A 25-year-old Prince George’s County woman was arrested on May 18 for allegedly attacking the father of her child with pepper spray and a knife in the Braddock area of Old Town.
Mishawanda Blount was arrested and released on a personal recognizance bond after the incident in the 800 block of N. Patrick Street. She was charged with domestic assault and battery, attempted injury by caustic substance and destruction of property.
The home is located on Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority property, and police found video footage supporting the victim’s claims that he was attacked by Blount and that she also damaged his car.
Police ended up contacting Blount by getting her phone number from the victim.
“Despite physical evidence and video footage, Ms. Blount denied committing the offense and being in the state of Virginia at the time of the offense,” according to a search warrant affidavit.
Within the rather obscure confines of the Board and Architectural Review staff report this week resurfaced a long-simmering discussion: what is the cultural identity of the Parker-Gray neighborhood in 2021.
For years a historically Black neighborhood, Parker-Gray draws its name from the the Parker-Gray School that educated the city’s Black children when the the city’s school system was still divided by segregation.
But another identity for the area has slipped into colloquial use over the last few decades: the Braddock neighborhood, or sometimes the Braddock Metro neighborhood after the nearby Metro station and the adjacent, eponymous road. With the Metro station as a common point of reference, rather than a school over 40-years demolished, Braddock has also become a more popular name for the area for developers.
But as noted in the Board of Architectural Review report, there’s a risk that new development can erase more than just the name Parker-Gray, but the distinct cultural legacy of the neighborhood, particularly with developments capitalizing on the more common red brick appeal of Old Town to the south. “Braddock” is increasingly worked into the names of local developments, like the controversial (for other, non-name reasons) Braddock West development.
While much of the district is still listed as Parker-Gray in city documents — officially called the Parker-Gray Historic District — city records also refer to the area as the Braddock Metro neighborhood, specifically in regards to the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan. Outlets like the Washington Post have referred to the area as both the Braddock neighborhood and Parker-Gray neighborhood as well. ALXnow is likewise guilty of using both.
Are the names interchangeable to you or do they refer to different places/contexts within the area? Vote below and sound off in the comments.
What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.
The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.
But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.
Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.
In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.
- City Council candidates clash on critical local issues, Part 1
- City Council candidates clash on critical local issues, Part 2
- NEW: Alexandria School Board shakeup looms as few incumbents have filed to run for reelection
- Election: Northam endorses Wilson for reelection
- Here’s which City Council candidates signed the new ‘Alexandria Constituents’ Bill of Rights’ pledge
- COVID-19 update: 40% of residents got first vaccine shot, 29% got second shot
- Old Town dominated the city in 2020 business grant funding
- NEW: Man sentenced 41 months for targeting Alfred Street Baptist Church, journalists and others in ‘swatting’ conspiracy
- Developer JBG Smith joins J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives to own and manage 2 million square feet of Potomac Yard
- ACPS could adjust grades in recognition of COVID challenges
- West End man with history of violent behavior taken into custody
- Appeal to save North Ridge home takes fight to City Council
- Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested for breaking into home and beating up witness
- Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
- Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
- D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
- Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
- Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
- Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
- Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
- Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
- Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
- JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
- What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?
Have a safe weekend!
A 20-year-old Gainesville woman was arrested last month after allegedly breaking into a home in Old Town and fighting with a witness who is set to testify against her boyfriend in a murder trial.
Essence Amir Heard was arrested on the early morning of April 9 after allegedly breaking into a home in the 800 block of Montgomery Street in the Braddock area. Hours before, the murder suspect called the victim, who has a child with him, after he was informed that his trial would be moving forward after court delays due to COVID-19, and that she would be subpoenaed as a witness.
“After learning of this, he repeatedly called (the victim) from jail cursing and threatening her,” police said in a search warrant. “On the phone during these conversations was Ms. Essence heard, his current girlfriend.”
Later that night, the victim awoke to hear loud banding on her front door, and heard her name being screamed. She dressed and went to her living room and then saw Heard allegedly assaulting two other women with closed fists inside the house.
