Monday, June 10, 2019

Philadelphia's first openly gay deputy sheriff found dead in apparent suicide

Philadelphia's first openly gay Deputy Sheriff committed suicide at his desk from an apparent gunshot wound on Friday, just before the city's weekend of pride celebrations were set to begin, it has been reported.

Dante Austin, 27, was found dead at his desk at the Philadelphia Sheriff's office.

An official cause of death is awaiting confirmation from the local Medical Examiner's office.

Austin was an Army veteran who also served as the department's first LGBTQ community liaison and was known as a "fierce advocate." He was set to be promoted to the position of sergeant next month, according to CBS Philly.

Sheriff Jewell Williams reflected on Austin's service with the Philadelphia Police Department, which he joined in 2013, and called his death “a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community.”

“Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody,” Williams said.