Michael Dunn, the white Florida man who reportedly shot and killed a black teen over loud music, testified today that he felt he was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death when he opened fire on the SUV with black youth, killing one teen.
Dunn testified on his own behalf in court in Jacksonville, Fla., that he had left a wedding party early to get back to to a hotel to let a puppy and let him out of the crate. His fiancée, Rhonda, wanted to stop at a convenience store get a bottle of white wine. Dunn admits he had three or four drinks at the wedding party. It was at that stop where the fateful and life-changing gunfire occurred.
Dunn said it was at this stop that he was rocked by the loud thumping of the bass of the music from the SUV to his left. He admits that he said,“I hate thug music,” but said that it was muttered under his breath. He said he couldn’t hear the lyrics, just the thumping of the beat.
Dunn testified that the loud music had his “head thumping, ears ringing. This was ridiculously loud music.”
He said in court that he asked the black youth: “Can you turn that down, please?”
Dunn said the boys turned it off. I said, ‘thank you.’
“I put my window down and turned to my left and said, “Can you turn that down, please?” to the red SUV. When I said “thank you” when I turned back and saw the rear of the SUV.”
Dunn said that he then looked back straight and put his window back up.
Very soon thereafter, Dunn testified, that quickly heard “f— you this and f— you that.” It was “mean-spirited. I did not react at all. It did not make me angry.”
Dunn said the music came back onion the SUV. “It was a little less loud. It was still that base thump. The only thing that was coming through was bass. I do have ear damage” he said, which came from working for his father’s scuba diving business in the Florida Keys.
He said he was experiencing acute discomfort in his left ear as the music thumped along. When the music came back on, he said he nevertheless heard the threats and ugly language coming Dunn told his attorney in court that two men had “menacing expressions” and that they talked about killing Dunn.
That’s when Dunn responded. “I asked ‘are you talking to me?’ They said they wanted to kill the M——f—– and I asked if they were talking to me, emphasizing me. I said, ‘I don’t mean any disrespect.’”
He reached down towards his feet to pick something up. Dunn said he saw “his shoulders move.”
“He came back up, he slammed whatever it was against the door. I saw sticking above, about 4 inches of a barrel. He heard the thump of the barrel against the door. It was in my eye a 12-gauge or 20-gauge.”
Despite seeing the gun, Dunn said, he did not reach for his firearm in his glove compartment.
“He’s showing me the gun. He’s threatening me. I was in fear of my life and I was probably stunned. I’ve never been threatened, let alone with a firearm or with death. I was incredulous. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.”
Dunn claims that he didn’t react to this. “I’m just processing what’s going on. This young man in the back seat and opens his door and cracked it open. I heard the door open and I saw the door move. I became even more fearful of my life.”
Dunn further testified in court that when the black teen advanced on him, he now believed his life was in serious danger.
“I thought I was going to be killed … I thought he was going to get a shot off. But I still didn’t go for my gun at that time. I was in fear of my life (but) I wasn’t ready to employ deadly force. I said ‘oh my God! Where is all this hostility coming from.”
A lot of things going through my mind. I was fearful not only for my life but for hers (his fiancé Rhonda).
Dunn said he was initially frozen in fear when he was the boy get out of the car.
“After the door opens and this young man gets out and his head clear the window frame.
“He’s coming to kill me. He’s coming to beat me. He made his intentions clear to me. Not having any doubts at all, that it is a gun in the window. I saw his head over the window frame as he stepped out and it was at that point that I panicked.”
“My seat is tilted so I had to reach to get the gun. I’m in panic. I grabbed the gun stripped off the gun and cocked it and turned toward the window and pointed it in the direction of my attacker.
“I had tunnel vision. My hearing dimmed. My senses faded in the background and I was focused on the moving target and pulling the trigger towards the door. That’s where the threat was coming from. That’s the last place I saw my attacker.”
When asked if he aimed, Dunn responded with “I didn’t aim, I pointed. My hands were rested on my window seal. I was fighting for my life. I was still fighting for my life. I was still in fear for my life.”
To explain the gunshots in the front of the SUV, when Jordan Davis, the teen, was in the rear, he said as he was shooting, he didn’t realize the SUV was backing up.
“As I mentioned, I didn’t realize the SUV was moving at first. I was still aiming at the rear passenger and didn’t realize the SUV was moving. It was byproduct of tunnel vision.
To explain the additional gunshots into the vehicle after the SUV backed up, Dunn said they “backed up directly behind me. My door is closed, my window is down,” he said. “They had a (clear) shot at the back o my head” as well as the to the front door of the store. “It wasn’t just my life, but hers (his fiancé),” Dunn testified.
“I did fire additional rounds. I was worried about blind fire and shoot over my head. Their back window was still down. I was still in fear,” he said in court. “They had four potential shooters. I stopped firing when it appeared the threat was over.”
Normally during a self defense episode, the person would call the police or stay until the police arrived. Dunn explained why he and his fiancé took off to his hotel instead.
“Afterwards, Rhonda was standing there and I said get in the car, we gotta go. I lost sight of the SUV. I was wondering about them coming back and that they would have friends coming back. I’m still in a panic. That wer’e in a very dangerous spot. I’m shaking. I’m quivering like a leaf. This was all new. He said he never experienced this before. She was hysterical. I wasn’t much better.”
Something that was telling is that Dunn told his fiancé “We might be in trouble with …,” he paused before finishing. “We might in trouble with the local gangsters.”
Stay tuned for the cross examination story.