After a murder occurred outside St. Raphael Church in Rockville, Maryland, on Dec. 28, members of the parish prayed for the victim and suspect.

"We're all devastated by it," said Father Michael Salah, St. Raphael's pastor. "...We're praying for her son and for the repose of her soul."

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, announced on Dec. 29 that they had arrested a man suspected of murdering a woman outside the church's entrance on the previous day.

In a statement announcing the name of the suspect and victim in the case, the department announced that detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department’s Major Crimes Division arrested Kevin Justin McGuigan, a 21-year-old Rockville resident, with the first-degree murder of his mother, 49-year-old Jaclyn McGuigan, also of Rockville.

On Dec. 28, the police said that a homicide investigation was underway after a woman suffering from trauma to her upper body died outside the entrance of the church early that evening.

The next morning, the Montgomery County Police announced that a suspect had been arrested for that homicide. At that point, the police had not released the name of the suspect or of the victim. 

A press release from the police department said that at about 6 p.m. on Dec. 28, officers responded “to the report of an assault that had just occurred in front of the Saint Raphael Catholic Church and School,” which are located at 1513 Dunster Road.

The police statement noted that “responding officers located the victim outside of an entrance to the church suffering from trauma to her upper body,” and added that “the victim succumbed to her injuries at the scene.” 

A later statement said that the victim appeared to be suffering from wounds inflicted by a cutting type of instrument, and that “witnesses, officers, and Fire & Rescue personnel attempted life-saving measures” before the woman died. Witnesses said a suspect who had been standing over the victim fled in a Honda sedan, which police found in a nearby park. 

The Dec. 29 statement noted that police discovered that the vehicle was registered to Jaclyn McGuigan, and “officers observed property in the vehicle that was determined to belong to Kevin McGuigan.”

Kevin McGuigan was arrested around 7 a.m. on Dec. 29 at a gas station in Rockville and charged with first-degree murder.

At a Dec. 30 Sunday Mass at St. Raphael, Father Salah offered a special prayer in the wake of the incident, saying, "You have heard on the news of the tragic incident that occurred outside our school on Friday night. Let us take a moment to pray for peace in our hearts, our families and in our community."

A Dec. 28 statement on the website for St. Raphael School noted, “We are aware of the news reports about a fatal stabbing outside the front entrance of St. Raphael’s and are monitoring the situation. There were no school-related activities happening at the campus this evening. Principal Teri Dwyer has notified parents and staff and will follow up with more information as it becomes known. In the meantime, please keep the victim and her family in your prayers.”

In a statement issued that evening to News4, the Archdiocese of Washington said, “At this time, we have little information on what happened, but the incident does not appear to be related to the parish or school. The parish staff who were on site this evening have been speaking with the police and they are cooperating with the police investigation. We extend our heartfelt prayers to the individual’s family.”

In a Dec. 30 online article, the Washington Post reported that Jaclyn McGuigan was a breast cancer survivor whom a niece described as a "rock" of support to her family members and friends. The Post article noted that bouquets of flowers had been placed around the flagpole outside the church and school near the site of the woman's death.

The Montgomery County Police department press release also said that anyone with information regarding this homicide investigation is urged to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.