Tyron Lewis’ family to hold vigil on 20th anniversary of his death

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Twenty years ago today Tyron Lewis was shot and killed in St. Petersburg.

On this anniversary his sister and son, Tyron Lewis Jr., and members of the UHURU movement spoke at the intersection of 16th Street and 18th Avenue South, the site where Lewis was shot, to honor his memory.

“We’re going to continue to still fight, that’s it,” said Tyron Lewis Jr.

His family continues to say he was murdered by a St. Petersburg police officer, during a traffic stop on Oct. 24, 1996. According to authorities, Lewis was ordered to get out of the car during the traffic stop by officers James Knight and Sandra Minor.

Witnesses say Officer James Knight stepped in front of the vehicle and fired several shots through the windshield when the vehicle started to move, hitting Lewis.

The city was on edge and angry community members fought police with rocks and bottles for days. The shooting brought national attention to St. Petersburg.

A grand jury concluded because Officer Knight was in reasonable fear of imminent death, he was justified in killing Lewis. Family members of Lewis say they still want justice.

“I never thought that I would be growing up and 18 years, my brother is killed in the middle of the street. 40 something people witnessed him being killed and the officers they still got found not guilty,” said Deanne Lewis, Lewis’s sister.

Both officers are still with the department today.

Monday night family and members of the UHURU movement will hold a prayer vigil for Lewis at 7 p.m. Afterward, they will rename 18th Avenue South to Tyron Lewis Avenue. This will be done without the city’s permission.

“We can never forget Tyron Lewis and neither can the police, they have to know they’re going to turn on Tyron Lewis Ave. They have to have Tyron on their mind every day on their route to work, on their way to get dinner and on their way home,” said Akilé Anai, with the UHURU Solidarity Movement.

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