Marchers remember Tyron Lewis killed in shooting 20 years ago

Posted at 11:18 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 23:18:34-04

Each step taken Monday night in Midtown, leading back to a memory that left a community broken and a city on the verge of chaos.

It was 1996, at the intersection of 18th Avenue South and 16th Street, where Tyron Lewis, was gun down in his car by a white St Pete police officer. Lewis was driving without a license and carrying crack cocaine at the time he was pulled over by police.

According to the investigation, Lewis locked his car doors and refused to get out. Officer James Knight pulled out his gun and got in front of the car. When the car started rolling slowly forward, Knight shot three times through the windshield.

Lewis' death sparked days of riots, sending the city on the gulf into the national spot light.

"For me and my family, its like it's 1996 again, cause we always got to keep being reminded of this," said Roderick Pringles.

Pringles keeps most of those reminders in a set of scrap books he hardly opens.

While the shooting was ruled justified and the officers cleared, for Pringles, it marks the start of a pattern of racial tension he see playing out today.

"You've got a select few, a certain amount of officers that take it above their training and go against everything they have been trained," said Pringles.

Pringles insists that lack of training and compassion lead to his brothers death. His midtown neighborhood still plagued by a lack of opportunity and distrust of police leading to confrontation. He says in each of the recent shootings catching the nations attention, a similar conclusion seems to play out.

"It's always justified," said Pringles clearly frustrated by the word.

He realizes it's a complex issue but feels there isn't enough being done to stem the current epidemic of police shootings.

Both the city of Tampa and St Petersburg have stepped up outreach programs while also updating its training practices.

But the dozens marching Monday are paying tribute to Lewis in their own way and without approval from officials. Unofficially renaming the road where lewis took his last breath, Tyron Lewis Avenue.

Pringles could only utter the words wow finally saying to himself.

"Now he'll always be remembered."