Alexandria, VA

The man wanted in connection to a series of shootings in North Old Town early Monday morning is now in custody.

Virginia State Police say Mitchell D. Thompson, a 26-year-old Alexandria resident, turned himself in.

“He is in police custody and being processed on the felony warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon,” said VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller. “Additional charges are pending, as the investigation remains ongoing at this time.”

State police released additional information Monday night about incidents that led authorities to urge residents to lock themselves in their homes and eventually resulted in a shootout in which one suspect died.

The series of events started with an armed robbery at the Holiday Inn on First Street around 5 a.m. Almost an hour later, two suspects, including Thompson, were spotted, ran from police, and engaged in a shootout during which an officer was shot, VSP said. Just before 6:30 a.m., following a K9 search, one of the suspects was located and a second shootout between the suspect and police ensued, after which the suspect was found dead.

More from a state police press release:

The incident began Monday at approximately 5:01 a.m. when the Alexandria Police Department received a 911 call for shots being fired at a hotel in the 600 block of First Street in Old Town Alexandria. As officers were responding to the scene, two individuals involved in the shooting had fled the hotel on foot. A perimeter was immediately established and search efforts were underway. Further investigation at the hotel determined that an armed robbery had taken place inside the hotel. No one inside the hotel was injured.

At approximately 5:50 a.m., an Alexandria Police Officer located two suspects – one of them Thompson – and a foot pursuit was initiated. When the officer and the two adult males reached the intersection of North Royal Street and Second Street, the officer and one of the two suspects exchanged fire. The officer was shot and both suspects fled the scene again on foot. The officer has been treated and released for non-life threatening injuries sustained in the shooting.

The search perimeter was expanded and police K9 teams located, at approximately 6:24 a.m., one of the suspects near the intersection of Montgomery Street and North Fairfax Street. As Alexandria police officers engaged with the adult male suspect, shots were fired by both the suspect and officers on scene. The male suspect died at the scene. A stolen firearm was recovered in the male suspect’s possession. No law enforcement at this location were injured.

The man’s remains have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy. Next of kin notification is still pending.

The investigation remains ongoing at this time into all three incidents by state police, with the assistance of the Alexandria Police Department and the ATF.

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It’s the end of a busy week in Alexandria!

Our top story was the Del Ray car crash on Mount Vernon Avenue, and there’s some good news to report. The driver, who crashed her car due to a medical emergency, was sent home without any injuries the following day.

The city also experienced flooding after Thursday’s rainstorms, prompting the City Council to get an oral report on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stormwater management improvements. As reported, there have been more than a half dozen flood events in Alexandria this summer.

Council also received a report on the establishment of a community police review board, and sent it back for some additions. Namely, Council asked staff to include an option that would give the review board independent investigative authority, an action that prompted a police union to call the idea of the review board “superfluous.” Incidentally, crime stories are among the top articles read every week on ALXnow.

This was also the first week of the historic 2020-2021 school year, and with classes starting virtually it will be an altogether different experience than years past.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Driver Suffers Life Threatening Injuries in Del Ray Car Crash
  2. UPDATED: Flooding Reported in Parts of City After Heavy Rain
  3. Planning Commission Approves Density Compromise Despite Outrage from Civic Associations
  4. Video: Protestors Perform ‘Die-In’ Outside Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf’s Alexandria Home
  5. Arrest Made After Shots Fired in Old Town
  6. Police Investigating Public Indecency Incidents in Del Ray
  7. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  8. Council to Vote on Requiring Face Masks in Alexandria
  9. Just Listed in Alexandria
  10. Hundreds in ‘Trumptilla’ Boat Parade Sail Past Alexandria
  11. Alexandria Woman Uninjured in Tuesday Carjacking at Gunpoint in Potomac Yard

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria has put another summer work week to rest.

As the City Council enjoys a legislative break, the School Board conducted a virtual meeting to discuss the renaming process for T.C. Williams High School. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., and the board advocate a public engagement process that could result in the board voting to change the name this December, followed by a vote on a specific name next spring. A group of community activists, however, believe that the name should be taken off immediately, since ACPS acknowledged Williams was an avowed racist and segregationist.

This week, readers also responded to stories about public safety, local businesses, entertainment, real estate listings and an update on absentee ballot requests.

