Kent Carter, vice president of the Arlington, Virginia NAACP branch, was fatally shot while celebrating his 40th birthday in Turks and Caicos Sunday after gunmen “indiscriminately” opened fire on a vehicle in which he was taking a tour, local authorities said.
Carter was returning from an excursion in Long Bay when several men with automatic weapons shot him, the Arlington County NAACP told Fox 5 DC.
“These criminals began to indiscriminately shoot into the vehicle,” Turks and Caicos Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said in a statement Monday.
A shootout with the police ensued. In addition to Carter, a tour guide and a suspect were killed. Five other people, including an American and a police officer, were injured, NBC Washington reported.
The other suspects managed to get away and a search for them is underway.
“I believe the original attack was targeted and carried out by armed gang members who act without conscience, who have no regard for life,” Botting said, according to the New York Post.
Carter was a father, a veteran, and a real estate agent who volunteered in local economic development, housing and education issues, said Julius D. Spain, president of the NAACP branch.
“Words alone aren’t enough to say how much this hurts, how much we grieve right now,” Spain said.
Carter’s family said Wednesday that they weren’t ready to speak about the tragedy.
Turks and Caicos Governor Nigel John Dakin blamed Jamaican gangs for the rising crime in the territory, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. The attack in Long Bay involved people who were allegedly associated with local drug dealers, Dakin said.