For Kiara Murphy, a 16-year-old junior at T.C. Williams High School, Wednesday, Dec. 7 began like any other day.
Murphy went to school, and then took a bus out to Landmark Mall where she has a part-time job. She was trying to get some extra hours for the holiday season. She had just arrived at the mall when she heard the news.
Her father, David, had been shot.
“I don’t understand why someone would do this,” she said. “He was such a nice man. He was too nice.”
Kiara treasured her relationship with her father, who had once been estranged from her. In 2002, as David Murphy sat in prison on a minor drug charge, she wrote him a letter that changed his life. She pleaded with him to become part of her life — to straighten up and make something of himself.
“He later told me that the letter changed his life,” said Kiara, who eventually moved in with her father on Patrick Street. “I had a year with him.”
Kiara remembers how she and her father enjoyed a playful relationship. He would create nicknames for her friends and take pleasure in long dinners with Kiara at the Wharf, where he was a regular. He liked to tease her, enjoying the small moments of life that had once been denied between a daughter and a father.
“When I was cleaning my room, he liked to come and move my shoes around,” she said. “He was very playful. He was my dad, but he was also my friend.”
DAVID CURTIS MURPHY, 37, was a longtime Alexandria resident. He attended T.C. Williams High School, but later transferred to Edison High School, where he graduated in 1986. He attended some classes at Virginia State University, but he left early to return to Alexandria.
In 2000, he took over his father’s business, Murphy's Trash and Hauling Service. In 2002, he repaired the broken relationship with his daughter. Family and friends said that they saw a change in Murphy — that he was finally getting his stride.
But then, at 5:09 p.m. on Dec. 7, he was gunned down while working on his truck. An unknown suspect approached him on Patrick Street and shot him, fleeing north during rush hour traffic on one of the busiest streets in Alexandria.
Traffic was temporarily rerouted while police investigated the crime scene.
David Murphy was the brother of Greg Murphy, who was indicted in October 2000 for the murder of 8-year-old Kevin Shifflett. Greg Murphy has been ruled incompetent to stand trial. The Alexandria Police Department is investigating the possibility that the two crimes could be related.
"There's nothing to indicate a connection," said Amy Bertsch, public information officer for the department. "We believe he could have been targeted, and that's part of the investigation."
No suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder. Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section of the Alexandria Police Department at 703-838-4711.