US & Canada

Jordan Davis death: Michael Dunn 'fired in self-defence'

Defendant Michael Dunn reacts on the stand during testimony in his own defense during his murder trial in Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida 11 February 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Michael Dunn told jurors the argument came to the point "where I had no choice but to defend myself"

A white Florida man who killed a black teenager during a quarrel over loud music has testified he fired in self-defence after the boy threatened him.

Michael Dunn is charged with the November 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, 17, at a petrol station car park.

Mr Dunn, 47, told jurors he thought he saw the barrel of a shotgun in the vehicle after he asked Jordan Davis and three friends to turn down their music.

Police did not find a gun in the car the teenager was in.

They said Mr Dunn lost his temper.

On the evening of 23 November 2012, Mr Dunn and his fiancee parked at the petrol station in Jacksonville, Florida, after attending his son's wedding. His fiancee went inside to buy wine and crisps.

'Menacing expressions'

Jordan Davis and three other teenage boys, all African American, had stopped at the same place after visiting a shopping mall.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Davis' parents have campaigned against gun violence and Florida's expansive self-defence laws since their son's death

On Tuesday, Mr Dunn, a software developer, testified that the music blasting from the boys' sport utility vehicle, next to his, was so loud it hurt his ears. He said he asked them cordially to turn it down, and they did.

But Jordan Davis, sitting in the rear passenger-side seat, apparently ordered his friend in the front seat to turn the music back up.

Then, Mr Dunn testified, he became verbally abusive toward Mr Dunn, called him a "cracker", a derogatory word for a white person, and then threatened his life.

Mr Dunn said the teenagers inside the vehicle wore "menacing expressions", and he asked whether Jordan Davis was talking about him.

He told the court he wanted to calm the situation but that he saw Jordan Davis reach down for something.

Then, Mr Dunn testified, he saw what looked like the barrel of a shotgun sticking out of the window.

"This is the point where he is coming to kill me, coming to beat me," he said, describing the moments before he shot at the vehicle. "He made it quite clear what his intentions were."

Mr Dunn testified he felt a "clear and present danger" and had no choice but to defend himself. He reached into his glove box, withdrew a pistol he kept there legally, then fired nine rounds at the boys' vehicle. Jordan Davis was killed. The other three were uninjured.

Mr Dunn was later arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

The case, with its racial overtones, gun violence and a claim of self-defence, has drawn comparisons with the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The 17-year-old was shot dead in an Orlando, Florida, suburb in February 2012 by a volunteer neighbourhood watchman, George Zimmerman.

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