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Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward dies, city says

Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward. (City of Hyattsville)
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Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward (D), a two-term city council member who was elected to lead the Maryland community last year, died Tuesday.

Ward, 44, was found in Fort Marcy Park in McLean with an apparent “self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. Park Police.

His death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media from his colleagues and lawmakers across the state, who described the mayor as a dedicated public servant who deeply loved the city of Hyattsville.

“Mayor Ward was a valued and trusted leader and a fierce advocate for all the people of Hyattsville,” said the statement from the city. “We are heartbroken at this loss and extend our deepest sympathy to the Mayor’s family.”

Ward and his husband moved to Hyattsville in 2014, after adopting two sons. He worked as a consultant in educational technology and human services technology, and as a Ward 1 council member, he cited among his accomplishments co-sponsoring legislation to designate Hyattsville a “sanctuary city,” expanding civic engagement and working to ensure Hyattsville Middle School remained a construction priority.

“I am a pretty straightforward person. I believe in listening more than talking,” Ward said on his campaign website. “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.”

State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (D), who called Ward a personal friend, said he had been unafraid “to live his truth as the first openly gay mayor of Hyattsville.”

“He will be missed for the leadership and support that he brought to Prince George’s County as well as the joy that he gave us with his radiant smile,” Braveboy said in a statement.

Ward became interim mayor at the beginning of 2021, after then-Mayor Candace Hollingsworth resigned. He won the May 2021 election with 58 percent of the vote.

“He was a wonderful partner in serving the needs of all our residents, and he accomplished so much for Hyattsville during his time as a Councilmember and his time as Mayor,” County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) said in a statement. “We will continue to uplift his family, friends and loved ones in our prayers during this difficult time.”

Maryland Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s), who worked with Ward on initiatives including bringing a mobile vaccination clinic to seniors, described Ward in a tweet as a “wonderful friend, father, husband, and fierce advocate for the city’s residents.”

Ward was beloved in Hyattsville, said county council member Deni Taveras (D-District 2), who added that even when she did not agree with him, she “always respected his devotion to the community.”

“I stand with his family and his children and his constituency at this time,” she said.

Hyattsville City Council Vice President Robert Croslin will now serve as interim mayor.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.