CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) — What was supposed to be a 40th birthday celebration in the Turks and Caicos Islands turned into a deadly mishap after who police said were armed gang members fired at a vehicle returning from an excursion. Inside that car was Kent Carter. He was born and raised in Anderson County before establishing himself in Arlington, Virginia.
“It’s almost like I don’t believe it,” Barry Cantrell, Carter’s brother said as he works to process the news.
“I’m trying to hold the family together down here in Tennessee, I mean every one of us is distraught,” Christopher Mings, Carter’s first cousin said.
Carter was one of three people killed in the Turks and Caicos Islands after a number of violent attacks were carried out.
“This violence is linked we know to drug supply and is fueled by revenge, turf wars, and retribution,” the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force commissioner of police, Trevor Botting said.
Carter was known as an Army veteran, a realtor, and a racial-justice leader in Arlington, but he considered Tennessee his home.
“Anywhere he went he was always wearing UT shirts, and even in Afghanistan I think he had some UT apparel with him there,” Cantrell said.
Carter graduated from Clinton High School in 2000. He played football, loved basketball and of course, always enjoyed visiting Dollywood. Even after making Arlington, Virginia his second home, his impact was still felt in Tennessee.
“He was one of those guys that knew everybody, and everybody knew him,” Mings said. “I moved over here in 1999. I didn’t know anyone except the family, and if I ran into anyone, anywhere, I could just say the name Kent Carter and everybody knew who he was. He was well-loved by everyone.”
The family is now trying to remember the best of Carter and the example he led throughout his life.
“He put his heart into helping other people,” Mings said.
Cantrell agreed. “That’s the lesson I learned from him,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how you were raised or anything, it’s what you make of it.”
Cantrell said Carter was on vacation with his girlfriend to celebrate his birthday. She was in the car during the shooting as well, but Cantrell said Carter’s girlfriend is doing well after suffering minor injuries.
Carter also has a 14-year-old daughter, and right now his brother is in Virginia with her for the time being. Cantrell will be sharing funeral arrangements on his Facebook page for all who are interested.