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Sunday, September 25, 2016

#HNNGunViolence Still no arrest in #Ferguson Activist Darren Seals SHOT/KILLED, left in burning car?

Darren Seals (Facebook)

When the gunfire stopped on Aug. 3, 2013, Darren Seals had six gunshot wounds. The then-26-year-old, known for running with a rough crowd, had been hit as he stood outside his cousin’s house, waiting for a ride. The first tore through his stomach. Three more hit his hands, which he had thrown up to block his face. As he fell to the ground, two more bullets struck his feet.

It was the second time he’d been shot, according the account Seals would later provide in interviews and social media posts.

The third, and final time, came earlier this week.

St. Louis County Police say the remains of Seals’s lifeless body, which had at least one gunshot wound, were found early Tuesday morning inside his vehicle, which had been set aflame. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

During the past three years, Seals had become among St. Louis’s most prominent anti-violence advocates and a co-founder of Hands Up United, an activist collective formed after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

“Every time he talked about getting shot, he would say that moment forever changed his life,” said Mya Aaten-White, a St. Louis-based activist and close friend of Seals’s. “In that moment he made an agreement with himself to give his life to his community.”

Seals decided that once he got out of the hospital after his 2013 shooting he would join the ranks of local anti-gun-violence activists, according to accounts he gave in previous interviews and recollections of those who knew him. Not long later, he added police brutality to his list of causes. He was a “day-one” Ferguson protester — among the first to take to the streets to demand justice after Brown’s death.

“After Mike Brown, we saw it as our responsibility to step up,” said Aaten-White, who first met Seals on Aug. 9, 2014, the day Brown was killed, as they both stood with the crowd that was gathering at the QuikTrip gas station.


THE DERAY MCKESSON TENSIONS

“His Facebook page shows how controversial he was, under every post there was some kind of argument over what he was saying,” said Bradley Radford, a photojournalist who is among those who spent the most time covering the young activists who took to the streets after Michael Brown’s death. “He was always on 100.”

Those online tensions boiled over physically in February 2015 when, during a protest outside of the Ferguson Police Department, Seals confronted Mckesson in the parking lot of Andy Wurm Tire & Wheel autoshop, where demonstrators often gathered. According to previous interviews with both men, Seals approached and accused Mckesson of stealing money from local protest groups — an accusation often leveled at Mckesson and other prominent activists, but that has never been substantiated. When Mckesson smirked in response, Seals smacked him across the face.

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