AFRICANGLOBE – Black Lives Matter activist Marshawn McCarrel is believed to have fatally shot himself on the steps of Ohio Statehouse on Monday (Feb 8).
The 23-year-old was instrumental figure in the social justice organisation as one of the spokespeople in Ferguson following the murder of teenager Michael Brown in 2014 by a white police officer.
McCarrel also founded a community based activist group Pursuing Our Dreams, which fought homelessness and hunger – both issues the young man battled with three months after graduating high school, according to the New York Daily News.
“Just looking at the group today and witnessing that growth, the process of building, it really puts me in good space,” McCarrel said in a video posted by the group in 2014.
He was also recently recognised by Radio One as a “Hometown Champion” for his great work and activism in the community.
It was a prize that came with a free trip to attend this year’s NAACP Image Awards, which took place Friday (Feb 5). McCarrel attended the show with his mother.
Before his death, McCarrel took to social media to send a final farewell to his supporters tweeting: “Let the record show that I pi*ssed on the state house before I left.”
Another troubling message read: “If we don’t have to live through hell just to get to heaven. I’ma stay right here with you.”
And on Facebook, he wrote just after 3pm (local time): “My demons won today. I’m sorry.”
Authorities looking into his death have said that there were no witnesses to the shooting.
“We don’t have any evidence to know the reason why he did it,” State Highway Patrol Craig Cvetan told reporters.
Opal Tometi, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Kerry Washington, fellow activist Shaun King and more paid tribute to the outspoken activist.
King wrote: “Standing w/ all of my friends in Ohio who are devastated by the death of MarShawn McCarrel. An activist’s activist.”
Actress Washington added: #MarshawnMcCarrel Rest In Peace.
McCarrel’s family believes his mental health may have been compromised by the emotionally draining work he had undertaken.