Not included in this week’s list is Friday’s story about an increased police presence in Old Town after an uptick in violent crime.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Fire Department Says $1 Million in Damages and 21 People Displaced in West End Fire
  2. Lena’s in Del Ray Applies for Large Second-Floor Expansion and To-Go Alcohol Sales
  3. New Convenience Store ‘Old Town Mini Mart’ Coming to King Street
  4. Police Investigating ‘Shots Fired’ Report in West End
  5. Man Arrested for Forging Over $10,000 in Checks from Alexandria Dentist
  6. Del Ray Shell Station Robbed on Saturday
  7. ACPS Still Cutting Down 150-Year-Old Tree, Preparing for Parker-Gray Stadium Renovation
  8. Drive-In Movies Coming to Alexandria on August 29
  9. Truck Lit on Fire, Stripped of Identification at City Impound Lot
  10. Listing of the Day: 428 N Washington Street
  11. Alexandria Sees Record High Absentee Ballot Requests

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police arrested a 25-year-old Black man in May on multiple charges, including driving under the influence, assault on police, obstruction of justice with force, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Police also found a silver-colored Taurus Hy-lite revolver fully loaded in the center console, in addition to several open bottles of beer and six round of ammunition hidden in a wine bottle in the front passenger door, according to the affidavit.

The incident occurred at around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14. Alexandria police were dispatched to a call for service at the Speedway gas station at 620 S. Patrick Street and found the suspect, Michael Jerome Thompson, Jr., allegedly unable to pump gas into his white Lincoln Navigator, according to a search warrant affidavit.

“He physically resisted arrest on the scene by kicking officers. Multiple officers,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “The vehicle was impounded for the DUI.”

There were four police officers at the scene and none were injured, Ballantine said.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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An Alexandria teenager was arrested on May 13 for illegal possession of a firearm and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

On May 13, Alexandria Police were called to the 300 block of Tancil Court in Old Town after receiving multiple drug complaints. Officers observed a group of known and unknown individuals “loitering in the area,” noted a search warrant affidavit.

One of the young men is a minor known to police, and police saw him with a group “repeatedly using his right elbow and forearm to tap his right hip,” according to the affidavit.

Police confiscated the firearm and a Ziploc bag containing “11 individually wrapped baggies of marijuana weighing 51.1 grams (1.8 ounces),” in addition to $150, a digital scale and an iPhone, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The minor told police that he was under 18 years of age, and admitted to “trading marijuana to an individual in exchange for the firearm,” according to the affidavit.

The incident occurred less than a mile from where a 17-year-old was shot in the back while playing basketball on the evening of March 31. That incident is still under investigation, and police believe it was a targeted attack.

Map via Google Maps

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A 53-year-old Alexandria man was arrested today on charges of producing and distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Abel Ambrocio was arrested for allegedly instructing an adult woman on Facebook to send him more than 100 pictures of the woman sexually exploiting a three-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl. He then allegedly sent the photos to another person, and the activities occurred over the course of several months, according to court documents.

Ambrocio faces up to between 15 and 50 years in prison if found guilty, although actual sentences for federal crimes are “typically less than the maximum penalties,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia press release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.

File photo

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A 34-year-old Fairfax County man has been arrested and charged with statutory burglary after an April crime spree in Alexandria.

Alton Thodos, 34, who lives in the Alexandria part of Fairfax County, was arrested on April 27, for committing four burglaries from gas stations in Del Ray and Old Town at night. He is accused of stealing more than $45,000 worth of items.

The incidents occurred during a period that Alexandria Police shifted staff around and sent a large portion of officers assigned to patrol the streets home to telework.

On Friday, April 10, at around 9:30 p.m., Thodos was allegedy captured on security video breaking into Greg’s Automotive at 3507 Mount Vernon Avenue.

“Alton Thodos is captured on security video, arriving at the scene of the crime, in the same vehicle as two unknown accomplices,” notes a police search warrant affidavit. “He can be seen using a cellular telephone as a light source, to locate a tool from the trunk of his vehicle, to facilitate the burglary. He used that tool to shatter a garage door window to enter the business. He is further observed coordinating with two unknown accomplices to steal two vehicles from the premises.”

Hours later, at around 2:50 a.m. on Saturday, April 11, Thodos allegedly burgled the Shell Service Center at 1600 Mount Vernon Avenue — approximately 1.2 miles away from the first incident.

“He is captured on security video arriving in a vehicle, with an unknown accomplice,” notes the affidavit. “He is further observed forcing entry to the business by means of shattering a garage door window. He removed cigarettes and other merchandise, valued in excess of $500.”

Another burglary occurred on Monday, April 13, at around 3:50 a.m., and Thodos is accused of breaking into the Exxon Service Center at 501 South Washington Street in Old Town by shattering a garage door window, and then stealing a car and $600 in merchandise. A week later, on April 20 at around 4:50 a.m., Thodos allegedly smashed the garage door window of the Old Town Exxon Service Center at 834 North Washington Street — approximately 1 mile away from the other Old Town location — and allegedly stole $120.

Police said that Thodos’ phone, which was allegedly used as a flashlight, identified him, in addition to the similarities of the incidents.

