Charles Joseph Reynolds Credit: Karis Hastings

The family of Charles Joseph “Joe” Reynolds spoke out Saturday to share memories of the husband, father and volunteer who was “always willing to go out of his way to help,” a month after he was fatally shot in a downtown Silver Spring garage.

Police report they have no suspect in his death.

Reynolds, 62, was slain Dec. 21 in a Wayne Avenue garage after a family outing to a restaurant. He was putting leftovers in his car before he was to join up with family members for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. 

He was a “devoted husband and an amazing parent” to his three daughters, recalled his widow, Karis Hastings, a lawyer. 

“Each one of us knew unconditionally that if there was something within Joe’s power that would make our lives easier or better, Joe would do it without ever being asked,” Hastings said in a statement to Bethesda Beat. “Joe embraced his daughters’ interests with enthusiasm, rejoiced in their accomplishments, and did whatever he could to support their activities. He attended field hockey and golf matches, math competitions, softball tournaments, academic presentations, plays and musicals, and countless soccer games.”

Reynolds had studied electrical engineering at Auburn University. After working for the federal government for many years, he retired and took a job at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory to work in national security, including U.S. Cyber Command, according to an online obituary.

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Reynolds enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family, especially through outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, disc golf and pickleball, according to the family. He was athletic and handy.

He was instrumental in helping the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church connect to Zoom services during the pandemic, according to the obituary, and volunteered as an IT manager with the nonprofit Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER).

“Joe was the best of us, an exemplary human being,” according to Bruce Baker, co-founder and executive director of CHEER. 

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“He saw problems and fixed them. He never asked for anything in return. He gave without ever being asked and declined compensation or reimbursement,” Baker wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat. “His explanation was ‘You [at CHEER] are good at helping people. My job is to take care of things I can take care of so you can focus on what you do well.’ Whenever there was a technical problem or project, he figured out what was needed and fixed it.”

“We enjoyed his warmth, loving kindness, and conversation. We miss him terribly. Our deepest condolences go to his family for whom he displayed such love and care,” Baker wrote.

Reynolds’ family echoed these sentiments.

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“Joe had a tremendously generous spirit and was always willing to go out of his way to help his family, friends, or community. It’s not that he didn’t value his time – he just valued the ability to be useful even more,” Hastings said in her statement. “If you had a computer problem, a car that wouldn’t start, a malfunctioning appliance, or virtually any other kind of electrical or mechanical issue, Joe would do his best to fix it. And if you needed to get somewhere or have something picked up or dropped off, Joe would willingly do the driving, spending hours in his car, running errands for others.”

An alcove in a stairwell of the Wayne Avenue garage houses a makeshift memorial, with bouquets of red and yellow roses, a candle adorned with the Virgin Mary and a police flier offering a $10,000 reward for information “on the murder of Joe Reynolds *loving husband, father, friend.”

At a news conference held shortly after the shooting, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said police had no leads on the shooter. In a Jan. 20 email to Bethesda Beat, Montgomery County Police Department’s Director of Public Information Shiera Goff said there were no updates in Reynolds’ case.

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Asked about the case, County Executive Marc Elrich stated Reynolds’ shooting was the only homicide that occurred in the downtown Silver Spring area last year. “It is a horrible thing that happened, and it makes everybody feel insecure. So, we’ve got to deal with that insecurity. We have to make sure the police are adequately staffed,” Elrich said.

County Council Member Kate Stewart, a friend of the family for many years, said the whole community is affected by the tragedy.

“Joe led his life in service to his community and family. I join the Reynolds and Hastings families in their grief and carry Joe’s memory with me as we continue our work to make our community a place where all feel welcome and safe,” she said in a statement to Bethesda Beat.

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Reynolds’ family members said they are heartbroken about his death. 

“We hope that the many people whose lives Joe touched will honor his memory,” Hastings wrote, “by being a little more like him – giving of their time and talents to help others.”

Apps Bichu reports on growth and justice. She can be reached at apps.bichu@bethesdamagazine.com