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Ryan Carson, social justice advocate, stabbed to death in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Ryan Carson, New York social justice advocate, stabbed to death
Ryan Carson, New York social justice advocate, stabbed to death 02:16

Editor's note: The NYPD has since released a photo of the suspect in Ryan Carson's killing.

NEW YORK -- Ryan Carson, a social justice advocate who was on a mission to make New York a better place, was stabbed to death on the streets of Brooklyn on Monday. 

People who knew Carson, 32, said he dedicated his life to trying to change things for the better. 

Carrying candles, dozens of Carson's family and friends gathered at a park in Bedford-Stuyvesant to remember his life. 

Police said the long-time government advocate was stabbed at around 4 a.m. about a mile away at Lafayette Avenue and Malcom X Boulevard. 

Sources said Carson was standing on the street with his girlfriend when the suspect approached and asked, "What are you looking at?" before stabbing Carson in the chest multiple times. 

Carson was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital. 

"I was absolutely in disbelief," said New York Assembly Member Emily Gallagher, who knew Carson before becoming a politician. 

Gallagher and Carson bonded over losing close friends to drug overdoses. 

In 2021, Carson walked from New York City to Albany to lobby for safe injection facilities.

For the last decade, Carson was a campaign manager with the New York Public Interest Research Group, most recently dealing with recycling and solid waste. 

"Trying to deal with the unreclaimed bottles and cans that litter New York streets, but he had been involved with lots of projects with us over the years," said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Sources told CBS New York police do not have a physical description of the suspect, but said the person was acting irrationally prior to the attack. 

Carson's girlfriend was not hurt. 

"It was so shocking. I'm there constantly," said Max Sabo, from Bed-Stuy. "It's terrifying." 

Gallagher said Carson had been sending out reminders for his upcoming birthday, adding he had a gift for bringing joy and comfort. 

"If you wanted to talk, he was absolutely always ready to talk, always there for you," said Gallagher. "It's hard when the person that you go to to talk about grief is the one who died." 

Police said no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. 

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