“A review of the security video revealed the visible glow, which is believed to be a cellular telephone, in his front left pocket,” notes the affidavit. “His identity was further confirmed by latent fingerprints, recovered from three of the four burglaries.”

Thodos has been arrested on numerous occasions, including after escaping a police barricade at the Virginia Lodge Motel in Belle Haven after a crime spree in 2018. At the time, he was wanted for credit card fraud, credit card theft, grand larceny and violating his probation. A search for Thodos prior to his arrest even led to the brief closure of the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in D.C.

Teleworking And The Alexandria Police Department

Last month also saw a huge jump of more than 700 positive COVID-19 cases in Alexandria. On April 14, the department reported to ALXnow that since March 30 there had been a 42% reduction in service calls and a 91% decrease in traffic stops since the Governor announced his stay at home order. Police also temporarily suspended most traffic enforcement (except egregious driving violations endangering public safety).

“In order to limit unnecessary exposure of officers and the public to COVID-19, the Department has modified its response to certain lower priority calls for service,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow last month. “This direction, which provides a procedure for ensuring appropriate response to calls for service, shall remain in place until rescinded by the chief of police.”

Between April 6 and May 2, the Alexandria Police Department reduced its enlarged patrol presence (school resource officers, K-9 officers, traffic safety section officers and community relations officers) and on any given day had one-third of assigned patrol officers off the street and teleworking at home. The city, which says APD maintained minimum staffing levels, ended the teleworking practice after four weeks, and said it was an “innovative” solution to “help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A man was also shot in Old Town on April 13, and there were multiple calls for shots fired.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that he wants all Alexandria Police officers assigned to patrol the streets to do so. No other first responding departments in the city had employees teleworking, including the Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services.

“Over the past few years we have made new investments in public safety personnel in police and fire,” Wilson said. “We certainly want to make sure that we have all of our required personnel on the streets serving the public, while ensuring the safety of all of our personnel.”

On April 27, Alexandria Police Chief Mike Brown wrote an email to Deputy City Manager Debra Collins and said that limiting exposure to patrol personnel during the pandemic is a “regional and even national practice.”

“This is usually in response to declines in call for service during the pandemic and with state stay at home orders,” Brown wrote. “We combined almost of our field operations staffing into one patrol schedule to enable us to put a third of the field operations staff on telework each week in a rotating assignment.”

Brown wrote that teleworking officers were given specific tasks, including following up on e-filed cases, completing mandatory training requirements and “other administrative activities important” for the Field Operations Bureau.

Wilson said that he started asking questions regarding teleworking when an individual with the Sheriff’s office began making inquiries, and that he notified his fellow council members that the practice was halted.

“I notified my colleagues of the inquiries that had been raised by an individual in the Sheriff’s Department and I later notified them when I learned the policy was changed,” Wilson said.

The decision to move patrol officers off the street was made by Brown and Deputy Chief Don Hayes, and was sanctioned by City Manager Mark Jinks.

“In order for this schedule to work effectively and give the officers some well-deserved relief, all FOB (Field Operations Bureau) staff assigned to our specialty units will be temporarily assigned to a patrol shift,” Hays wrote in an interdepartmental email on March 31. “This modified schedule will decrease the amount of time patrol officers will be responding to CFS (calls for service) and give them an option of supplementing their schedule through teleworking.”

In a deleted Facebook post, an APD officer was photographed teleworking at home by his significant other, and the following message was posted along with his picture on April 16: “Police officers can work from home, but I can’t. But he sure is handsome AND I don’t have to worry about him, so I guess it’s not SO bad.”

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Morning Notes

Victory Center Property Sold to Townhouse Developer — “Winchester Homes plans to build 138 townhouses ranging from 1,700 SF to 2,600 SF on the site. Winchester has built over 20,000 residential units across the Mid-Atlantic, including six communities that have opened in the last year. The deal comes after the Alexandria City Council in May approved a rezoning of the site’s 7-acre eastern parking lot that allows for a mix of uses. Two weeks later, Stonebridge acquired the property from PGIM Real Estate for $43M.” [Bisnow]

Alexandria Woman Arrested for Breaking Quarantine in Hawaii — “Kauai police arrested 31-year-old Desiree Marvin of Alexandria and 36-year-old Hawaii resident Adam Schwarze after they ignored orders to immediately self-quarantine.” [Alex Times]

Burke & Herbert Bank Responds to Limit on PPP Loans — “The Bank also has many applications in various stages of completion that had not yet been entered into the SBA system. While the SBA no longer is allowing us to submit applications to them at this time, we believe that it is in our customers’ best interest to continue finalizing these applications, collecting all required information and documentation, and readying them for immediate entry should new funding become available. Please continue to work with your banker to ensure that we have a complete application package ready for your business.” [Burke & Herbert]

