St. Louis police are investigating a possible link between the murder of a well-known activist and the 2014 death of a man during the Ferguson, Missouri protests.
Activist Darren Seals, 29, was found shot to death inside a burning car early Tuesday morning. According to the St. Louis American, Seals protested in the streets following the death of Michael Brown and remained vocal in his pursuit for justice for the slain teen up until his Sep. 6 murder.
An eerily similar killing took place just two years prior, when 20-year-old DeAndre Joshua was shot in the head and left to burn in a torched car. The New York Daily News reports that Joshua was murdered the same night a grand jury declined to indict the officer who fatally shot Brown. His body was found among the charred remains of his white Pontiac Grand Prix near the apartment complex where Brown was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson.
Now authorities are searching for a possible connection between Seals’ and Joshua’s murders.
“[Investigators] are aware that DeAndre Joshua died in the same kind of way,” St. Louis County police spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire told The Daily News. “Anything’s a possibility. Our detectives are always going to look into different avenues, or if it’s the same kind of motive.”
Social media users were also quick to point out the similarities between the two killings.
Damn. It looks like Darren Seals was killed the same way as DeAndre Joshua. https://t.co/w8G4Rwdvw2
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) September 6, 2016
I remember the first time hearing about someone being executed like this is when DeAndre Joshua was killed.
— Dr. Cornel Fresh (@WyzeChef) September 6, 2016
Let's not forget they set #DeandreJoshua car on fire the night of the Mike Brown verdict. #DarrenSeals
— Lawrence B. Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) September 7, 2016
Seals, a factory worker and hip-hop artist, according to the St. Louis American, was an outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement and often accused the organization of stealing Ferguson activism.
“Why when you tell #BlackLivesMatter people the truth about how the org hijacked #Ferguson, they act like WP (white people) when you talk about white privilege?” the activist tweeted earlier this month.
So far, no arrests have been made in connection with Seals’ death, but authorities are looking “into any enemies” they could bring in as possible suspects, McGuire said.
As for Joshua, his murder remains unsolved.
According to Inquisitr, conspiracy theorists believe the young man was killed in retribution for his testimony at the grand jury in Brown’s death investigation. Police have not backed up these claims.
Unfortunately, Seals and Joshua are just two of a host of lesser-known men killed in St. Louis County in the same heinous fashion. The Daily Beast reports that Vincent “Vinnie” Casella’s body was found riddled with bullets in February 2014. His car was later set on fire.
A man named Darnell Johnson suffered a similar fate; he was shot in the head and his car set ablaze. Johnson was killed in September 2014, but police had their assailants by October, according to the news site.
Police are still looking for a person of interest in the December 2014 death of Terrell Beasley. He was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer, but it’s still unknown who came back hours later to set his car on fire, the Daily Beast reports.
The recent death of Seals has since raised new suspicions around his death and the deaths of other well-known civil rights activists.