. It was never his intention to kill anyone.”

The attorney said she is contemplating what defense she will use if the case goes to trial.

“Self defense applies because Mr. Dunn was threatened,” Lemonidis said. “We can’t say what the defense will be at this stage…but stand your ground is a possibility.”

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