Polk Elementary School Student Pens Inspiring Message — “This virus spreads. So can kindness. We’re in this together!” [Facebook]

Cheesetique Thanks Delivery Driver — “This is why it’s no exaggeration when I say that Malcom’s arrival is heralded with shouts, cheers, and sighs of relief from my team. And he’s out there EVERY DAY. He’s doing the heavy lifting to ensure that folks like us can take things the last 10 feet. Thank you to all of those ‘behind-the-scenes’ heroes who keep our businesses running. Thank you, Malcolm, for being there… with our cucumbers.” [Facebook]

Amtrak PD Officer Provides Pizza for Alexandria Police — “Ofc. Cameron Dux (AmtrakPD) is on a crusade to thank police officers during the pandemic. He delivered Valentino’s Pizza to our agency.” [Twitter]

RunningBrooke Launches Move2Learn-At-Home — “In an effort to make these as widely-accessible as possible, RunningBrooke videos can be viewed on ACPS-TV, RunningBrooke’s YouTube channel, multi-“classroom” Zoom fitness sessions, the RunningBrooke website and on social media platforms.” [Alexandria Living]

Junction Bakery & Bistro Delivering Soon — “Check it out, folks — our new Junction Delivery is almost ready to launch! We bring it to you: groceries, breads & pastries, family meals, and beer & wine — and pssst … cocktails coming too . Cheaper than Uber Eats!” [Facebook]

Carpenter’s Shelter Needs Food — “With the opening of the Safety Shelter at the Charles Houston Recreation Center, our food needs have expanded. We would like to thank our amazing community for jumping right in and helping to fulfill our needs within an incredibly short window. As of right now all of our meals are covered for the Safety Shelter through April 24th!” [Facebook]

Center For Alexandria’s Children Gets Face Mask Donation — “We received these cloth masks from Brooksie & Cas! Thank you so much for making and sending these to us. We are very grateful to you for helping to keep our team members safe. #StaySafe #StayHome #MasksForAll” [Facebook]

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Two Alexandria men are in custody after a stabbing incident at Dora Kelley Nature Park in the West End on March 15 that left two victims in the hospital with serious injuries.

Edgardo Roman Guevara, 20, was arrested on March 31, and 19-year-old Cesar Loza Castillo was arrested on March 27. Both have been charged with malicious wounding and assault by mob, and are being held without bail in the Alexandria Jail.

Police interviewed the victims on the evening of March 15 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. They admitted to meeting at the park at night to smoke marijuana with the suspects in a secluded wooded area. Once there, however, things took a dark turn.

“At this time, [one victim] saw a hand come across his face and felt his neck being cut. [He] then fled the park heading back towards his vehicle,” notes the affidavit.

The victim pushed away the knife, and was then stabbed in the back. The other victim was then allegedly pinned against a tree by both suspects and stabbed repeatedly. The victims escaped from the scene and were driven to the hospital by another friend.

Police located Guevara’s cell phone at the scene of the crime, and the suspects were positively identified by the victims in a police lineup.

Image via Google Maps

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Virginia State Police have arrested a Danville teen and charged him with obstruction of justice and as an accessory after the fact in the deaths of two people, including an Alexandria resident. last month in Southern Virginia.

The 17-year-old was arrested on Thursday, March 12, by officers with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office.

This is the second arrest in connection with the murder of Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Maryland. The couple were found shot dead near their crashed car on Feb. 8 along Route 58 in Halifax County.

Mohamed A. Aly, an 18-year-old senior at T.C. Williams High School, was arrested at school last month and charged with committing the murders. The former varsity football player is currently being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax.

The murders are being investigated by the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, FBI Richmond Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Danville Police Department.

The full press release from Virginia State Police is below.

As the investigation continues into February’s double homicide in Halifax County, a second individual now faces charges related to the case. On Thursday (March 12, 2020), the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office took a 17-year-old Danville, Va. male into custody. The juvenile has been charged in Halifax County with one count of obstruction of justice and one count of accessory after the fact.

The juvenile petitions are in relation to the Feb. 8, 2020 murders of two individuals on Route 58 in Halifax County near Melon Road. At 2:51 a.m., a silver 2009 Nissan Maxima was located in the median with Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., found deceased and lying in the grass nearby. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

On Feb. 13, 2020, state police arrested Mohamed A. Aly, 18, of Alexandria, Va., on two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of felony. Aly is still being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax, Va.

State police continues to work with the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, FBI Richmond Field Office, ATF, Danville Police Department, and several local law enforcement agencies on the homicide investigation.

As the investigation remains ongoing at this time, the Virginia State Police is still encouraging anyone with information about this incident or individuals involved to contact us at 434-352-7128 or #77 on a cell phone or to email [email protected]. Anonymous calls are welcome.

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