A prominent activist during the protests in Ferguson following the police shooting of Michael Brown was found dead Tuesday morning in a burning car, police say.
The death of Darren Seals, 29, is being investigated as a homicide, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Seals Was Shot Before the Vehicle Was Set on Fire, Police Say
Darren Seals was found about 1:50 a.m. in the 9600 block of Diamond Drive in Riverview, St. Louis County Police told the St. Louis American. He suffered a gunshot wound before the vehicle was set on fire, according to police.
The shooting remains under investigation and no suspects are in custody, police said. No information about possible suspects or a motive were released.
The car was still on fire when police found it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The flames had to be extinguished before Seals’ body was found, the newspaper reports.
The St. Louis County Police’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons and its Bomb and Arson Unit are investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 or police at 314-615-5400.
2. He Was Near the Scene of the Michael Brown Shooting & Was Vocal During the Protests That Followed
Seals became active in the protests after Michael Brown’s death, and said he was near the scene of the 2014 shooting in Ferguson.
“It wasn’t even a protest yet,” he told The Nation. “It was a black boy being shot in the community. It was about ten other women and men out there, and the family. Before it became a riot, before it became a protest, it was just the community coming together.”
Seals spoke often to the national media and co-founded a group called “Hands Up United.”
He was also with Brown’s mother on the night it was announced a grand jury had declined to indict former police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting.
“And for Mike Brown’s mother to be right there in my arms crying — she literally cried in my arms — it was like I felt her soul crying. It’s a different type of crying. I’ve seen people crying, but she was really hurt. And it hurt me. It hurt all of us,” he told MTV News. “I don’t recall anyone having a longer protest, a more productive protest, a more creative protest than what we did. I don’t think people will ever really appreciate what we did until years from now. We really did the best we could.”
3. He Was a Musician & Worked on an Assembly Line at a Factory
Seals was a hip-hop musician and worked on assembly line at a General Motors plant, according to Al Jazeera America.
He was part of a hip-hop group called the Bottom Boyz Movement.
Seals, who went by King D Seals on social media, called himself a “Businessman, Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, Leader,” on his Twitter page.
4. He Often Spoke About Police Brutality & Other Issues on Social Media
Seals spoke out often about social justice issues, including police brutality, and was critical of groups, including Black Lives Matter, which he considered to be outsiders who came into the Ferguson community.
He most recently spoke out in defense of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has decided to kneel for the National Anthem before NFL games.
Seals also spoke about how politicians, including local Democrats and President Barack, hadn’t done enough to fix the issues affecting the black community.
“To this day, in seven or eight years, we haven’t seen any significant difference in the black community,” he told the Washington Post in October 2014. “In fact, it feels like it’s getting worse.”
He voted for a Republican in a St. Louis County executive race that year.
“Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean nothing. The world is watching us right now. It’s time to send a message of our power,” Seals told the Post. “We aren’t asking you to perform miracles. We just want you to do the job you are supposed to do.”
5. Many Have Mourned His Death on Social Media, Saying He Practiced What He Preached
Fellow activists and others in the St. Louis area community have mourned the loss of Seals on social media, with one person saying he always practiced what he preached.
You can see some of the other tributes below: