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Northern Virginia NAACP Official Shot, Killed On Vacation In Turks And Caicos

Kent Carter and his girlfriend were in a hotel shuttle returning from the beach when a car of men pulled alongside them and opened fire.

By Megan Carpentier
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A northern Virginia man who served as a vice president in his local NAACP chapter was killed while on vacation in the Caribbean with his girlfriend.

Over the weekend, Kent Carter died while celebrating his milestone 40th birthday in the Turks and Caicos Islands with his longtime girlfriend, according to D.C. news radio station WTOP. The two were in a hotel shuttle back from the beach around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday when, according to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police, a vehicle with several armed men pulled alongside them and began shooting.

In a statement on Monday, Police Commissioner Trevor Botting called the attack "targeted," though he did not specify who in the vehicle, which was also transporting local employees, was targeted.

"These criminals proceeded to indiscriminately shoot into the vehicle transporting the employees and the tourists," Botting said. "As a result of this attack, two persons were murdered: one from the local business and the other, being a tourist from the United States."

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The other person killed was a tour guide, according to Washington, D.C. NBC affiliate WRC.

"Three other persons were injured, including the other visitor to the Turks and Caicos Islands," Botting added.

Carter was the first vice president of the Arlington County, Virginia NAACP, which had issued a statement about his "tragic and unexpected loss" on Wednesday and confirmed to Washington D.C. Fox affiliate WTTG that he had been killed in the attack.

A personal photo of Kent Carter

The president of the organization, Julius D. "JD" Spain, Sr., told the station that he spoke to Carter's girlfriend, who told him that Carter used his body to shield her when the gunfire started on the way back to the Ritz Carlton from a waterskiing excursion.

“I would expect nothing less than that from Kent, because that’s the type of person he is," Spain told WTOP.

His half-brother, Barry Cantrell, also spoke to Carter's girlfriend after her release from the hospital and told the Washington Post that her injuries were minor.

Commissioner Botting said in his statement that police were able to intercept the vehicle shortly after the hotel shuttle shooting, but the men in it began shooting at police as well.

"The criminals started shooting in the direction of the police officers with automatic weapons," he said. "Their bullets repeatedly struck the the police vehicles’ windscreen and [hood] area multiple times. Bullets also deflated two tires of the vehicle driven by the police officers."

One officer was seriously injured and two returned fire, but the armed men were able to escape. Botting said a bystander was injured in the attack and police killed one of the attackers, whose body was later found in the Dockyard neighborhood.

The Turks and Caicos Sun reported that the dead attacker was killed with a shot to the forehead.

Aftermath of the shooting at RTCIPF officers

"I believe the original attack was targeted, and carried out by armed gang members who act without conscience, who have no regard for life and who are hellbent on causing indiscriminate harm and misery across the TCI," Botting said in his statement. "This violence we know is linked to drug supply, and is fueled by revenge, turf wars and retribution."

Turks and Caicos Islands Governor Nigel Dakin addressed the attack in a Monday speech at the House of Assembly, the Sun reported, and connected the attack to a larger surge in violence on the islands between rival Jamaican and Haitian gangs.

In addition to serving on the board of the local NAACP chapter, Carter — who worked as a real estate agent — was also a member of the Prince Hall Freesmasonry, a historically all-Black Masonic association, and led its Alexandria, Virginia-based Universal Lodge No.1, its oldest branch, the Post reported.

He was an Army veteran and had served in the military police at Fort Bragg. After leaving the military, he worked as a special agent for the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Commerce before getting into real estate. He was originally from the Knoxville, Tennessee area.

He is survived by his daughter, according to WTTG.

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