“All four girls were then involved in a physical fight until they were able to get Ms. Heard outside,” police said in the search warrant. “Once there, they told her they were calling the police, and she walked away.”
Heard was found at the intersection of Madison Street and N. Alfred Street, and as she was arrested told officers that she left her phone in the victim’s house.
Heard was charged with entering a house to commit assault and battery and was released that same day. She was later arrested on April 23 on a fugitive from justice charge and was transferred to another jurisdiction, according to the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office.
Heard goes to court for the offense on May 14.
(Update at 10:30 a.m. Blue and White Carryout is still open. The tweet from a local news outlet was incorrect.)
City Council Rescinds Vote on Braddock West Development — “The matter will be taken up again for public hearing and vote on May 15, but a pending lawsuit by an Alexandria resident may delay a final decision.” [Alexandria Living]
West End Harris Teeter opening early this summer — “The new store, 62,000 square feet in size, will be located at West Alex, the new development that also includes Array, an apartment building and the Silver Diner restaurant that opened on the corner of King and N. Beauregard streets.” [Alexandria Living]
Southbound King Street exit on Interstate 395 closed for 2 weeks — “Drivers along King Street (Route 7) in Alexandria can expect a new temporary traffic pattern at I-395 beginning Monday morning, May 3, weather permitting, for work as part of the rehabilitation of the King Street Bridge over I-395, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Showers early then scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 73F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Partly cloudy skies overnight. Low around 65F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Bilingual medical assistant — “Functions as a member of a program team by performing and documenting results of selected tests and measurements, maintaining adequately supplied workstations, maintaining a clean work environment, and promoting timely and efficient patient flow through the clinic. Has primary responsibility for the collection, processing, and recording of laboratory testing. Gives immunizations and other injectable medications under the supervision of the physician, nurse practitioner or registered nurse. Assists with patient treatments during clinical sessions.” [Indeed]
A 50-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond in the city jail for allegedly firing a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.
Melvin Farmer was booked into jail on April 15 — three days after the incident — and charged with attempted malicious wounding and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was previously convicted of six felonies, including breaking and entering, malicious wounding and being a fugitive from justice.
No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 421 E. Braddock Road, which is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School.
Security footage from a nearby surveillance camera captured Farmer allegedly urinating on the side of the building, and then walk into the store. Farmer then “appears to get into an argument with another known subject near the register of the 7-Eleven and continue to argue outside of the store,” according to a police search warrant affidavit.
Farmer is then seen walking back to his silver minivan to retrieve a handgun, according to police.
“The other male is seen walking and then running while Farmer proceeds to raise his right hand in what appears to be a shooting motion,” police reported. “An ashtray portion of a trash can is seen jumping from its resting location.”
Police said that Farmer then entered the store with what appeared to be a gun in his right hand, and that he quickly looked around and walked out. He was then seen getting into his minivan and driving away.
Police recovered a shell casing near where Farmer’s minivan was parked, and a lead slug near the trash can.
Farmer was arrested at the Best Western in Springfield, and was scheduled to check out of his room on April 16, according to police. He goes to court for the incident on May 18.
Alexandria Police are investigating a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.
No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m., according to police. A bullet hit the door of the business at 421 E. Braddock Road.
The 7-Eleven is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School. It is also a half mile from where shots were fired in Old Town last week that led to a chase, four arrests and a suspect death.
NOTIFICATION:: APD is investigating a weapons violation after a bullet struck the door of a business in the 400 blk of E. Braddock Rd. It happened around 8:30 pm. No injuries were reported. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) April 13, 2021
(Updated at 12:35 a.m.) Alexandria Police shut down northbound Route 1 around Madison Street on Wednesday night after multiple buildings were struck by bullets.
The shooting occurred at around 8:40 p.m. and ended in a car chase in D.C.
