Mississippi Town's First Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate Killed in Likely Homicide

Marco McMillian, a 34-year-old mayoral candidate in Clarksdale, Miss., was found dead on a Mississippi River levee yesterday in what was most likely a homicide. His campaign said he was the first openly gay man to run as a viable candidate for public office in Mississippi.

McMillian's SUV was involved in an accident earlier this week. The candidate was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash and was declared missing. Authorities have released few details, but admit there is a "person of interest" in custody.

Unsurprisingly, residents of Clarksdale were stunned—McMillian, the CEO of a nonprofit consulting group, was highly visible in the community. He'd served as international executive director of the historically black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and his fraternity released a statement noting that McMillian had secured the first federal contract to raise awareness about the impact of HIV/ADS on communities of color—and also mentioned that Ebony Magazine had recognized him as one of the "30 up-and-coming African Americans" under 30.

[AP, image via Getty]