CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CNS) – Justin Carr’s future looked bright. He had just celebrated his 26th birthday, started a new job and was getting ready to settle down with his high school sweetheart and start a family.
But all that ended the night of Sept. 21, when a bullet shattered his skull. The next day, he was dead.
Carr’s death marked the most violent episode in nearly a week of protests in Charlotte that erupted after another man, Keith Lamont Scott, was shot and killed by police in an apartment complex parking lot.
Demanding justice in the police shooting, protesters marched through uptown Charlotte and confronted police in riot gear. Carr was among them.
“I need to make a stand,” he told his mother when he called her from the scene. He said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandmother, who had marched during the civil rights era.
Less than an hour later, Vivian Carr learned her son was in the hospital, clinging to life.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have charged Rayquan Borum, 21, in Carr’s death.
Vivian Carr recounted her last memories of her son during a special prayer service at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, where the Carr family has worshipped for three generations.
Father Carl Del Giudice, pastor, organized the prayer service to give people a chance to share their feelings about the protests and the tragedy that had struck their parish family. Father Del Giudice gave Carr last rites before he died, and is ministering to the Carr family throughout the tragedy.
“I know that my son died for a cause,” Vivian Carr told a standing-room-only crowd at the church.
“I just want to thank everybody for coming out and thanks for all of the love and support that everybody’s given,” she continued. “It’s very, very, very hard for me. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. But through everybody’s love, support and my strength in God, I’m able to carry through this.”
Carr’s two brothers praised him for standing up for people’s rights and they defended his reputation from what they called false social media reports.
Struggling to find words through his tears, Ellis Carr said, “They took my best friend. He was the best big brother ever.”