The third season of BET‘s American Gangster premiers at 10pm EST this evening. The first episode of the acclaimed documentary series chronicles Bronx gunman Larry Davis.

Produced by acclaimed screenwriter and author Barry Michael Cooper, the story was particularly personal. A Harlem native and groundbreaking urban journalist, Cooper explained the backstory on Larry Davis.

A little over 20 years ago, I became aware of the Larry Davis story, as an investigative reporter for the Village Voice in New York. His story was like some kind of action movie, complete with a shoot out with the cops, a month-long manhunt, and his capture in the South Bronx, which police helicopters, an array of police tanks, and a squadron of what looked like 150 police officers. Nuts. But the twist to this action story became a thriller, when Larry told the media the cops were looking to kill him because he was about to make it public knowledge he was selling drugs for a group of rogue cops. Initially, I didn’t believe him but after doing some interviews with some of his friends, people in the neighborhood, and even a few police officers who didn’t want to go on the record, I don’t think he made that story up. I believed him. And so did a Bronx jury that acquitted him in the shootout with the cops on November 19th, 1996, and the murder of 4 drug dealers on March 3, 1988,” explained Cooper to HipHopDX this afternoon.

The Above The Rim and New Jack City writer added, “Larry was convicted of another murder in 1991, and was in prison for over 20 years. In February of this year he not only wanted American Gangster to do his story, he wanted me to produce it. A week before I was to interview him, he was murdered in prison. Needless to say, it is something that haunts me to this day, and I hope people tune in and watch tonight’s episode. The Larry Davis story is tragic and compelling.

In Hip Hop, Davis was a prominent figure. Besides being referenced in lyrics by The Roots, Lloyd Banks, Digital Underground and most famously on the “Scenario” remix by A Tribe Called Quest, Davis also appeared as a featured speaker on Young Buck‘s song “Larry Davis” [click to listen], put out last month.

For additional information on tonight’s episode, readers can [click here].