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Police Ask Public for Help Amid Surge in Shots Fired Incidents

Alexandria has seen a spike in the number of shots fired calls over the last two months, and police are asking the public for help.

“While there is no acceptable level of gun crime, we are especially concerned about recent incidents in which conflicts between people have escalated to the use of firearms,” Police Chief Michael L. Brown said in a statement. “As we continue to make progress in these cases, we ask for the public’s help in providing any available information.”

There were 16 calls for shots fired in August and September, including the city’s second murder of the year on Sept. 30. On Sunday, police arrested a suspect in the death of 57-year-old John Pope, who was shot at his home on Sept. 30.

There have been 34 reports of gunfire throughout the city this year, and there were 37 reports of gunfire in 2019, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

“Of the 16 incidents in August and September 2020 involving shots fired, investigators have ruled out at least seven as having any connection to each other,” police reported in a press release. “These include two unrelated incidents involving neighbors, a domestic dispute, an accidental self-inflicted injury, and a robbery. One incident involved the arrest of a person who fired shots, with no victims or witnesses located.”

The release continued, “Detectives are working to determine whether any of the other nine incidents may be related, and to apprehend all those responsible. Several involved property damage and one involved a non-life-threatening injury. Five occurred in Old Town, and the Police Department has significantly increased patrol presence in those areas. The remaining four incidents occurred in different parts of Alexandria.”

There was a shootout in the West End on Sept. 13, and guns were drawn in a failed attempted robbery less than a mile away  on Sept. 30. In Old Town there have been five calls for shots fired over the last two months, and the surge in shooting led to an increased police presence over the summer in the Parker Gray neighborhood in Old Town.

The first murder of 2020 was also committed in the West End on July 29.

The most recent incident occurred early on Sunday morning. No suspects were arrested and no one was reportedly injured after shots were fired in the 100 block of South Whiting Street in the West End.

Graph via City of Alexandria

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