“We’re investigating a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick street happened around 8:40 p.m.,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “We had multiple buildings struck. Officers located a suspect vehicle and initiated a pursuit, which ended in Southeast D.C.”
The incident occurred in the Braddock area near Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties, where a number of calls for shots fired have occurred over the last year.
No one was reported to have been injured in the shootings. Police could not immediately confirm reports that the suspects attempted to bail out on Interstate 295, but later confirmed that three people had been taken into custody in the District.
UPDATE (at 12:05am):: 3 people were taken into custody in Washington, DC on Alexandria charges related to the shots fired incident. NB Route 1 and Madison St have reopened. This remains an active investigation with details still developing. Final notification tonight.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) April 7, 2021
update: Driver reportedly fell 40'-50` off the I-295 overpass at Malcolm X Av SE-DC. He is now in TRAUMATIC CARDIAC ARREST. The other 3 suspects continued in Lincoln to JBAB exit where they were captured. Several accidents along the route. https://t.co/RaEOMhrFer
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 7, 2021
Map via Google Maps
After mostly smooth sailing, the City Council’s 4-3 denial of the Braddock West project came as a bit of a surprise.
The plan was to replace a series of townhomes just east of the Braddock Road Metro station with a towering new mixed-use development, containing 174 residential units and ground floor retail and restaurant uses.
The project faced some concerns from nearby residents — primarily concerning the stormwater impact from the project and the scale — but far less than the controversial Heritage project the City Council unanimously approved. The project had a seal of approval from the neighboring residential association and the Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority, which had baffled one member of the Planning Commission who had noted the project would dramatically overshadow the Andrew Adkins development.
Those concerns that had been in the background at the Planning Commission came to the forefront, with City Council members Amy Jackson, Canek Aguirre, John Chapman and Mo Seifeldein voting against the project. Aguirre raised the issue that the outreach done by the project was years ago when the development was part of a larger development with ARMA, but those plans have since fallen apart after the ARHA redevelopment was delayed.
“I was at that first meeting they did for the bigger project, interesting meeting that took people by surprise,” Chapman said. “I would share the concern that Mr. Aguirre has shared. The community has changed over the years and it is a different project. To try to act like the community outreach done for the full block with ARMA is the same as a separate project is not the way we should operate.”
Pepper also slammed the project for what she argued was disappointing 10-year-storm-focused stormwater sewage improvements, despite staff arguing that the project shouldn’t be saddled with fixing the neighborhood’s woefully inadequate stormwater protections.
“Ten year storms?” Pepper said. “We don’t even have them. That’s a sprinkle. We don’t have ten year storms, we’re up there in the 100s. They’re the ones that bother us. They’re the ones that flood the basements and ruin’s people’s carpets and furniture.”
Usain Bolt compliments Alexandria’s running phenom Noah Lyles — “He talks the talk, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s going to match up – because he’s proven that he has the speed, just throughout the circuit and the way he’s running.” [USA Today]
City Council votes against Braddock West development — “A request by West Street Acquisitions, LLC to build a large multifamily residential building across the street from the Braddock Road Metro Station were denied in a 4-3 vote by City Council on Saturday.” [Alexandria Living]
Goodwin House residents recall activism — “As a college student, Dr. Drue Shropshire Guy was immediately inspired when he heard the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They drove him to take part in campus sit-ins while studying at Ohio St. University. These demonstrations were meant to shed light on segregation in the local community.” [Zebra]
City collecting mulch orders for April delivery — “Remember all those Christmas Trees collected in January and the leaves collected in the fall? Orders for wood and leaf mulch are being accepted for April delivery. Visit alexandriava.gov/Mulch to place your order.” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Rain (during the day). High near 60F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch… Thunderstorms during the evening giving way to periods of light rain overnight. Low 42F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 90%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Server — “HomeGrown Restaurant Group is a family-owned group and initially established its roots in Alexandria in the early 1990s. We currently have six locations spanning five different concepts. We are looking for servers to join our team that are well organized, customer service oriented, and have an overall positive attitude.” [Indeed]