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Murdered NYC Man Remembered As Loved And Cherished Environmentalist

A photo of Ryan Thoresen Carson, who was killed in an unprovoked attack while waiting for the bus in Brooklyn.
Environmental activists, city officials, family and friends continued to grieve on Tuesday over the unprovoked killing of Ryan Thoresen Carson, a 31-year-old Brooklyn man who worked for years as an advocate for environmental causes and harm reduction.

“He did so much for the city, and he was going to do so much more,” said Melissa Lozada-Oliva, a writer who met Thoresen Carson through poetry and mutual friends. “I’m so sad to not be able to see those things.”

Police said Thoresen Carson and his girlfriend were waiting at the B46 bus stop on the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard around 4 a.m. on Sunday when they were approached by a man who had been acting erratically and knocking over scooters.

The two were returning from a wedding on Long Island, and were less than a mile from Thoresen Carson’s home.

Police said the man, who did not know Thoresen Carson, approached him and began punching him on the right side of his chest, stabbing him multiple times before fleeing eastbound on Van Buren Street. Thoresen Carson was taken to Kings County Hospital, but couldn’t be saved. His round-framed glasses were visible on the sidewalk in photos of the crime scene.

Thoresen Carson had spent a decade working for the New York Public Interest Research Group, where he’d held a variety of positions in the community outreach program, according to a statement from the organization. In his most recent role as NYPIRG’s solid waste campaign manager, he led the organization’s drive to expand the state’s bottle deposit law.

In a statement, NYPIRG described him as a “beloved staffer” with “an engaging personality, hearty laugh and wide-ranging intelligence.”

Thoresen Carson’s friends said that when he wasn’t working, he spurred them into action for the causes most important to him.

Last spring, he encouraged Lozada-Oliva to write a poem about plastic waste, get on a bus to Albany and rally in support of the Better Bottle Bill , which aims to boost incentives for recycling and expand the state’s returnable container deposit program.

In 2021, after a close friend died from an overdose, Thoresen Carson walked more than 150 miles to Albany from New York City to raise awareness for overdose prevention centers and harm reduction resources. He also created the advocacy group “No OD NY.”

“I know Ryan’s grief saved a lot of lives,” Lozada-Oliva said. “And I know that our grief for Ryan will save a lot of lives, too.”

On Monday, more than 100 family members, friends and fellow advocates gathered for a vigil in Herbert Von King Park near Thoresen Carson’s Bed-Stuy apartment.

“So many people at his vigil last night told stories of him checking on them… helping them get through the hardest times they ever experienced in their life,” said state Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, who shared a close friendship with Thoresen Carson through their mutual passion for environmental causes and harm reduction. “Even in death, he’s still advising us on how to cope with his death, you know?”

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