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Black Lives Matter Activist Marshawn McCarrel Kills Himself at Ohio Statehouse

Marshawn McCarrel, 23, fatally shot himself Monday on the exterior steps of the Statehouse in Columbus, authorities said.
Marshawn McCarrel
Marshawn McCarrelvia GoFundMe

A Columbus, Ohio, community organizer active in the Black Lives Matter movement killed himself Monday on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, the state highway patrol said.

Marshawn McCarrel II, 23, fatally shot himself with a handgun on the exterior steps of the complex shortly before 6 p.m., said Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Craig Cvetan.

McCarrel was the founder of a local community organization, Pursuing Our Dreams, which launched an effort to feed Columbus’ homeless. McCarrel was homeless for several months after graduating high school.

"All everyone needs is love — that’s a human being, that’s a pulse," he told (614) Magazine in Columbus in a 2014 profile. "We’re feeding everyone, we’re sending the message — today I got you; tomorrow, I could be right there."

A phone call to McCarrel’s mother, Leatha Wellington, was not immediately returned.

She had told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, "He impacted so many people, touched so many lives."

McCarrel was also named a Radio One Hometown Champion and traveled to Los Angeles for the NAACP Image Awards on Friday, the organization he founded said.

McCarrel had been active in protests over the use of deadly force by police, and organized local demonstrations over the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

"We want people to understand that people who look like me are one breath away from being an Eric Garner," McCarrel told the publication Columbus Alive in a December 2014 interview, referring to the death of a Staten Island man following a violent arrest.

Police are continuing to investigate and are looking at posts McCarrel made on social media, Cvetan said. A post on what appears to be McCarrel's Facebook page said Monday: "My demons won today. I'm sorry."

The government building was open for business at the time of the shooting and McCarrel was seen on the Statehouse grounds shortly before the suicide, but it appears no one witnessed the act, Cvetan said.