Michael David Dunn didn’t like the volume of music coming from the SUV parked next to him at a Jacksonville gas station. So he yelled over the bass vibrating from a boxed speaker in the back of a red Dodge Durango and told the men inside to quiet down.
“Kill him,” one of the Durango’s passengers responded, according to Dunn’s account. Dunn, who is white, said one of the young black men in the SUV reached down for a shotgun. Dunn pulled out a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun from his glove box. He fired eight or nine times.
The bullets sliced through the rear passenger door, striking 17-year-old Jordan Davis in the chest and legs. A high school senior with plans to go into the military, Davis died before arriving at the hospital.
While it’s unclear whether Dunn was the aggressor or defending himself with his handgun, shootings like this one on Nov. 23, 2012, now are common in Florida.
Murders by firearms have increased dramatically in the state since 2000, when there were 499 gun murders, according to data from Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Gun murders have since climbed 38 percent — with 691 murders committed with guns in 2011.
Only partial numbers are available for 2012, but from January to June, there were 479 murders in Florida — 358 of them committed with a gun. That’s an 8 percent increase in gun murders compared to the same period in 2011.
Guns are now the weapons of choice in 75 percent of all homicides in Florida. That’s up from 56 percent in 2000.
The rise in gun homicides in Florida comes at a time when the overall murder rate has declined in Florida, and violent crime has dropped statewide.