The Fourth of July murder on a Metro train has horrified Washingtonians who have been stunned by the brutality of the killing. It was an attack carried out in front of several others who were unable to stop it.
The victim’s cousin, the former chief of staff to former First Lady Laura Bush, spoke with FOX 5 and said the family has no bitter feelings towards the people on the train.
Five days after Kevin Sutherland was viciously murdered on the Metro train, the flag on the campus of American University still flies at half-staff. It is a mark of respect for a recent graduate who had taken what he learned there and was soaring.
"He was very involved in student government at American University serving two times as secretary of student government," said Anita McBride. "He ran unopposed his second time because his first time was so successful. The school is in mourning."
His parents are as well as they are still numb over the loss of their only child.
It is a murder so horrific and so frightening that no one on the train that day stepped in to stop it.
"I know that our family is so rocked by the horrific actions surrounding Kevin’s death and how brutal that it was, and what they have read, what they have been told, what they understand is not only did things happen so fast, but happened in such a horrific and terrorized way that everybody on that car was terrorized by what they saw and frozen in fear,” said McBride.
Instead, she said Sutherland’s parents are comforted knowing someone on the train sat with their son after the attack.
"For any parent who loses a child, it’s so horrific and you are so bereaved,” McBride said. “But when you know something like this, your first thoughts are, ‘Was anybody there in my child’s last moments?’ And we are hoping what we have heard, that someone may have held his hand in those last few moments, and that is in fact the case,” said McBride.
Sutherland loved Washington and he loved photographing the city. Some of the photos he took of the U.S. Capitol and monuments will be on display at his funeral.
On Wednesday, Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut remembered his former intern with a speech on the House floor.
"I think there is a chance that 20 years from now, Kevin might have served in this chamber,” he said. “Now that’s not going to happen.”
“I think he saw something really special and remarkable in Kevin and knew he had a long future in this city,” McBride told us.
Jasper Spires is accused of attacking Sutherland on the Fourth of July as the two rode a Red Line train into the city -- first grabbing Sutherland’s cellphone before beating and stabbing the 24-year-old to death.
Sutherland was just 24 years old.
He will be remembered on Monday in a funeral service in his hometown of Trumbull, Connecticut.
He was working as a political digital strategist and had a knack for sharing policy on social media.
His parents said they have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from lawmakers and the hundreds of friends they didn't even know he had.