Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Victor Knight

Epilogue: 'Gentle giant' Victor Knight planned marriage, career

Victor Lee Knight 

Victor Lee Knight 

DOVER — Monica Knight knew something was wrong. Her son, Victor, wasn't answering his cell phone. The two were in Alabama on Thursday visiting her parents. Victor, 21, had borrowed her truck hours earlier to get a haircut.

It wasn't like him not to pick up.

She drove to St. Stephens Historical Park, which they had visited the day before. She found her truck there, and breathed a short-lived sigh of relief. At the edge of a 50-foot cliff, Knight discovered her son's guitar —and, next to it, a place where the ground appeared to have given way. Rescuers found Mr. Knight's body in a rock quarry below.

• • •

Mr. Knight grew up in Dover, a place where "we know who we are and what we are," said his father, freelance mechanic and tree trimmer Darrell Knight. Mr. Knight grew up helping his father, whose "tough love" could sometimes reduce him to tears.

Though Mr. Knight's older brother, Vincent, had excelled at wrestling and Mr. Knight seemed even stronger and more talented, he lacked the killer instinct. His father compared him to Hoss Cartwright of Bonanza, a gentle giant.

"He was calm until you fired him up," said Dennis Kitko, wrestling coach for Durant High School, where Mr. Knight helped bring the Cougars their first regional title in 2004. "If something triggered him off, you'd better beware, because he could be an animal out there."

• • •

Mr. Knight lived at home and worked at a flower shop. He taught himself guitar by studying Willie Nelson clips on YouTube. He had earned an associate's degree and hoped to become a pharmacist.

Lori Czizik, 20, met Mr. Knight in a mosh pit at the last Guavaween. They planned to marry.

After high school, Mr. Knight's weight rose to 240. "There were no leftovers," Monica Knight said. "After dinner, I would set the food on the stove, and the next day it was always gone."

A month ago on impulse, Mr. Knight pulled into First Baptist Church of Brandon and told the pastor he wanted to "recommit" his life to Christ.

• • •

Vincent Knight, 27, said he doesn't understand why there was no warning sign by the cliff where his brother was sitting.

Jim Long, who directs the St. Stephens Historical Commission, said the park posts signs at its entrances. The signs read: "Danger — high bluffs."

As friends and relatives gathered at the Knight home Monday, Darrell Knight's phone rang. A client wanted him for a tree-trimming job. Knight said he would get back in a couple of weeks.

"You have to understand," Knight said. "I just lost my baby boy, and I don't have no heart."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (813) 661-2431 or [email protected]

.Biography

Victor Lee Knight

Born: March 14, 1987.

Died: June 19, 2008.

Survivors: parents, Darrell and Monica Knight; brother, Vincent; sister, Amy; grandparents, Mary E. Knight, Nick and Voncelle Peters, Don and Edie Mosley; numerous other extended family members.

Services: 11 a.m. today, Countryside Baptist Church, 13322 Sydney Road, Dover. Internment to follow, First Baptist Church of Dover, 3223 Gallagher Road.

Epilogue: 'Gentle giant' Victor Knight planned marriage, career 06/23/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 5:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Experts have some theories on who's carrying out Seminole Heights killings

    Crime

    The words serial killer tend to conjure an image of a middle-aged white man, likely a loner. He stabs or chokes or strangles, murdering up close for the thrill, straight out of central casting.

    A memorial was set up where Anthony Naiboa, 20, was found shot to death in Seminole Heights. Some experts who have reviewed information in the case say that whoever is behind the three Seminole Heights killings may live in the area. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  2. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  3. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight

    Military

    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  4. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'

    Stage

    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  5. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues

    Crime

    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]