MarShawn M. McCarrel II, a 23-year-old Black Lives Matter activist, was found dead at the entrance of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus last night. McCarrel died of a self-inflicted gunshot, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Hours before McCarrel took his own life, he posted a status on Facebook:
He also sent out a handful of tweets:
Nobody witnessed McCarrel shoot himself, the Dispatch reported; authorities were sent a little after 6 p.m. to a shooting at the Statehouse, where they found McCarrel at the entrance.
"We don't have any evidence to know the reason why he did it," Lt. Craig Cvetan of the State Highway told the Dispatch.
Two weeks ago, McCarrel was selected to attend the NAACP Image Awards as a "Hometown Hero," according to a Facebook post by Pursuing Our Dreams, a community building organization founded by McCarrel.
McCarrel also wrote poetry; below is one of his poems, titled "Down South."
In an interview with Columbus Alive in 2014, McCarrel spoke on the importance of protest:
The protest is a direct statement from the people of this community to law enforcement that black lives matter. It's not about specific demands; it's about showing those in power that we want to live. We've seen again and again that marginalized people can be a victim of police brutality at any time. Actions [like the protest] lead to a more constructive conversation. We want people to understand that people who look like me are one breath away from being an Eric Garner. I live on the Hilltop; the people most affected by this issue feel they have the least power, so they have the least drive to fight. I can't blame them. There have been rallies and protests for years and nothing has changed, so my biggest challenge is restoring trust that change can happen. We can only achieve change through people recognizing they have the power to make a difference.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.