Updated at 2:45 p.m. November 12, 2013
By Erich Wagner (File photo)
Police said Tuesday that following an autopsy, they have ruled Monday’s “suspicious death” in the Rosemont neighborhood to be a homicide.
Spokeswoman Ashley Hildebrandt said that the autopsy revealed that 69-year-old Ronald Kirby died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his torso. Although she could not go into the details of the case, she said those wounds were not “immediately apparent” to first responders.
Hildebrandt said at around 12:30 p.m. Monday, a relative found Kirby, who had been director of transportation planning for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments since 1987, unconscious on the first floor of his home. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Police Chief Earl Cook said at a news conference Tuesday that while the investigation is still in its early stages, he said neighbors have no reason to fear for their safety.
“The investigation is now only 23, 24 hours long, so there’s obviously a lot of work left to be done,” Cook said. “But this is a quiet, stable community, a safe community. There’s no reason that neighbors or citizens be overly concerned that violence will continue in the neighborhood.”
Cook said investigators do not yet know if Kirby was specifically targeted, and said he could not elaborate on whether there were any signs of forced entry or theft from the home. But Hildebrandt said that there were no “apparent signs” of forced entry.
Cook said Kirby was last seen alive Monday morning.
COG Executive Director Chuck Bean said, in a statement, the group was devastated by Kirby’s death, calling him a leading transportation expert and key figure in the organization’s work.
“His deep knowledge and wise counsel assisted local, state and national officials in reaching consensus on the major transportation issues over the years,” Bean said. “More importantly, he was a trusted colleague and a dear friend to all of us at the council and his associates around the region. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time.”
City councilor Tim Lovain said he has worked on transportation issues with Kirby for many years and his death is a “terrible loss” for the region.
“The transportation planning board for [the COG] serves a critical role, but also one that has a lot of powerful members with their own self interests,” Lovain said. “With two states and the district pulling in different directions, he was the glue that held the team together for many many years. It’s just hard to imagine it without him.”
Lovain said that outside of transportation policy issues, Kirby was a nice guy and a beacon of integrity in the D.C. region.
“He was just a really nice guy, with a nice sense of humor,” Lovain said. “[He] was very well-respected by his staff, and although I think some people banged heads with him sometimes, they still respected him for his intelligence and his integrity and his determination to make the TPB an effective force for regional planning.”
Kirby’s death marks the fifth homicide in Alexandria in 2013. There were no homicides in 2012.
Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Criminal Investigations Section of the Alexandria Police Department at 703-746-6711.
Police are investigating what they are calling a “suspicious death” that took place Monday in the Rosemont neighborhood.
Spokeswoman Ashley Hildebrandt said around 12:30 p.m. a relative found a 69-year-old man unconscious on the 200 block of Elm Street. The man was pronounced dead by medics at the scene.
Hildebrandt said the department is investigating the death as “suspicious,” although they will wait until an autopsy is performed — hopefully Tuesday — before ruling whether it was a homicide.
“It’s kind of suspicious in that it’s not obviously natural causes,” Hildebrandt said. “There’s something about the manner of death that makes us feel we need to investigate it further.”
Police are withholding the victim’s identity until they have notified his next of kin.