An American tourist identified as an NAACP leader from Virginia was shot dead in an ambush in the Turks and Caicos on Sunday, police said.
Kent Carter was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in on his way back from an excursion in Long Bay was shot up by several men brandishing automatic weapons, the Arlington County NAACP confirmed to Fox 5 DC.
“These criminals began to indiscriminately shoot into the vehicle,” Turks and Caicos Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said in a recorded statement on Monday.
Another person was wounded in the ambush.
Police tracked down the suspected gunmen, and possibly killed one of them during a shootout.
The other suspects managed to flee and the search for them continues. An officer suffered serious injuries during the gun battle.
“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.
Turks and Caicos Governor Nigel John Dakin blamed Jamaican gangs for the rising crime in the territory, reported the Jamaica Gleaner.
“It remains ongoing and it will not stop, unless we stop it,” Dakin told the House of Assembly on Monday.
Turks and Caicos is a British overseas territory made up of 40 coral islands located southeast of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean.
Carter, who worked as a realtor, occupied a high position at Arlington County’s branch of the NAACP and had previously led the oldest African American Masonic lodge in Virginia.
His neighbor Robert York described him as a “standup guy” and a family man.
James Morgan III, Carter’s friend and fellow Mason, mourned his death in a Facebook post.
“He did nothing to deserve this and I pray healing for his family and that these criminals be brought to justice,” Morgan wrote.