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"This grand jury finds that Officers Knight and Minor were in the lawful performance of their duties..." // What the grand jury says happened

1 Shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, St. Petersburg police officers James Knight and Sandra Minor see a car speeding past them on 18th Avenue S at 21st Street S, going east. They follow the 1980 brownish-gold Pontiac to 16th Street S, where it stops for a red light. Knight pulls behind the Pontiac and turns on the cruiser's police lights.

2 Knight runs to the driver's side of the Pontiac while Minor calls in the stop. Knight knocks on the heavily tinted window but gets no response. He tries to open the door, but it won't. The driver does not respond to his commands to turn off the car and get out. Knight moves to the left front of the car to see who is inside and what they're doing, and to show them he is a police officer.

3 Minor moves to the passenger side of the Pontiac and tries to open the door, but it is locked. She also orders the occupants out of the car, but gets no response. Knight, still standing at the left front of the Pontiac, continues to tell the driver to turn off the car and get out. Minor returns to the police car, thinking she will move it to block the Pontiac.

4 The driver, later identified as TyRon Lewis, moves the car toward Knight, striking the officer twice with the bumper and forcing him to step back. Minor moves to the driver's side of the Pontiac and hits the left rear window with her metal baton, trying to get in to stop the driver. She punches a hole, but it's not big enough to get in.

5 After Minor breaks the window, the car moves forward and hits Knight, who loses his balance and places his left hand on the hood. He orders the driver to stop and threatens to shoot. Minor hits the driver's window and the driver turns sharply to the left and hits Knight again. Knight loses his balance and ends up on the hood of the moving car. He fires three shots.

6 The first two shots hit Lewis in the right arm 5 inches below the shoulder. The third shot hits him in the center of the chest and goes through his heart, killing him. At the time of the shooting Medical Examiner Joan Wood says, Lewis' arm was in a position consistent with the turning of the steering wheel.

The grand jury's role

The grand jury's job was not to establish guilt or innocence, but to hear testimony from witnesses and to gather evidence to decide whether Knight should face criminal charges.

The jury of 15 white and one black citizen was assembled to consider various cases, most of them homicides. Members of grand juries are dawn randomly from the roll of voters and serve for up to six months.

Among the 49 witnesses before the grand jury were the two officers themselves and the passenger in the car Lewis was driving. Here's what they told the state attorney before they testified to the grand jury:


"I was in fear for my life and I had nowhere to escape."


"He just started to floor it, to leave."

EUGENE YOUNG: Lewis' passenger

"I was watching him with the gun. I was scared."


As part of its investigation the Police Department had Officer James Knight re-enact what he says happened at the moment of the shooting. The grand jury saw this photo. A different officer stood in for Officer Sandra Minor, and this is not the actual car.