Milwaukee, WI – A well-known, 60-year-old black businessman who staunchly supported President Donald Trump was fatally shot outside his business in a brazen, broad-daylight attack.
Bernell “Ras” Trammell had operated eXpressions Journal, a spiritual and political publication, out of an office on Wright Street for decades, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Trammell was gunned down by an unknown shooter outside his business at 12:31 p.m. on July 23, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) said in a Facebook post.
He was sitting in a lawn chair in front of his shop when the attack occurred, a witness told WTMJ.
MPD released photos of the suspect and asked the public for help in identifying him.
The gunman was described as a male in his 30s, who stood approximately six feet tall and weighed around 200 pounds.
He fled the scene on a black bicycle, police said.
Police said the motive behind the attack is unknown and that investigators are still working to identify the gunman, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Those familiar with Trammell said he was outspoken about his support for President Trump, and that he often sat outside his publication business with handcrafted signs about religion and politics.
He enjoyed engaging people about such issues, and was described by locals as a pleasant, outgoing person, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
In addition to being a Trump supporter, Trammell also believed in Rastafarianism and backed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Journalist Armstrong Ransome said he interviewed Trammell outside the publication business approximately two hours before the shooting occurred.
“You wouldn’t guess the amount of hate I received from Black people,” Trammell told him, according to Ransome.
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt was among many who have questioned whether or not Trammell might have been targeted due to his political beliefs, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
He has called on federal prosecutors to open an investigation into the respected businessman’s murder.
“No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affiliation,” Hitt told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Anti-police protest leader Vaun Mayes organized a vigil for Trammell outside the eXpressions Journal office on August 26.
Mayes described Trammell as “a community elder and beloved figure,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Milwaukee resident Pia Lombardi said she was friends with Trammell for more than 20 years, according to WTMJ.
“He had a right to have his voice and he was so strong to do it alone,” Lombardi said.
She told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she plans to buy the building where Trammell was killed so that she can continue publishing eXpressions Journal.
“[He] gave freedom to everyone’s voice,” resident Clayton Hotelling said. “It didn’t matter where you were from.”