Dante Austin, 27, apparently died of suicide at his desk inside the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office last Friday morning.
What We Know:
- It appears to authorities that Austin had a self-inflicted gunshot wound when he was found.
- He was an U.S. Army Veteran and the sheriff office’s first LGBTQ community liaison. This tragedy has hit the sheriff’s office hard.
- “This is a tragedy for the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community,” Sheriff Jewell Williams stated in a Facebook post Friday. “Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody.”
- After earning the highest score on the deputy sheriff’s exam, Austin was hired in November 2013. He was scheduled to be promoted to sergeant on July 1, Williams said.
- He was also working on getting his master’s master’s degree in public administration from West Chester University in Pennsylvania according to his Linkedin page.
- The Philadelphia LGBTQ community honored Austin while in the midst of preparing for Sunday’s Pride parade. The rainbow flag at Philadelphia’s City Hall was also lowered to half-staff in his honor.
- In her own Facebook post, Amber Hikes, executive director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, stated, “Our beautiful Dante was a powerful force and a loving friend, beloved by our communities and by me personally…”
- Hikes continued by stating “We will be feeling the devastation of this loss in every corner of our work, celebration, and love. It is nearly impossible to put into words how much he meant to all of us.”
May he rest in peace and may his friends and family find peace during this time.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide or high anxiety, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to chat with someone now.