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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate Killed

Marco McMillian, an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi, was found dead Wednesday on a Mississippi River levee, reports the AP. McMillian, 34, was running for mayor of Clarksdale, MS, a city known as the mythical crossroads where musician Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. It’s also home to Ground Zero Blues Club, a music venue co-owned by Oscar winner Morgan Freeman. The death is being investigated as a homicide, and a “person of interest”—believed to be McMillan friend Lawrence Reed—is in custody, according to local police. “We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life,” said his campaign manager, Jarod Keith, in a statement. “Tragically, that life has been cut short.” On Tuesday, Reed allegedly crashed McMillian’s SUV headlong into with another vehicle—though it’s not clear of the incident is connected to today’s tragedy. “There’s a lot of people upset about it,” said area business owner Dennis Thomas. “Why would somebody want to do something like that to somebody of that caliber? He was a highly respected person in town. He’s been in the community helping out a lot.” McMillian was running for a seat vacated by current mayor Henry Espy Jr., whose son, state Rep. Chuck Espy, is also running—as is Bill Luckett, who co-owned Ground Zero with Freeman. In addition to running a nonprofit consulting firm, McMillian was involved in Phi Beta Sigma, a historically black fraternity, and was recognized in 2004 as one of Ebony‘s “30 up-and-coming African Americans” under age 30. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the fistst viable openly LGBT candidates in Mississippi,” read a tweet by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

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