29-Year-Old Protest Leader Found Dead in Burning Car in St. Louis

Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — A 29-year-old man who was found dead in a burning car in St. Louis, Missouri, early Tuesday was identified on social media as a protest leader.

Police responded to a 911 call of a car on fire just before 2 a.m., according to the St. Louis Police Department. Once the fire was extinguished, police identified the driver as St. Louis resident Darren Seals. According to police, Seals' body had a gunshot wound.

After the news of Seals' death broke, people took to social media to post tributes to his life, with several calling him a "leader" who "fought hard for what he believed in."

Seals was active in the 2014 protests in Ferguson following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. He wrote an essay for MTV News detailing what it was like to hold Brown's mother as she cried in his arms after a grand jury announced that Wilson would not be indicted in Brown's death.

"We already knew what the decision would be, but at the same time it still hurt to hear it," he wrote. "That was the ultimate slap in the face."

Seals' last tweet Monday afternoon touched on the controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand during the national anthem in a protest against police brutality.

Police could not confirm that Seals was a Black Lives Matter organizer, according to St. Louis County Police Public Information Coordinator Sergeant Shawn McGuire. Police are investigating his death as a homicide, McGuire said.

Representatives for Black Lives Matter did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Editor's Note: St. Louis police spelled Seals' first name as "Daren" in the police report. Seals' social media accounts spell his first name as "Darren."


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