Authorities in Pennsylvania say a fellow officer has died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot.
According to Fox News, 27-year-old Dante Austin was the first openly gay deputy in the history of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office.
“Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody,” recalled Sheriff Jewell Williams.
Austin, who joined the agency in 2013, went on to serve as the city’s first LGBTQ community liaison, a promotion he received about two years ago.
In a statement confirming his death, the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs focused on Austin’s leadership and impact in his community.
“Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all,” the statement declared. “As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected our lives.”
The death, which occurred on the heels of Philadelphia’s LGBT Pride Month celebrations, is reportedly being marked by the lowering of a rainbow flags at both the sheriff’s office and city hall.
According to Penn Live, a statement revealing Austin’s official cause of death is set to be released after the conclusion of an investigation by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.
[Featured image: Dante Austin, handout]