ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Business was hopping as usual Wednesday morning at the Gas Mart in the 6000 block of W. Florissant in north St. Louis, but patrons were slower to smile and less likely to laugh as they chatted with friends.
The gas station’s located directly across the street from the district office of 7th Ward St. Louis alderman Gregory Carter, who was killed in a traffic crash, and most of those who stopped in to fill up were Ward 7 residents.
“He used to come in here all the time,” explained Gas Mart clerk Mike Thayer. “He was a very good gentleman.”
“He was like my son…he grew up with my son,” added customer Donald Smith. “It was the first thing I heard this morning when I woke up…shocking.”
Carpenter Donnell Dampeir was actually wearing a shirt with Greg Carter’s name on it, touting the alderman’s support for a community rebuilding project.
“He’d been doing a lot of work here (in the ward),” Dampeir said. “Just getting stuff together and doing a lot of building up, a lot of handyman services.”
“(Carter) was like Obama to us, you know…he was a real good person,” added fellow carpenter Derrick Wafford. “He’s gonna be missed.”
Another man walking in to pay for gas paused long enough to say he also knew Carter personally and agrees with Wafford’s assessment of the alderman’s character.
“Oh man, he brought a lot of changes to the community,” said Michael Daugherty. “He was involved in just about every aspect of the community, from unifying the neighborhood to dealing with problems whether it was gang-related or whatever.”
Daugherty also admired Carter’s open-door policy at his district office.
“If you had a problem you could go in, sit down, and talk to him,” he said.
Longtime friend Curtis Van said Carter’s influence was evident no matter where you went in the 27th Ward.
“He was doing a lot of improvements like getting the streets together, trying to help new businesses, planting new trees and stuff like that,” Van said. “I wonder who’s going to take his spot.”
There’s word now that the city’s election board will schedule a special election for October to fill Carter’s seat.
Carter had represented the 27th Ward for 13 years and would have been up for reelection next March.