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BREAKING: Student killed after fight at Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s

(Updated 5/26/22) A teenager from Alexandria City High School was killed during a “large fight” at the Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s, police say.

According to scanner traffic, the incident started around 12:21 p.m. with a call about a brawl happening at the McDonald’s at 3646 King Street. Police said one person was stabbed and critically injured, then pronounced dead at the hospital.

“We responded to a large group fight in the 3600 block and King Street,” said Alexandria police spokesman Captain Courtney Ballantine. “During the fight, an 18-year-old was critically injured and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. We confirmed it was a male and we confirmed that it was an ACHS student. We do not have any suspect information. It’s still ongoing.”

In a message this evening, ACHS Principal Peter Balas told the school community the student killed was senior Luis Mejia Hernandez.

Today is a day of great sadness at Alexandria City High School (ACHS). I am saddened to share with you the news of the passing of one of our Titan seniors from the Class of 2022, Luis Mejia Hernandez. Luis died today, May 24, 2022 and he will be greatly missed by the Titan community, especially in the International Academy.

Today, the administrative and support teams met with teachers and staff who work with Luis. In addition, the administration met with all ACHS staff at the end of the school day to discuss the incidents of the day. On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed, and will always and forever be a Titan.

Balas said that ACHS will have an asynchronous virtual learning day tomorrow (Wednesday).

“Transitioning to virtual learning for our students tomorrow will allow our school community the time and space to grieve and process this loss,” Balas said. “We will have support team members from the schools, Department of Student Services & Equity and the City’s Department of Community and Human Services available on site for anyone who needs that support.”

Hernandez’s death marks the city’s third homicide of 2022. A teenager was killed in an attempted carjacking in Potomac Yard earlier this month.

Police said around 30-50 people were involved in the fight outside the McDonald’s.

“So many people were involved we’re still trying to weave through the video and witnesses to determine what we’re looking at,” Ballantine said. “What we’re looking at is 30-50 people.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Escobar at 703-746-6819. Callers can remain anonymous.

The Bradlee McDonald’s has seen its share of fights before, with one person injured in a fight there last year and a juvenile shot last September.

The nearby Alexandria City High School campuses were placed in “secure the building” status and later had a staggered dismissal as a result of the incident.

According to ACPS:

Due to an ongoing police investigation of an incident off campus, the secure the building status at the King Street and Minnie Howard Campuses of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) will not be lifted until 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, May 24, 2022. This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our students and staff. Please refrain from coming to pick up your students prior to 3:15 p.m. Families who pick up their students from school at the regular time should expect delays.

In addition, we will be conducting a staggered afternoon dismissal of students today starting at 3:15 p.m. This means that students will be dismissed in smaller groups and led by staff to exit the school building. Please expect delays and note that students may get home from school later than usual. All after-school activities are also canceled and ACHS students are expected  to go home immediately after dismissal.

The safety and security of our students and staff is the most important priority. Thank you for your partnership and patience while we focus on getting students and staff out of the building in a safe and timely manner.

We will continue to communicate to provide families with the most up-to-date information.

Alexandria’s DASH network also tweeted that buses would temporarily not be running to the Bradlee Shopping Center.

James Cullum contributed to this story

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