American tourist killed in Turks and Caicos was an NAACP leader from Virginia

Jacqueline Charles/Miami Herald

A tourist who was killed in the Turks and Caicos Islands earlier this week when the vehicle he was traveling in was ambushed by armed gunmen has been identified as a local NAACP leader from Virginia.

Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force spokeswoman Denyse Renne confirmed that the tourist was Kent Carter of Arlington, Virginia, and told the Miami Herald that his family was notified of his death on Tuesday morning, two days after he was fatally shot while vacationing in the Caribbean. Two other individuals who were killed were an employee with a local business on the island chain and an unidentified man found in Dock Yard on the island of Providenciales, where Carter was killed.

Carter was a member of the NAACP Arlington branch, which notified the community of his passing in a Facebook post. He served as 1st vice president with the civil rights organization and was described “as a nice person and important community leader” in the outpouring of sympathy.

Carter was also an established real estate broker who was featured this summer among Washingtonian magazine’s 2022 “100 Best Agents” and “Elite Producers” in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., area.

According to those who knew him, Carter also was an Air Force veteran and Freemason who has served in the leadership of Universal Lodge No. 1. The historically Black lodge was the first to be established in Alexandria, Virginia., and was founded 17 years before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln freeing slaves.

Carter and two others were killed in the British dependent territory on Sunday when a suspected gang-related shooting spree exploded in the Long Bay area of Providenciales, the island chain’s main tourist hub. Five others, including an officer with the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, were wounded during four separate incidents after the first shots were fired at around 6 p.m.

His death marked the first time since a disturbing spate of gun-related violence began in late July that a visitor to the islands had been caught in the crossfire. Statements by authorities after the incident also were the first time that they publicly acknowledged that the violence had gang and drug ties.

In a statement, Police Commissioner Trevor Botting said the crime was linked to “reckless and dangerous armed criminals” and drug suppliers, and “fueled by revenge, turf wars and retribution.”

He and the island’s leadership have requested police reinforcement from the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados, to help stem the surge in violent crime in the territory.

FOX5 in Arlington, Virginia, said Carter was a prominent community leader who was on the county’s police practices working group.

The TV station quoted a friend of Carter’s who said he and his girlfriend were celebrating his 40th birthday when gunmen traveling in a vehicle indiscriminately shot into their vehicle as they were headed back to their accommodations after an excursion.

When the gunfire erupted, Carter, an Air Force veteran, used his body to shield his girlfriend, the friend said. His girlfriend was not injured, the Turks and Caicos police spokeswoman said.