Trumbull mourns 24 year-old native killed in D.C.
UPDATED Monday, 4:15 p.m. — The Trumbull community is reeling following the news that a town native and former intern for Congressman Jim Himes was stabbed to death at a Metro station in Washington D.C. over the holiday weekend.
Metro police have arrested a suspect wanted for the murder of 24-year-old Kevin Joseph Sutherland, according to the Associated Press.
Police say Jasper Spires was arrested Monday in connection to the murder of Sutherland, who grew up in Trumbull and was a former intern for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.
Police say the stabbing happened at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday aboard a train pulling into the station.
The incident may have occurred during a robbery. Read The Washington Post's coverage of the crime here.
Kevin’s father, Doug Sutherland is an active local Democrat in Trumbull. Kevin voiced support for his father last year, when Doug Sutherland was running for state representative in the 123rd District.
In a letter to the Trumbull Times Kevin wrote: “My dad and I both got involved in local politics at the grassroots level about 10 years ago, collecting petition signatures door-to-door. For me, that early experience in our neighborhood demonstrated the powerful effect public service can have on people’s lives. It led me to attend American University in Washington D.C. and to focus my career on improving our government. It led my dad, once retired, to continue to become more involved in local issues here in Trumbull.”
In his letter, published last fall, Kevin also talk about his "formative" experiences in Trumbull, including in Cub Scout Pack 261 at Daniels Farm Elementary.
First Selectman Tim Herbst released a statement from the town Monday on Kevin's murder, encouraging Trumbull residents to commit an act of kindness in his honor.
Below is his full statement:
"This afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit with Kevin Sutherland’s family and on behalf of the Town of Trumbull, I offer my sincere and profound condolences to his parents and the entire Sutherland family. Kevin was a bright and accomplished young man who had so much to offer. At 24, Kevin made a tremendous mark. After graduating from American University, Kevin served on the staff of Congressman Jim Himes and recently began a successful career in the private sector working for a political consulting firm. On behalf of all Trumbullites, we offer our prayers and support.
Earlier this afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with the Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser concerning the tragedy that unfolded this weekend. Mayor Bowser extended her deepest condolences to the Sutherland family and pledged her support in bringing his murderer to justice. I thanked Mayor Bowser for her support in this regard.
As I indicated to Mayor Bowser, I am deeply troubled by the circumstances of this case as they have been reported. The suspect, Jasper Spires, was arrested two days earlier for assault and was charged with a felony. This individual showed a clear propensity for violence and why this felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor is highly questionable. By reducing this charge to a misdemeanor, the assailant was allowed to walk and commit another act of senseless violence that took an innocent young man’s life far too soon. I am grateful that Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has pledged to conduct her own internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding this case. Questions must be answered and individuals must be held accountable.
I am asking all Trumbullites to commit to an act of kindness this week in helping others. Kevin Sutherland was known as someone who was selfless and always eager to help someone in need. I can think of no better way to honor his memory."
In a tweet on Sunday afternoon, Congressman Himes reacted to the tragedy:
"Am absolutely heartbroken by the tragic loss of intern, staffer & wonderful friend, Kevin Sutherland. I've known few as selfless & decent.”
Himes also made his photo on Twitter one of him and Kevin.
Many others in the community took to social media to voice their love and support for Kevin’s parents, Doug and Terry and share their experiences with Kevin.
Angela Bulkley of the Facebook Group Keep Trumbull Real, wrote in part on the page: “It is with deep sadness we acknowledge the loss of a member of our KTR family yesterday afternoon. His life was taken too early in violence and he leaves behind grieving family and friends.”
Vicki Tesoro, a Town Council Democrat, who is running for first selectman also shared her thoughts on the tragedy.
"Kevin Sutherland was a wonderful young man, a devoted son and friend. He had his entire future ahead of him. He was doing what many 24 year olds were doing last Saturday, meeting with friends to celebrate July 4th," she wrote on Facebook. "This random senseless crime is so tragic, so horrific and just so unfair. May Kevin rest in peace and may his wonderful, kind and devoted parents, Terry and Doug find peace with the help of their family, friends and our entire Community."