When Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer two years ago in Ferguson, Mo., Darren Seals was one of the most vocal activists leading protests across the city. He rallied a boycott of Democratic candidates in local elections after he said they failed to protect black lives. And on the day a grand jury declined to indict the Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, Seals held Brown’s mother in his arms as she sobbed.
On Tuesday, Seals was found dead, authorities said, in a burning car outside the city. He was 29.
Officers with the St. Louis County Police Department responded to a vehicle fire in the northern part of the county about 1:50 a.m., the St. Louis American reported. When they arrived, authorities found Seals’s body inside the charred car. He had been shot, police told the newspaper.
Authorities are investigating the incident as a homicide, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, but they did not release any information on a suspect or a possible motive.
Online, friends and fellow activists mourned.
“We can live in a world where people don’t die by violence. Nobody deserves to die,” DeRay Mckesson, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “We did not always agree, but he should be alive today.”
Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, another leader of the Ferguson protests who grew up in the St. Louis area, wrote a series of tweets expressing her grief and shock:
“Today is really hard. This is really really hard.”
“I hope his soul is at rest. I truly don’t know what else to say.”
“Peace to Ferguson protesters.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Katie Mettler