Michael Dunn, on trial in the killing of an unarmed black teenager during a dispute over loud music, on Tuesday recounted their fatal confrontation, testifying that before shooting he saw a barrel of a gun and feared for his life.
Dunn, 47, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Jordan Davis, 17, at a Jacksonville, Fla. convenience store in November 2012. Dunn has also pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder for firing at three of Davis’ friends.
“Jordan Davis kept escalating this until the point I had no choice,” Dunn testifying. “It was life and death.”
Dunn, who is white, said he and his fiancée had left a wedding reception and were heading home when they stopped at the store and pulled into a spot next to a Durango SUV. “Thumping” music came from the vehicle and Dunn asked those on the vehicle to lower the volume. The sound initially went down. But it was turned back up at Davis’ request, other witnesses have testified.
Responding to questions from his attorney, Cory Strolla, Dunn said he has ear damage and the music “caused him pain.”
The dispute kept getting worse, the defendant said. He testified that one of the teens, using an expletive, said "I should kill" Dunn. "There was no mistake in what he said,” Dunn said from the stand. He went on to describe seeing “two young men with menacing expressions” in the car.
Dunn said he asked, “Are you talking about me?”
Dunn testified that he tried to de-escalate the situation, but he said the teenager was “showing me a gun and he's threatening me. I was in fear of my life.”
He said he couldn't believe what was happening and was frozen in his seat. Dunn said he saw the door move and thought he was going to be killed, but he said he still didn't go for his gun. Dunn testified that Davis then said, “You’re dead."
"This is the point where my death is imminent,” said Dunn. He testified that he responded, “You're not going to kill me.”
Dunn said he saw about four inches of what he thought was the barrel of a shotgun.
Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, pulled a 9-millimeter handgun from his glove compartment and, according to testimony from law enforcement officers, fired nine times, striking Davis in the back and groin. No gun was found in the SUV.
“I have every right of self-defense, and I took it,” Dunn during a lengthy cross-examination by prosecutor John Guy.
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