Stephen Pitcairn's family and extended family would like to express our sincere thanks for the incredible outpouring of love and concern that the people of Baltimore have shown us in the wake of his tragic death last week. Though Stephen's life was cut short by the cruel depravity of two individuals, in the aftermath of his death we have experienced the best of humanity from hundreds of others.
Thank you foremost to the man on St. Paul Street who came to Stephen's aid when he was attacked and who comforted him in his last minutes of life. You were an angel sent from God in his time of need. Thank you for being willing to risk yourself for someone you didn't know (Stephen was the kind of person who would have done the same, so it is fitting). We are forever grateful.
Thank you to the Baltimore police for quickly apprehending Stephen's killers while they still had the evidence that will ensure that they face justice. Thank you too for compassionately keeping his parents abreast of your investigation and helping them during each step.
Thank you to Stephen's friends at Johns Hopkins and in the Baltimore area who mourned with us across the miles and who even created a memorial for Stephen on what would have been his 24th birthday – with birthday cake and all. Your love for Stephen is evident and touched us deeply.
Thank you to the faculty and staff at Johns Hopkins who shared in our loss and for the many who traveled down to Florida to be at Stephen's funeral yesterday. Stephen loved Johns Hopkins and was thrilled to be a part of what you were doing. Thank you for the opportunity you gave him.
Thank you to the many who posted comments online or called letting us know that you wept with and prayed for Stephen's mother, father and sisters. Your sympathy and prayers have been felt.
Thank you to the people of Baltimore who have shared our shock and outrage at the senseless violence that was done to Stephen, and for rising up to demand that your leaders take real action to ensure the safety of all who live and work in your area.
Thank you lastly to the news media for covering Stephen's story. Thank you for honoring his memory as well as focusing a light on the problems in the city and the justice system that contributed to his death. We hope that your coverage will stir change that will result in a better, safer future for the people of Baltimore and will prevent others from suffering the same loss.
Thank you all again for your compassion and support. Let us not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (New Testament, Romans 12:21)
Nat Pitcairn, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The writer is Stephen Pitcairn's uncle.