Mayor James L. Walls, Jr., of District Heights, Md., and past president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, was found dead in his home on Thursday. He also was past president of the World Conference of Mayors.
Paramedics were called to Walls’ home, and they found him unresponsive.
So far the cause of death is unknown, but foul play is not suspected. News reports said Walls suffered from an undisclosed illness.
Walls, who was in the middle of his third term as mayor, was 39. He was the city’s youngest chief executive, first elected to the job when he was 29. Six thousand people live in Washington Heights.
“We are saddened by the sudden loss of our friend, colleague and mentor,” said Priscilla R. Tyson, president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. “James was a leader who had a passion for people and communities, often going the extra mile in his work to improve and make things better. In fact, James received the first annual Nelson Mandela Leadership Award from the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials for his international work.”
The National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials is part of the National League of Cities.