The Rev. Carlton Lee — who baptized Michael Brown Sr., father of 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot dead in a controversial incident by a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer — died Tuesday from a heart attack. He was 34.
"Stunned to learn abt the death of Rev. Carlton Lee. He worked w/ us as a NAN rep in Ferguson, MO for Mike Brown. I can't believe he is gone," Sharpton tweeted.
Lee became an outspoken advocate for the Brown family after their son was killed in August 2014 by officer Darren Wilson. When riots broke out after Wilson was indicted for Brown Jr.'s death, Lee's church, The Flood Christian Church, was one of a number of buildings reportedly affected.
The church was set on fire and Lee told news outlets that he believed his church was torched by white supremacists after he came out in support of the Brown family.
"I'm very vocal in regards to the Michael Brown case," Lee told NBC News at the time.
"The police called me and told me the church was on fire," he said. "I was in complete disbelief. I didn't think anyone would set a church on fire."
He claimed he received 71 death threats because of his advocacy work.
The building was torched the day after he baptized Michael Brown Sr. and his family. The baptism, he told the Daily Mail had been planned months in advance and the late Michael Brown was expected to be baptized too but he was killed before that could happen.
"Sunday, we do the baptism, Monday, the church is on fire. It just doesn't add up," he said at the time of the incident.
The grieving Chanel I'nez Lee noted on her Facebook page that she was not doing very well without her husband with whom she has several other children.
"I don't even know how to sleep without this man.... my baby, my heart, my soul, my better half. Please let me hear your voice Carlton. I'm sinking baby. Sinking....," she wrote.
As recently as Saturday, the pastor was captured in a Facebook live video shared by his wife, preaching against Christians jockeying for positions in church.
In one of his most recent posts on social media, he talked about how proud he was about the achievements of the members of his church.
"I'm so happy and proud of the family of The Flood Christian Church. So many of them are walking into their assignments, received better jobs (not just any job but GOOD jobs), going back to school, stepping out on Faith and growing in the Lord. It's an exciting time and as their Pastor it's humbling to see them GROW. I know I get on their nerves and push them but I'm so appreciative for each and every one of them. I love you all and thank you for Loving your Pastor, 1st Lady and ALL of our kids. #sayitlee," he wrote.