Protesters shut down two Tampa intersections demanding justice for Lavonia Riggins

Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 17:45:36-04

Protesters shut down two Tampa intersections Monday, demonstrating for Levonia Riggins. Riggins, 22, was killed in a deputy-involved shooting in Palm River.

About 30 people blocked 78th and Rideout in Tampa for about an hour and then marched toward 78th and Causeway Blvd, and shut that intersection down for about 30 minutes.

Deputies were on hand redirecting traffic and barely interacted with protesters. No apparent violence occurred between police and protesters.

"Our whole family we just want answers," said Carniellius Branton, Riggins' Brother. "We don't understand what happened."

SWAT members attempted to execute a court authorized search warrant to Riggins for illegal narcotics on August 30th at approximately 8 a.m. at 1432 Longwood Loop in Palm River. This was the result of a month long investigation as deputies had made purchases for illegal narcotics from Riggins.

After announcing the purpose for being there, occupants of the residence exited and advised deputies that Riggins was still inside the house and probably in the rear of the residence.

After making numerous commands for Riggins to exit the residence, Deputy Caleb Johnson visually located Riggins in a bedroom, at which time Johnson perceived Riggins as an immediate threat and fired one shot striking Riggins.

"The deputy could not see what Mr. Riggins was doing, but saw him moving around and was fearful he may be getting a weapon based on again the history of arrests and his connection to guns in the past," said Colonel Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in a press conference Friday.

Riggins was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he died.

While the investigation is ongoing, it does appear at this time that Riggins was unarmed.

Johnson has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending administrative review. This investigation continues with the State Attorney's Office.

Family members plan to announce funeral arrangements for Riggins on Tuesday.