Ferguson activist Darren Seals found dead in burning car

A homicide investigation was underway Wednesday in St. Louis County into the fatal shooting of Ferguson activist Darren Seals, whose body was found in a burning car.

County police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda said the department's arson unit was called to assist the City of Riverview with a vehicle fire Tuesday morning. When the fire was extinguished, the body of Seals, 29, was found inside. Seals had suffered a gunshot wound, Granda said.

"We are working with potential witnesses and doing everything we can, the same as we do in every case," Granda said, adding that police had no suspects. "We need the community's help on this."

Seals, a St. Louis resident, was a leader of the protest movement prompted by the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Seals was with Lezley McSpadden, Brown's mother, when prosecutors announced in November of that year that a grand jury had declined to indict Wilson in Brown's death.

Seals described himself in his Twitter profile as a "Businessman, Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa, Fighter, Leader." In recent days, he tweeted strong support for professional football player Colin Kaepernick, who drew controversy by declining to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner before the San Francisco 49er's pre-season games. Kaepernick cited racial inequality for his protest.

The St. Louis American, the self-described "voice of the area’s African-American community," reported Seals recently uploaded a Facebook Live video saying Ferguson police had once drawn guns on him and his younger brother. Political analyst Lizz Brown tweeted a screen shot of what apparently was a Seals tweet from July in which Seals claimed he and his 14-year-old brother were pulled over at gunpoint by police who warned him to "choose your enemies wisely."

USA TODAY could not independently find either social media posting Wednesday.

Other activists paid homage to Seals on social media.

"If Ferguson meant anything, so did Darren Seals," tweeted Ashley Yates.

"His name was Darren Seals. RIP," tweeted Torraine Walker.

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