The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
A Philadelphia sheriff’s deputy who was a leader in the city’s gay community, and who a state legislator said “lifted up every room he ever stepped foot in,” was found dead at his desk in his Center City office Friday morning.
Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin, 27, was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the office headquarters at 100 South Broad St., Sheriff Jewell Williams said. Police and medics raced to the building at 6:45 a.m. Friday, police said. Williams confirmed Austin’s death shortly after noon.
Austin, a U.S. Army veteran who was working in the Civil Enforcement Unit, was scheduled to be promoted to sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office on July 1, Williams said.
The mayor’s office has ordered the flag at City Hall to be flown at half-mast. Last year Austin and his partner were Philadelphia Pride’s first grand marshal couple. Coworkers say he had been upbeat in recent days.
Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community lost one of our best & brightest last night! Dante Austin was one of the strongest & kindest champions for equality I’ve ever met. He lifted up everyone he touched. He supported everyone who needed him. He cared deeply & loved loudly. pic.twitter.com/DKfzbQ86pw
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) June 7, 2019
Rest In Peace, Dante Austin.
This is was very unexpected and devastating. But I hope community will remember you for your compassion and dedication.
Gone too soon, I will remember when you first came to the scene a few years ago.https://t.co/aego6p1CsO
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) June 7, 2019
We are saddened by the sudden loss of Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin. “This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community,” said Sheriff Jewell Williams. pic.twitter.com/BVHmBr3ZGA
— Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office (@PhilaSheriff) June 7, 2019
Philadelphia’s rainbow LGBTQ flag outside City Hall flies at half-staff as the city’s sheriff’s office and LGBTQ community mourn the loss of up-and-coming deputy and community leader Dante Austin. https://t.co/YibSTQGMvc
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) June 7, 2019
Friends of the late Deputy Sheriff Dante Austin gathering at William Way Center in his memory. He committed suicide at his desk Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/P7Qhm7VuFw
— Mensah M. Dean (@MensahDean) June 7, 2019