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Philadelphia: First Gay Cop Recruit is Suicide

Thomas Kalt, Jr., 26, Distraught Over Personal Issues

Had Been Well-Received by Philadelphia Police

Compiled By GayToday

gaycops.gif - 5.66 K Philadelphia-- Heading off any unfounded rumors of foul play in the death Wednesday of Thomas Kalt, Jr., 26, an openly gay police recruit who'd only recently graduated from the police academy, Philadelphia's Mayor Rendell announced that Kalt's decision to take his own life had had nothing to do with his recent three weeks' experience as a member of the city's police force.

"It was a personal matter," explained the Mayor, "and the only good news in what is obviously a tragic result is that his coming out and saying he was gay on the police force, which is really a first, did not in any way engender any antipathy or any hazing or harassment."

A single bullet from his own service revolver killed Kalt. He died in the open air in a park near Independence Hall, putting the gun to his head. The gun was found three feet from his body.

Philadelphia Gay News Publisher Mark Segal said of Kalt that he was a fine officer and that he and others would always regard Kalt as a hero for having courageously broken ground –being a pioneer in his field—in Philadelphia.

Kalt's contributions to the City of Brotherly Love had been many, including his work for AIDS organizations and other community ventures. He was well thought of, apparently, as a respected helper of persons in difficulty.

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According to local accounts, two suicide notes were found. Friends also reported that Kalt had recently faced a break-up with a companion and had felt distraught about it.

Monday, Kalt had purposefully resigned from the police force. On December 15 he'd been one of 326 who'd graduated from the police academy.

Police Commissioner John Timoney also stated that there's no indication Kalt's death was the result of any problems he had with the police department, with his assignment, with the men and women he worked with….It is really just a sad day for this organization.''

Last month, after graduating, Kalt told a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News:

"I can't say enough how well I've been treated and what a great sense of teamwork I've felt at the academy. I've never experienced anything like it."

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