The 44-year-old mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland, a city on the outskirts of Washington D.C., died from an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound” on Tuesday, the city stated in a release.
U.S. park police found the body of Mayor Kevin Ward (D) in Fort Marcy, a park in McLean, Virginia, according to WJLA.
The City of Hyattsville reported his death on Wednesday.
“It is with great sadness that we report that our beloved Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward passed away yesterday, January 25, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the city wrote in a release. “Mayor Ward was a valued and trusted leader and a fierce advocate for all the people of Hyattsville.”
Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward has passed. I last saw him as he worked to expand vaccine availability and create more affordable housing in his community. https://t.co/HhIWlP1ZuR
— Brad Bell (@Brad7News) January 26, 2022
Ward, a gay man, leaves behind a husband and two adopted sons, according to information from his campaign website. Ward and his family moved to Hyattsville in 2014.
“I am a pretty straightforward person,” Ward wrote on his website. “I believe in listening more than talking. But when I talk, I am not one to mince words or tell people what they want to hear. I believe in doing the work. I believe that if I can help someone, then I can change her or his life.”
Ward was elected to the Hyattsville City Council twice before he became interim mayor at the start of 2021. He took on the role after former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth resigned to start a black-centric political party called “Our Black Party,” WUSA reported.
Ward then won a mayoral election bid in 2021, carrying 57.8 percent of the vote, Hyattsville election records show.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) sent his condolences in a tweet to Ward’s family and the citizens of Hyattsville.
The First Lady and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward.
We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Ward family and the people of Hyattsville as they grieve this tragic loss.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) January 26, 2022
In the wake of Ward’s apparent suicide, City Council Vice President Robert Croslin will serve as interim mayor, according to WJLA.
“We are heartbroken at this loss and extend our deepest sympathy to his family,” the city said in its release.
Details regarding his services have yet to be announced, and the city asks that the privacy of Ward’s family be respected.
Hyattsville encourages community members who need grief counseling “to contact Community Crisis Services, Inc.: dial 211 and press 1 or call 800-273-TALK; or the Affiliated Sante Group crisis support line: 301-429-2185.”
It also lists the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.