A prominent activist involved in protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of Michael Brown Jr. was found dead in a torched car on Sept. 6, according to local reports.
Darren Seals’s body was found shot to death inside the vehicle nearly 12 miles away from his home on Diamond Drive in Riverview in St. Louis County around 1:50 a.m., the St. Louis County Police Department said in a statement. The 29-year-old’s body was only discovered after the flames were extinguished.
The St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons and Bomb and Arson Unit are handling the homicide investigation.
Local police identified Seals as Daren Seals, but The St. Louis Post-Dispatch listed the spelling of his given name as Darren.
Seals gained recognition for organizing protest efforts after Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. He was also an outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, accusing the group’s leaders of hijacking Ferguson activism.
Seals, who was with Brown’s mother, Lesley McFadden, recounted the night Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced no charges would be filed against Wilson in a 2104 interview with MTV News.
“We already knew what the decision would be, but at the same time it still hurt to hear it. [Darren Wilson] got married right before the decision, so that’s how we knew he wasn’t going to jail. That was the ultimate slap in the face,” Seals told MTV News.
He added, “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.”
Fellow demonstrators mourned the death of Seals on Twitter.
Hope you get peace, D Seals. And I hope your life gets justice.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) September 6, 2016
Peace to his family and friends through this time of mourning and grief.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) September 6, 2016
We can live in a world where people don’t die by violence. Nobody deserves to die. We did not always agree, but he should be alive today.
— deray mckesson (@deray) September 6, 2016
This is the second victim affiliated with the Ferguson protests to have been found dead in an incinerated car.
In November 2014, DeAndre Joshua was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head in a burning car. No arrests have been been made in connection to Joshua’s murder, and police aren’t ruling out a possible link between the two murders.
“They (investigators) are aware that DeAndre Joshua died in the same kind of way,” St. Louis County police spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire told The Daily News. “Anything’s a possibility. Our detectives are always going to look into different avenues, or if it’s the same kind of motive.”
The St. Louis County Police Department is asking that the public contact them at (314) 615-5400 or CrimeStoppers at (866) 371-8477 with any information regarding the incident.