One of the last people to speak with Bernell Trammell, the President Donald Trump supporter who was shot dead last month, says he’s not sure whether the killing was politically motivated.
The support of Trump might “make him a target, especially where he was that in the area,” writer Adebisi Agoro told The Epoch Times. “That’s the total opposite political view of everybody else in the neighborhood.”
Still, only an investigation will provide answers as to whether Trammell was shot because he held signs in public supporting the president, Agoro added.
Trammell, 60, was shot in broad daylight on July 23.
Images of the suspect show a man bundled in heavy clothing despite the hot weather, riding a bicycle to and from the scene.
Police officials said they’re investigating the homicide and haven’t yet discerned a motive.
The Wisconsin Republican Party called for U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger to look into the murder, pointing to Trammell’s open support of Trump.
“No American should fear for their personal safety because of where they live or their political affiliation,” Andrew Hitt, chairman of the party, said in a statement.
Gerard Randall, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party’s African American Council, added: “I have no doubt that were Mr. Trammell advocating support for Planned Parenthood, Joe Biden, or the American Civil Liberties Union, there would be a thunderous clamor for justice from the political left.”
Krueger’s office didn’t return a voicemail.
Agoro said he was happy to see that people were calling for a federal investigation into Trammell’s death, noting the rising murder rate in Milwaukee and the number of unsolved crimes.
“Just to see anybody make a deal. To see anybody say they want to call for a federal investigation into the death of a black man in Milwaukee, I put my hands up to that,” he told The Epoch Times.
“Because there’s so much violence going on, and so many mothers or so many parents and so many family members just have to deal with it. It’s like waking up and going to the grocery store. I just hope something can happen.”
Both homicides and non-fatal shootings have soared in Milwaukee this year, with the former up 85 percent and the latter up 64 percent as of July 28, according to the Department of Justice.
Trammell’s killing came just days before the Trump administration expanded Operation Legend, a program aimed at helping to combat violent crime, to Milwaukee, Detroit, and Cleveland.
More than 25 federal investigators from agencies including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service were designated to Milwaukee. They help state and local investigators combat violent crime, including crimes involving firearms and drug trafficking groups.
Ten of the agents will immediately provide assistance while the others will be assigned over the coming year to provide permanent assistance.
“This is a long-term commitment, a sustained effort, to make Milwaukee a safer place to live,” Krueger, the U.S. attorney, told reporters at a press conference this week.
Trammell would hold signs in support of various causes, such as Christianity, combating gun violence, and the pro-life movement. At times, he’d signal his support for elected officials or candidates, including Lena Taylor, a Democrat state senator who ran for mayor.
Agoro saw Trammell out with signs supporting Trump. The writer later went online and saw a picture of Trammell holding one Trump sign that said “Vote Trump 2020 for the Black Community.” The picture was circulated widely, drawing a large number of negative comments. Trammell didn’t use the Internet.
“People were talking about the man. So personally, me, being that I seen him in the community before doings things that people in the community supported, I felt that him not being an Internet person, just needed to have a fair share, a fair side to tell his story because he was being dragged online,” Agoro said.
The writer, who runs a website called The God Degree, set up an interview with Trammell and went by his office the morning of July 23.
“I am encouraging Afro-Americans from all walks of life and culture here in Wisconsin, particularly here in Milwaukee, to vote Donald Trump for this year. Trump 2020,” Trammell told Agoro.
He said he believed Trump is “a sign of the times.” Support for the president stemmed from Trump’s hiring of Omorosa, a black woman, and sitting down with rapper Kanye West to have a “real conversation.”
After the interview, Agoro went home and prepared to edit it. While he was online, he saw the man he’d just spoken to was wounded in a shooting. Trammell was soon declared dead.
“I guess shock is what I can think of now because it didn’t hit me, because it’s hard for it to be so real when an hour-and-a-half before this happened, I met a person for the first time that I would say is a unique person in his worldview, in his thinking, different from the rest,” Agoro said.
The writer said the killing illustrates the extent to which black men struggle to have their voices heard.
“It’s sad that this man is gone. It is, to me. Because I think he was very knowledgeable and a wealth of information. He had a lot of stuff to share,” he said.
“It gives America now a chance to look into the complex dichotomy that is the mind of the black man in America specifically. Because I think—this is from my perspective—it just feels as if even in the political narrative that’s going on now, that the voice is not the voice of the men in the African American community.”