Jacob Carter, co-founder of Tacoma, Washington’s Howdy Bagel cafe, was murdered while vacationing with his husband and business partner in New Orleans.
According to The News Tribune, Carter’s husband Daniel Blagovich said they were attacked while walking near the intersection of Bourbon Street and Kerlerec Street at around 1:30am on Friday morning. The assailant reportedly shot Carter and fled the scene. By the time police arrived, Carter was pronounced dead. He was 32 years old.
“He died in my arms,” Blagovich said. At this time, no arrests have yet been made.
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“Investigators are gathering evidence and information to identify the person(s) responsible for this incident and a motive,” the police said in a statement.
After losing both of their jobs during the pandemic, Carter and Blagovich began home-testing recipes for bagels in their kitchen. Their passion for baking quickly grew into a business, starting with farmer’s markets and pop stands, and culminating in a brick-and-mortar storefront that opened its doors last summer.
The shop has closed temporarily in the aftermath of Carter’s death, with his family asking for privacy. A GoFundMe page has been organized in order to support employees and the business during this time. Within 24 hours, it had accrued three times its original goal of $50,000.
“If you knew Jake, you know he was someone who exuded kindness, warmth, and genuine care to everyone he met,” Howdy Bagel’s Instagram post announcing the death read. “Jake was one of the brightest spots in the lives of everyone he loved. This loss is immeasurable for our community.”
Olympia Coffee, where Carter worked part-time, also offered condolences. “Words cannot express the shock and pain we are in as a team at Olympia Coffee,” a statement on Instagram read. “Jake Carter was a close friend to so many in our community.”
Carter grew up in Texas and became a documentary photographer in the Middle East before settling down in the Seattle/Tacoma area. That Texan greeting, “Howdy,” had a special resonance for Carter that he wanted to carry over to Howdy Bagel.
“It kind of invokes this sense of warmth and bringing people together, bringing people in and I think we are trying to foster a place of inclusiveness to everyone,” Carter told King5 last year.
“Daniel and I both grew up in environments they were not always that way, especially to queer folks, and so to have a storefront that feels welcoming to everyone I think is a big part of who we are and what we believe the space should be.”
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