A leading civil rights figure from Arlington was killed on Oct. 2 while vacationing in the Turks and Caicos Islands to celebrate his 40th birthday.
Arlington NAACP Vice President Kent Carter and his girlfriend had reportedly just finished water skiing and were taking a shuttle back to their hotel when a group of armed men stopped the shuttle and “proceeded to indiscriminately shoot into the vehicle,” local police commissioner Trevor Botting said in a statement.
“As a result of this attack, two persons were murdered, one from the local business and the other being a tourist from the United States,” he said.
Carter’s girlfriend, who was not named, reportedly survived with minor injuries.
A police car intercepted what was believed to be the vehicle used by the assailants, the report said, resulting in an ensuing shootout.
“Their bullets repeatedly struck the police vehicle’s windscreen and bonnet area multiple times,” Botting said. “Despite being under fire from automatic weapons, two of my officers returned fire to protect themselves and that of their colleagues. One officer received a serious injury from a gunshot wound.”
Carter, who became a realtor after moving to the DC area following a stint in the Army, was known among his friends and family as a “gentle giant,” Arlington NAACP President Julius D. Spain tells the Washington Post.
“He was a servant leader,” Spain says. “He was one who didn’t ask for anything in return, but did it because he knew it had to be done.”
In his role with the Arlington NAACP, Carter chaired the organization’s criminal justice committee and helped arrange racial-justice protests in 2020 in the wake of the death of George Floyd, according to the Post.
Additionally, Carter was instrumental in reviewing law enforcement policies and crafting guidelines for Arlington’s newly established civilian police oversight board.
“His impact in our community and his character and trustworthiness and judgment were impeccable,” Spain tells the Post. “No one can speak ill will of Kent. He was just a very warmhearted individual.”
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