On June 13, 19-year-old Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin Salau was found dead in a house on Monday Street in Tallahassee, Florida, according to a news release issued by the Tallahassee police department (TPD) on Tuesday.
The police also discovered the body of a 75-year-old American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) volunteer Victoria Simms in the same house. Their deaths are being investigated as a homicide.
The resident of the house Aaron Glee Jr. has been taken into custody as a suspect by the police department.
Prior to the arrival of law enforcement officers, Glee had reportedly fled to Orlando where he was intercepted by the city’s police department. Based on the evidence uncovered and the information obtained there, Glee has been charged with murder and kidnapping.
Salau was reported missing by her family on June 6. Earlier that day, she had tweeted and reported to the TPD that she was sexually assaulted by a man who had offered her a ride to collect her belongings from a church where she had “refuged to a couple days back to escape unjust living conditions.”
The TPD has stated that there is no indication that Glee is the man who sexually assaulted Salau as his appearance does not match the description she provided to the police department.
The authorities have also provided little information on the circumstances of the two womens’ deaths. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether there is any connection between Sims and Salau or between them and Glee.
Salau was a prominent activist at the protests in Tallahassee following the killing of George Floyd.
In a video widely circulated on Twitter, Salau spoke at a protest saying, “Right now, our lives matter, black lives matter. Black trans lives matter. Trans lives matter. We are doing this for our brothers and our sisters who got shot but we are doing this for every black person. At the end of the day, I cannot take my skin color off. Everywhere I go, I am profiled whether I like it or not … So guess what? I’m gonna die by it. I’m going to die by my skin. You cannot take my blackness away from me.”
In reference to Salau, her friend Danaya Hemphill told CBS news, “Toyin was very passionate. She was very vocal, she was very loving, very spiritual, very caring. Toyin, she was like a light in a dark room. That was Toyin.”
“She was a strong, young black female leader to me, and a powerful speaker,” said Trish Brown, a founding member of Community Action Committee, an anti-racism organization in Tallahassee.
“I feel like something was snatched away from me,” Brown added, in reference to Salau’s death.
“She humbled me. I’m going to try to live to do the good work that I have been continuing to do, but harder and harder. I’m not going to stop until we get this right.”
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