TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tensions rise in Clair-Mel following the shooting death of 22-year-old Lavonia Riggins on August 30. Riggins was shot by Hillsborough County Deputy Caleb Johnson, a seven-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office, and a SWAT team member for three years.
"This investigation started back in July when undercover detectives were making street-level buys," said Col. Donna Lusczynski.
Deputies held a press conference Friday alongside leaders of the black community vowing transparency with the investigation.
This is how deputies say it happened: After making a few undercover weed buys from Lavonia, they executed a search warrant at his house. Deputies say he was uncooperative, refusing to comply with commands to come out of a back bedroom.
Deputies said he had a history with guns.
“Mr. Riggins jumped up and moved his hands towards his waist at which time deputy Johnson fired his weapon one time, just one time,” the colonel sad.
No weapon was ever found on Riggins, that fact sparking nightly protests in the days since. Thursday’s became violent as parts of 78th Street were blocked as trash cans were lit on fire. It led to at least five arrests.
“They were high-fiving each other after they murdered this boy,” said protester Jimmy Carson.
Anger, sadness and frustration all boiling over, nationwide; tensions are hitting close to home.
The State’s Attorney’s office will determine if the shooting was justified. The deputy is currently on paid administrative leave.