News & Politics

Was Suicide of Black Lives Matter Activist a Political Statement?

More questions than answers surround the Monday suicide of MarShawn McCarrel, a Black Lives Matter organizer who shot himself on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse. Here is some background from NBC News:

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.”

Anecdotal testimony gleaned from social media suggests that McCarrel suffered from depression. However, it remains odd that he choose the Ohio Statehouse, a decisively political venue, as the location for his suicide. Was he attempting to make one last political statement? Was he perhaps contemplating violence against public officials and decided against it? We may never know, but an investigation into the death is ongoing.