GRAND SALINE – A 79-year-old Methodist minister who died after setting himself on fire on a busy street in this town of about 3,100 residents left behind a suicide letter asking the community to repent for its racism.
Charles Robert Moore, who had addresses in Allen and Sunnyvale, drove to Grand Saline on June 23, parked his vehicle in a Dollar General lot in the 500 block of East Garland Street, doused himself in gasoline and committed self-immolation, Police Chief Larry Compton said Tuesday.
Horrified witnesses ran to the man and tried to put out the fire. Another witness then arrived with a fire extinguisher.
"They got the fire put out, and the man was transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where he later died of his injuries," Compton said.
In the note, which Compton provided to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Moore – who is white - stated he was born in Grand Saline and grew up around racial discrimination.
His letter claimed that the community shunned blacks and resorted to violence, including hangings, burnings and decapitations.
"I will soon be 80 years old, and my heart is broken over this,” Morris wrote.
“America, and Grand Saline … have never really repented for the atrocities of slavery and its aftermath. What my hometown needs to do is open its heart and its doors to black people as a sign of the rejection of past sins.”
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