A man has been charged with the murder of Marco McMillian, an openly gay Mississippi mayoral candidate.
McMillian, 34, was a respected community figure and a candidate for the Clarksdale Mayor’s office. He was found murdered, though a cause of death has not yet been released.
The man arrested is 22-year-old Lawrence Reed. Reed was found in a wrecked car belonging to McMillian about 30 miles away from McMillian’s body, reports ABC News.
Reed was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis and will be extradited back to Mississippi once he is released. Reed’s sister claimed that her brother didn’t know McMillian was gay. the mayor-hopeful may have hit on Reed in the car.
Jarod Keith, McMillian’s campaign spokesperson, stated that he didn’t believe the candidate’s death was politically motivated or a hate crime.
CBS News notes that McMillian’s body was found near the Mississippi River levee on Wednesday morning.
The body has been sent for an autopsy. Dennis Thomas, 33, who works at Abe’s Barbeque, stated of McMillian’s death:
“There’s a lot of people upset about it. Why would somebody want to do something like that to somebody of that caliber? He was a highly-respected person in town.”
Marco McMillian was a Democrat and wasn’t running a campaign usually seen in Mississippi politics. The mayoral candidate’s office released a statement about McMillian, saying that words cannot describe “our grief at the loss of our dear friend.” It went on to say:
“We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life.”
Clarksdale, Mississippi known as a blues landmark. It is the location of a crossroads where legend says bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for guitar prowess.
There is no word on Reed’s injuries or how long he will stay in the hospital before he is released to face the murder charge for killing Marco McMillian.