JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Nine bullet holes were found in an SUV after an argument over loud music at a Florida convenience store that left a teen dead, an investigator testified Saturday at the trial of the man charged with opening fire.
Also Saturday, the defendant's fiancee, who was with him the night of the shooting, broke down several times while testifying. A bullet fired into the rear door killed Jordan Davis, 17, of Marietta, Ga., in November 2012. Michael Dunn, 47, of Brevard County, is on trial in Jacksonville, charged with first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of shooting or throwing a deadly missile.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Detective Andrew Kipple's testimony about the location of the bullet holes also showed that the Durango's driver and his front-seat passenger barely escaped being shot. Authorities say Davis was parked in the Durango with three friends outside the store. Dunn and his fiancée had just left a wedding reception and were heading home when they stopped at the store and pulled up next to the SUV.
An argument began after Dunn told them to turn the music down, police said. One of Davis' friends lowered the volume, but Davis then told him to turn it back up. According to authorities, Dunn became enraged and he and Davis began arguing. One person walking out of the convenience store said he heard Dunn say, "You are not going to talk to me like that."
Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, pulled a 9 mm handgun from the glove compartment, according to an affidavit, and fired multiple shots, striking Davis in the back and groin. No gun was found in the SUV.
The crime scene evidence technician testified that when he arrived about an hour and a half after the shooting, he found nine bullet holes in the Durango. Kipple said that the three bullets that hit the front passenger door were stopped by the door's interior metal wall, where passenger Tevin Thompson was seated. The bullet through the rear window passed through the interior and struck a sun visor right next to driver Tommie Stornes' head, then struck the front window and the fragments fell to the dashboard.
State Attorney Angela Corey walked Kipple through a slideshow of numerous photos the detective took of the interior of the Durango. "Did you look closely and with great care through the back portion of this red Durango?" Corey asked.
Kipple said that while he found a several items including cups, a cellphone, a basketball and a bottle of hair gel, he did not find anything that could be considered a weapon. He said no one had entered the vehicle since the police initially arrived on the scene.
Dunn has said he saw the barrel of a shotgun and fired his 9mm handgun because he feared for his own life. His attorney, Cory Strolla, offered several possibilities during his opening statement, including that Davis opened the door and wielded an opened four-inch pocketknife in his hand before Dunn fired. He also said the other occupants of the Durango might have discarded weapons during the brief time they drove away from the scene to escape the shooting, then returned seeking help for Davis.
Dunn's fiancee Rhonda Rouer, who lived with him in Satellite Beach, said Saturday that she was inside the store when she heard two bursts of gunfire and looked through the window towards Dunn's car. Rouer and the clerk can be seen in a video image reacting to the gunfire. "Somebody's shooting," the clerk said. "Somebody's shooting out of the car, I swear to God."
Rouer left the store and climbed in the car as Dunn was putting his handgun back into the glove box. The two left the scene quickly and went back to their hotel room because she wanted to make arrangements for someone to take care of their dog since she thought she was going to get arrested as well, she testified. It wasn't until the next morning she found out that the teen had died, she said.
Several other Jacksonville detectives testified Saturday that they followed department procedures when they processed the Durango and items found inside. Brevard County Sheriff's Deputy Carmine Siniscal testified that Dunn was cooperative during his arrest.