Updated Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM
The man accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old student in Jacksonville, Fla., after an argument over loud music is being charged with first-degree murder.
A grand jury indicted Michael Dunn, 46, a software developer, on the first-degree murder charge Thursday. Initially, Dunn had been charged with second-degree murder. In Florida, all first-degree murder charges must be issued by a grand jury. Dunn, who lives in Satellite Beach, also was charged with three counts of attempted murder.
The death of the high-school student, Jordan Davis, is expected to become another high-profile test case for Florida’s broad self-defense laws and has prompted his parents to begin a campaign to curtail the laws. Dunn said he shot Davis in self-defense after he saw a shotgun pointed his way, but the police did not find any such weapon.
The case has also drawn parallels to the death of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot by a neighborhood-watch volunteer in February, because Davis was black and Dunn is white, although Davis’ parents have played down the racial issue.
Dunn is accused of killing Davis while he sat in a sport-utility vehicle at a gas-station convenience store with three other teenagers Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving. The teenagers were blasting music from the SUV and Dunn, who was parked next to them, asked them to lower the volume. An argument ensued, and Dunn told his lawyer that he spied the barrel of a shotgun pointed his way and heard an oral threat to his life.
At that point, Dunn reached into his glove compartment, pulled out his handgun and shot eight rounds at the car. Dunn has a concealed-weapons permit.
Dunn did not call the police, believing no one had been injured, he told his lawyer, Robin Lemonidis.
The next morning he learned from news reports that Davis had been killed and decided to drive home to surrender to the police through a neighbor who has ties to law enforcement. Brevard County police already had been sent to arrest Dunn after a witness called in his license-plate number.
Ronald Davis, Davis’ father, said his son had no criminal record and was returning home after a day of shopping. He said his son did not own a weapon.
The teenagers in the car told him they pulled away from the store to flee the hail of bullets.
Dunn’s lawyer, Lemonidis, contended it was possible the teenagers’ got rid of the shotgun after they pulled out of the convenience store.