Kettering's police force and community is in mourning today following the sudden death of a "warm, caring, committed" PCSO and school officer.
Alex Franklin died at his home address sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning - hours after he was involved in an incident with a group of young people in Kettering.
The sad news has been met with an outpouring of tributes online by his colleagues and the Kettering residents he helped every day.
He was well-known as a "huge advocate for young people" who worked closely with schools like Kettering Science Academy and was a strong voice in the town's effort to tackle gang violence amongst teenagers.
Northamptonshire Police detective chief inspector Julie Mead (@CIJulieMead) tweeted at 4.45pm yesterday: "The truth is today has been sad and I admit to a few tears. My colleague and friend of many years PCSO Alex Franklin passed away last night leaving a huge gap in the police family.
"He was a huge advocate for young people a great PCSO & an all round legend. #RIP"
Northamptonshire Police is appealing for a video circulating online of one of its police community support officers (PCSOs) and a group of youths to be deleted for the sake of his family.
This newspaper wants to make it clear that no official cause of death has been confirmed at this stage, though one widely shared post suggested he had suffered a heart attack after the incident.
The announcement of his passing has been met online with dozens of heartfelt tributes to the community officer.
Northamptonshire's Chief Constable Nick Adderly tweeted: "Got the call this morning. How dreadfully sad and cruel. Such a dedicated family man, committed to serving his community with passion.
"He told me just a few short weeks ago that serving the community is what he was ‘born to do’. My deepest condolences to his wife and loved ones."
A spokesman for the workers' union Unison said: "We are so sad to hear that Unison rep PCSO Alex Franklin passed away suddenly this morning.
"Alex was a health and safety rep and an accredited Post Incident rep. He worked hard to ensure that our members worked in a safe environment and helped many who approached him needing help and support.
"Alex was a huge asset to our branch and he will be missed by all of us. We shall send our condolences to his family at this awful time.
"Members or reps that need support can contact CiC or the branch."
Other tributes have included:
@Northants999 Northants has had another major loss! R.I.P it was far too soon for you to go! You'll always be missed and remembered!
@PCSOHurst Devastated to read this! Alex is the epitome of community policing. Thinking of everyone during this very sad time RIP Alex
@PCSO7060 In absolute shock around the loss of one of our Police Community Support Officers. Alex was a great bloke had worked many shifts with him in Kettering, Corby & Wellingborough. He was also a great supporter of the cadet scheme when I started. #RIP thoughts with family & friends
@PSCOKirsten Absolutely lost for words Such a beautiful beautiful person. Rest peacefully Alex xx
@Willowplacecorb This is such sad news, Alex was an amazing PCSO and worked with us in so many positive town centre initiatives. Our thoughts and condolences to Alex’s family, his Police family and friends.
@Sgtsamdobbs Very sad to hear this and to find out that this was a young man who I met very recently and whose respect & good nature impressed me hugely. This was the night the A5 was closed earlier for roadworks.
@KevR321 The thin blue line got thinner last night! Hearing the very very sad news of a really respected and dedicated PCSO passing away! Always a pleasure to talk with you and plenty of great advice! You were the true definition of community policing on many levels! RIP ALEX
@c_hillery Gutted.... great host for county Schools challenge kept me on track and was great with the young people. #RIP
@JennyCameron Absolutely stunned that Alex is gone. Warm, caring, funny, committed Alex, always with a smile, always thinking about making the @ncsc_challenge a great fun but learning experience for the students. RIP Alex
@SuptMurray Such sad news. He was well known and respected in his private and professional life. One of the good people who couldn't do too much for everyone.