The body of an activist from St. Louis who led protests about the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 was found with a gunshot wound in the charred remains of a vehicle on Tuesday morning, according to the police and news accounts.
The activist, Darren Seals, 29, was found inside the vehicle 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 vehicle had been on fire and he was found after the flames were extinguished.
The police said Mr. Seals had lived at an address on Millburn Drive in St. Louis, about 12 miles from where his body was found. The case is being investigated as a homicide by the department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons. The motive for the killing was unknown.
The police identified Mr. Seals as Daren Seals, although other records listed the spelling of his first name as Darren, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
On his Twitter account, Mr. Seals described himself as a businessman, revolutionary, activist and “Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, Leader.”
He helped lead protests after Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on Aug. 9, 2014, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.
The shooting prompted protests that roiled the area for weeks. On Nov. 24, 2014, the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Mr. Wilson. That announcement set off another wave of protests.
In an interview with MTV.com, Mr. Seals described the night the grand jury announcement was made. He said he was with Mr. Brown’s mother and some friends outside the Ferguson Police Department.
He said the decision not to indict the officer was “the ultimate slap in the face.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
Mr. Seals led protests with the group Hands Up United, which was organizing a campaign called Polls Ova Police, which sought to use this year’s elections to challenge police policies.
“The broken systems and policies that police enforce must be challenged,” the project said on its website. “We will not vote in favor of any candidate partnering with those who are not fighting for Black life. Polls Ova Police is the war cry of this generation.”
On Twitter, supporters paid tribute to Mr. Seals on Tuesday:
As long as I have breath in my body, I'll continue to fight for social justice.
— The Shunks. ❤ (@LegendaryQueen8) September 7, 2016
RIP Darren Seals though, we will fight on in your memory. I pray for justice in your death, your memory is special
— magic and real (@nianextdoor) September 7, 2016