Sign up to stay connected
Get the top stories of the day around the DMV.
Linda Harllee Harper, the District director of gun violence prevention and the executive director of the Office of Neighborhood and Safety Engagement, died Friday at the age of 58.
Harllee Harper’s cause of death hasn’t been announced.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser expressed her sorrow regarding Harper’s death.
“Our hearts are broken by the loss of Linda Harllee Harper,” said Bowser. “Linda was beloved in the community and within D.C. government. Linda loved D.C., she loved and believed in Washingtonians. She dedicated her career and life to our young people and our community, and when she had a seat at the table, she was bringing someone with her—always listening to and empowering people closest to the communities she was working to help.”
The mayor said Harllee Harper helped people constantly.
“She didn’t give up on people,” Bowser said. “Hearing Linda speak about our community and our youth, especially our most vulnerable young people, you knew that this was more than a career, this was her calling and her purpose. Our prayers and love are with Linda’s husband and son and the many people in our community who loved and admired Linda.”
Harllee Harper’s decades of work in the District government included the areas of juvenile justice, social services, criminal justice and public safety. In 2021, Bowser appointed Harllee Harper as the director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and in February, added the Neighborhood and Safety Engagement Office to her responsibilities.
Much of Harllee Harper’s work took place in Ward 8. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D) of Ward 8 said Harllee Harper’s death is a loss for his ward and the city.
“I contacted Linda to invite her to attend our ‘40 Days of Increased Peace’ partners’ meeting,” White said. “She never responded, which was not like Linda. She was always truly responsive.”
White said he later learned that Harllee Harper was seriously ill and expressed sadness at her passing.
“Linda will truly be missed as this unaccepted loss will have a tremendous impact on our community,” he said. “We offer our deepest and most sincere condolences to Linda’s family, friends, colleagues, and supporters. May she rest in heavenly peace.”
Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) said: “Linda was the most beautiful person, and I am just shocked and saddened.”
“She was a natural and skilled leader in the fields of juvenile justice and violence prevention, and she commanded every room she walked into with her smile, poise, and stature,” he said. “My heart goes out to her friends, family, colleagues, and all those she shaped and supported.”