This is “a plea, if you will, for an assistance from anybody in the community who may have known Mr. Kirby, particularly in the past four to six weeks of his life,” Police Chief Earl Cook said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, announcing a reward fund for information about Kirby’s death.
Saying that Kirby’s work at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments took him all over the region and occasionally around the country, Cook reached out for information from anyone in the area or beyond.
He said that police do believe that the murder was “a deliberate act,” rather than the result of “a random type of dangerous person, looking for indiscriminate victims.”
“The intent was to take Mr. Kirby’s life, so we’re beginning there,” he said.
Police do not know why the 69-year-old policy expert would be violently singled out.
“Mr. Kirby had a very spotless reputation and deserved reputation personally and professionally,” Cook said. But “there are things about him and contacts that he would have had that we know we’re probably not aware of.”
After the news conference, Kirby’s wife, Anne Haynes, told reporters that she was mystified herself.
“I can’t imagine that anybody would have hurt my sweetheart in our home,” she said through tears. “I just can’t understand it, and I really hope that the public will support us to help solve this.”
The reward fund was launched Monday, and as of Tuesday had collected several thousand dollars. MWCOG Executive Director Chuck Bean pledged that Kirby’s former colleagues would contribute to the fund, which is being administered by the Del Ray Business Foundation.
“Ron Kirby was deserving of our respect in life and unfortunately now in death,” Bean said at the news conference, adding that he hoped the fund would help “bring some measure of closure or some measure of relief to this tragic episode.”
Kirby served as MWCOG’s Director of Transportation Planning for 26 years. An award has been created in his name, the Ronald F. Kirby Award for Collaborative Leadership, to honor non-elected government officials who help make the region a better place.
Donations can be made directly to the foundation or through the Del Ray Branch of Virginia Commerce Bank.