Accused former Lakeland commissioner bonds out of jail

- Former Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn was released from jail on $150,000 bond Thursday evening after being granted bail by a judge earlier that day.

Dunn ran from reporters outside of the jail and refused to answer any questions about his arrest or release.

Dunn was jailed Friday after being indicted by a grand jury for shooting a suspected shoplifter in his store. 

The indictment says Dunn followed the suspect, Christobal Lopez, out of the Vet’s Army Navy Surplus Store back on October 3. Surveillance footage from the store showed Dunn grappling with Lopez at the door, then shooting him twice as Lopez tried to leave.

At the time, Dunn’s attorney explained that his client was in fear of his life. He’d allegedly seen Lopez grab a hatchet and stuff it down his pants, though the video does not clearly show anything in Lopez’s hands.

Dunn was denied bond during two court appearances following his arrest. Thursday, he was back in court with a new legal team including attorney Mark O’Mara, who represented George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.

Dunn’s attorneys argued that he was not a danger or a flight risk to the community, asking for bond of $15,000 to $25,000.

“The robbery happened on October 3. He was indicted some 13 days later by the grand jury. He stayed in the community; he did not constitute any sort of risk,” one of Dunn’s attorneys stated. “For him to have been held since the time of his arrest without bond in this case, that travesty needs to be corrected.”

Ultimately, Judge Wayne Durden agreed but granted Dunn a higher bond of $150,000. He also ruled that if Dunn bonded out of jail, he would have to surrender his weapons, remain on house arrest, and avoid the store he owns -- due to the weapons for sale there.

Dunn's wife, Brandi said the paperwork was being processed and she was "happy to have my husband home."

“Let the rest of the process work,” she told reporters and photographers as she turned quickly and headed for the elevator at the Polk County Courthouse on Thursday.

As Dunn was in the process of being released on bond Thursday night, a suspicious device was found across the street at the Polk County Courthouse. After an investigation, officers determined the device was benign and was actually a piece of trash.

However, Dunn's release was delayed, out of an abundance of caution. Dunn was released from the jail at 9:30 Thursday night.

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