Levi Dixon Jr. was an up-and-coming 17-year-old singer who performed with his church choir. He had a chance to go to college and make music his life.
Five years ago, Dixon's musical dreams ended. Early in the morning on July 27, 2008, Dixon was fatally shot inside a friend's West Tampa home.
No arrest has been made and no witnesses have stepped forward, police said, but detectives are hoping Dixon's musical ties will help generate tips about the case.
A.J. Crawford, a tribute artist and longtime friend of Dixon, has written and produced a music video that pays homage to Dixon. Crawford, who goes by the stage name "Young A.J.," wrote "Dear Lee" as a way of coping with Dixon's death and to speak out against violence.
On Friday, police said the locally produced song could "urge the public to come forward with information on the teen singer's death." Detectives "are confident that there are individuals in the community who have crucial information that can lead to an arrest and help give some closure to Dixon Jr.'s family and friends."
Dixon's mother, Angela Pearson, talked to the media Friday, saying she wants closure. She said she hopes that people who were witnesses will be able to identify her son's killer.
"I'm not gonna lie and say I forgive him," she said of the person who shot her son. "I pray I can forgive him. I just want to let them know how they left me with a hole in my heart.
"If they have any morals they will come forward and tell me what happened to my son." The video features Dixon singing in a studio a year before his death. Among the lyrics: "I know you can hear me so can you tell me who shot you. Not a day pass that I don't think 'bout you. Some days I wonder if I can do this here without you. But I stay strong."
Dixon's family said the teen was focused on his music and education. He was preparing for his senior year at Blake High School, was performing with a group called the Top Prospects and had a scholarship available from Bethune-Cookman University.
He wasn't perfect but stayed out of trouble, family members said at the time.
Levi was at the friend's house at 2536 W. Walnut St. At some point, the friends left, police said, and someone kicked in the door and shot him just after 4 a.m. The teen's body was found outside. Police released no possible motive.
A two-minute clip of "Dear Lee" can be seen on YouTube at youtu.be/aEhmzqEv_aY.
Anyone with details on the case was asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or via its Text-a-Tip line by typing the keyword "CSTB" followed by the tip to 274637. Tips through Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and may lead to a $1,000 cash reward.
Tribune reporter Ray Reyes contributed to this report.