Police announce progress investigating ‘shots fired’ incidents, recovering ghost guns

Alexandria Police today announced the results of an investigation into a spree of confirmed shots fired calls late last year.

In a city press release, the police department said that 39 firearms had been confiscated since last October and that there have been 35 arrests. Some of the firearms confiscated, police said, were ‘ghost guns’ — privately made firearms without serial numbers that can be bought or built without a background check.

“This task force committed their time, energy and resources to making our community safe by getting dangerous weapons and people off the streets,” Chief Michael Brown said in the press release. “I commend their hard work and dedication to achieve these incredible results.”

One of those ghost guns was retrieved after a 25-year-old Alexandria man was arrested on May 10. The man was convicted in 2016 for unlawfully shooting or throwing a missile at an occupied dwelling under the jurisdiction of the Alexandria Circuit Court, and was under surveillance in the 4600 block of Duke Street when he allegedly threw his phone at police and briefly ran away, according to a search warrant affidavit.

As the suspect ran, he allegedly threw off his jean jacket, and inside was a ghost gun with a 17 round magazine fully loaded with 9mm bullets. He is now being held without bond for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

There have been 18 confirmed shots fired cases in 2021 — less than May of 2020, but exactly as many as in 2019. There were 11 incidents in September, nine incidents in October and then 11 incidents in September. APD would later team up with theU.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on investigating the steep uptick in gunfire incidents, which wounded city residents and terrorized communities.

The number of confirmed shots fired incidents has since dwindled. APD said that more information would not be released to the public to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.