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Virginia man killed in gunfire in Turks and Caicos Islands

Kevin Carter, the vice president of Arlington's NAACP branch, was killed Sunday when people whom police described as “armed criminals” opened fire into a vehicle returning from an excursion.

An American tourist visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands and two other people were killed in a series of shootings in the British overseas territory Sunday, police said.

Virginia resident Kent Carter died after people whom Police Commissioner Trevor Botting described as “armed criminals” fired indiscriminately into a vehicle at 6 p.m., according to NBC Washington.

People who knew Carter, a father and a veteran, said he had been visiting the islands to celebrate his 40th birthday, NBC Washington reported, adding that he was the vice president of Arlington's NAACP branch and also worked as a real estate agent.

“Words alone aren’t enough to say how much this hurts, how much we grieve right now,” Julius D. Spain, the president of the NAACP branch, told the station.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to his family," the NAACP Arlington branch posted on its Facebook page. "May God grant them strength during this time of sorrow."

A State Department spokesperson told NBC Washington that it offered condolences to Carter's family and that officials are "providing consular assistance."

Another person from a local business was also killed in the shootings, and three other people were wounded, Botting said at a news conference Monday.

A third body, that of a man, was found later. Investigators think he was one of the attackers and that he was killed by police in a shootout, Botting said.

The vehicle was returning two tourists from an excursion when the gunfire occurred. Police chased the vehicle, and an officer was seriously injured in the shootout, Botting said. The suspect vehicle escaped.

A police vehicle intercepted the suspected gunmen and riddled with bullets during a shootout, officials said.
A police vehicle intercepted the suspected gunmen and riddled with bullets during a shootout, officials said.Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police

Another person who went to a hospital with a head wound is thought to have been a bystander struck by shots the suspects fired during the shootout, he said.

“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.

The government of the Turks and Caicos Islands said Tuesday it regretted the violence. It added that “we wish to reassure the public (citizens, resident and visitors alike) that the safety and security of all, is our top priority.”

Police continued to investigate Tuesday. No arrests have been announced.