Florida Student Shot By White Man Evokes Trayvon Martin Shooting
A 17-year-old student was fatally shot last week in an incident that evokes the slaying of Trayvon Martin, another African-American teen from central Florida who was killed this year by a white shooter.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, software development supervisor Michael Dunn shot high school student Jordan Russell Davis following a confrontation at a Jacksonville gas station over the volume of the music Davis and his friends were listening to on their vehicle's sound system.
"[Dunn] produced a weapon and started firing into the vehicle. Our victim was shot a couple of times,” Jacksonville homicide investigator Rob Schoonover told the Florida Times-Union. "They were listening to the music. It was loud; they [other teens] admitted that. But I mean that is not a reason for someone to open fire on them."
Dunn fired his weapon eight or nine times, striking Davis twice, the Sentinel reported. Afterward, he reportedly fled the scene with a woman who has been described as his girlfriend, and was apprehended the following day.
"You know they are 17; you can see it in their faces," said Davis's father during a vigil Tuesday. "Black Friday now has a different meaning for me because it will really be a Black Friday massacre for me."
Dunn will claim self-defense, according to a statement by his attorney. It is unclear how Davis, who was sitting in the back seat of a sports utility vehicle when he was shot, could have attacked Dunn preceding the attack.
The case surfaces uneasy memories of the violent death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by Floridian neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in February. As in that ongoing trial, it is possible that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law will play a part in Dunn's defense—and, as with Martin's death, there will likely be racial tensions over the violent death of a young African American man at the hands of an older white man.
Unlike Zimmerman, who was initially released by the police, Dunn has been charged with murder and attempted murder, to which he has plead not guilty.
According to Davis's obituary, his family plans to establish a foundation for "at risk students that suffer from tragedies," in his memory.
Jon Christian is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Christian.