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DOTHAN, Ala. - An Alabama pastor and community activist believed to be the half-brother of the Rev. Al Sharpton has been charged with capital murder, accused of being the driver of a vehicle involved in a fatal shooting Sunday night.
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, 52, of Dothan, was arrested alongside the accused triggerman, Jamie Emmanuel Townes, 26, according to Dothan police officials.
Inside the crashed car was Breunia Jennings, 23, of Dothan. Jennings was dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
“Several people at the scene were detained and taken to the Dothan Police Department for interviews,” a department news release said.
It was following those interviews that Glasgow and Townes were arrested. Each is being held at the Houston County Jail with no bond.
The Dothan Eagle reported that Glasgow repeatedly questioned the murder charge against him Tuesday during his first court appearance.
“I don’t know why I am facing capital murder charges,” Glasgow said in court. “I’m not responsible for what someone else does. He just asked me for a ride to take him to look for his car.”
Glasgow was charged with capital murder under an Alabama statute that holds a person believed to have aided or abetted a criminal act equally liable for that underlying act.
The Eagle reported that Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish said during a Monday news conference that the shooting apparently stemmed from the theft of Townes’ car. Townes believed Jennings was the culprit.
“Instead of him notifying law enforcement, he took matters in his own hands and jumped in Mr. Glasgow’s vehicle to find Breunia Jennings,” Parrish said, according to the Eagle.
When they found Jennings, Townes opened fire, the police chief said.
“Several rounds were fired at the vehicle she was driving, but one struck her in the head that caused critical injuries,” Parrish said. “She passed from her injuries. I want the family of Breunia Jennings to know our thoughts and prayers go out to them during this time.”
Glasgow, who was convicted on drug charges in the 1980s and spent several years in prison, became a well-known community activist in the Wiregrass area of Alabama upon his release, the Eagle reported. He founded The Ordinary People Society, or TOPS, which serves as a community and homeless ministry in Dothan.
He also helped start Mama Tina’s Mission House along with his mother, Tina Glasgow. Tina Glasgow is listed as executive director and CFO of TOPS.
Kenneth Glasgow, whose middle name is listed in jail records as Cherden, typically refers to himself as Kenny Sharpton Glasgow and claims that the Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist and founder of the National Action Network, is his half-brother. The cover photo on his Facebook page is a photo of him and Sharpton together.
One of his friends commented that he and Sharpton look like brothers.
“LOL, we are,” Glasgow responded.
“No, for real blood brothers,” the woman said.
“Yes. You didn’t know that?” Glasgow replied.
Glasgow further explained his complicated ancestry in a June 2016 interview with Mobile’s WKRG.
“My name has always been Sharpton,” Glasgow told the news station. “We just used Glasgow when I was locked up for two (reasons). One, we didn’t want to taint the Sharpton name with my demise.
“And two, it was to protect me because we didn’t want someone who was a racist or bigot to kill me knowing I was Sharpton’s brother.”
Reporters with WKRG did some digging of their own on the matter and found an obituary for Al Sharpton’s mother, Ada, who died in March 2013 in Dothan. The obituary, which can be found online at the New York Amsterdam News, stated that she married a man named John Glasgow in 1938 and they had two children, Thomas Jefferson “Sonny” Glasgow and Ernestine “Tina” Glasgow.
Ada and John Glasgow moved to New York, while Sonny and Tina remained with their maternal grandparents in Alabama, the obituary said. The couple eventually divorced, and in 1951, she married Alfred Sharpton, with whom she had two children, Charidean “Joy” Sharpton and Al Sharpton Jr.
Ada and Alfred Sharpton Sr. split in 1964, the obituary stated, but it did not give the reason why.
In a November 2013 interview on OWN, the Rev. Al Sharpton told Oprah Winfrey in a November 2013 interview that his father ran off with Tina Glasgow one night.
“I wake up one morning, he’s gone,” Sharpton said. “And not only is he gone, my oldest sister from my mother’s first marriage.”
“How old was she?” Winfrey asked.
“She was around 18,” Sharpton replied.
“Yeah,” Winfrey said.
“Left with him and they had a child. And then they came and took my sister to live with them. And I thought, ‘Why did he leave me?’” Sharpton said.
Kenneth Glasgow is shown in a photo on the Eagle’s website standing alongside Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson at Ada Sharpton’s 2013 funeral, which was held at a church in Newville, Alabama. All three smile as a man identified as Kenny Glasgow sings at a microphone.
It is not clear from the information in the photo how the two Glasgows are related.
Kenneth Glasgow admitted to WKRG three years later that Al Sharpton Sr. was his father. He told the news station, however, that he didn’t need the Sharpton name for his own activism.
“I don’t need my brother’s clout,” Glasgow said. “My work speaks for myself.”
WTVY in Dothan reported that Glasgow and members of his organization participated in the nationwide March for Our Lives event, in which people marched against gun violence in dozens of cities across the country, just one day before the shooting for which he has been charged.
Glasgow took part in the march held Saturday in downtown Dothan.
The Dothan march organizers on Monday issued a statement clarifying that Glasgow was not one of the planners of the event, but merely a participant.
“Kenneth Glasgow was never a scheduled speaker at the march, nor did he participate in its planning,” the statement read, according to WTVY. “It frankly came as a surprise to organizers when the person from his organization who temporarily emceed the event at Porter Park (described him) as an ‘organizer,’ as he had never attended an organizational meeting or donated funds.
“The organizers of this event are relative newcomers to the area and unaware of the history surrounding many activists in this area. As such, they were not aware that Glasgow may claim credit that was not due him.”
The group also stated that its members were saddened by another young life lost to gun violence in the community.
“Breunia Jennings' family and loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers as they seek justice for her,” the statement said. “We stand behind them in advocating for any common-sense legislation that would have kept a gun out of her killer's hands.”