Alexandria, VA

Alexandria Police are investigating the second car stolen this month from a gas station — while the owner is pumping gas. The most recent incident occurred at around 9 a.m. Thursday morning at a gas station in the 2300 block of Richmond Highway in Crystal City.

“The victim had just finished pumping gas when the vehicle was stolen around 9:30 this morning,” according to Alexandria Police. “The suspect accessed the vehicle through an unlocked door.”

No one was injured. The vehicle was found 90 minutes later in the 2600 block of 18th Street SE in the District. Police located it through its tracking system.

ALXnow has reached out to the police for more and will update the story accordingly.

This is the second incident of its kind to occur this month. On Feb. 7, local business owner Allison Priebe‘s car was stolen while she pumped gas.

“For your own safety and protection, lock your doors and keep your keys and key fobs on your person when pumping gas,” police advised.

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Alexandria Police are investigating the death of a 49-year-old homeless woman who was found in the 4100 block of Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria early Tuesday morning.

The woman was spotted by a passerby at around 5:30 a.m., according to police. The public was notified of the incident via Twitter just after 7 a.m. and one lane of north bound traffic on Mount Vernon Avenue was briefly shut down.

Police tweeted that the victim was a well known homeless woman and that the death is not suspicious in nature.

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Updated 2:25 p.m. — There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 in the office of the Alexandria Clerk of Court.

The office is only operating with four employees out of 22, and may shut down, Clerk of Court Greg Parks told ALXnow in an email.

Mayor Justin Wilson was not aware of the outbreak, and the city tells ALXnow that three of the 22 employees in the Clerk’s Office tested positive for COVID-19 over the last few days and are isolating at home while they recover.

“Four supervisors are working from the Courthouse in separate areas, while three are working from home to answer phone calls,” Craig Fifer, the city’s director of communications told ALXnow. “The other employees are currently quarantining at home out of an abundance of caution until they complete the appropriate contact tracing and testing protocols.”

Fifer said that the courthouse will not shut down.

“There is no significant impact on court cases, which were already operating with limited dockets,” Fifer said. “Urgent matters such as protective orders are still receiving priority handling. Less urgent matters such as notary commissions and marriage licenses may encounter some delay this week while in-person appointments are suspended, but will still be processed as quickly as possible. Matters that can be resolved over the phone or through video appointments will continue to be handled that way.”

The Alexandria courthouse has been closed to the general public since the onset of the pandemic, and operations at the clerk’s office have been heavily impacted with staff mostly operating online. Thousands of cases have been put on the back burner.

In October, the courthouse was deep cleaned after an employee of the General District Court tested positive for COVID-19.

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At the request of the City of Alexandria, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that a 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew and state of emergency are in effect in Alexandria and neighboring Arlington.

The announcement comes amid chaos in D.C. as rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol building this afternoon. Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks was on a conference call with other regional leaders for a meeting in Arlington to determine public safety procedures.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of the Safeway at 299 S. Van Dorn Street and is in serious condition, according to Alexandria Police.

The incident was reported at 2:54 p.m. by police via Twitter, and involved multiple cars.

The Safeway is in the Van Dorn Plaza shopping center.

The last reported pedestrian fatality was in November in Old Town, and was preceded in February by incidents in the West End on Duke Street, near the King Street-Old Town Metro station and a fatality at the intersection of Duke Street and Cameron Station Blvd.

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After 35 years, Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper has announced that this will be her last year on the City Council.

Pepper said in an email to friends and supporters that she would not run for reelection, Alexandria Living Magazine first reported.

“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”

Pepper has represented the West End of Alexandria since 1985 and has over the last decade been a leading force behind the effort to redevelop Landmark Mall.

The City Council election is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021, after a citywide primary on June 8.

“It’s been quite a run,” Pepper said. “I love it and I’m going to work hard for the rest of the year.”

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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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(Updated at 11:10 p.m.) At least three Alexandria Police officers are on routine administrative leave after a shootout that left one suspect dead near the intersection of N. Fairfax and Montgomery Streets.

At 5 a.m., police responded to a call for shots fired inside the Holiday Inn & Suites (625 First Street) in north Old Town, according to police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine. Once at the scene, police were told by witnesses that a robbery occurred in the lobby of the hotel and that multiple shots were fired.

Police established a perimeter and located a possible suspect and a chase ensued on foot, Ballantine said. The suspect allegedly shot an officer in the lower body at N. Royal and 2nd Street. The officer sustained a non-life threatening wound and has since been released from the hospital.

The male suspect then ran to the area of N. Fairfax and Montgomery Streets and more gunfire was exchanged.

“Officers shot toward the suspect and the suspect shot toward the officers,” Ballantine said. “The suspect was found deceased in the bushes when the sun came up.”

Ballantine did not confirm whether police shot the suspect.

Heavily-armed officers could still be seen searching the area after the suspect was found dead.

“Alexandria police officers and K9s, including some with tactical gear, are walking through North Old Town to search for additional evidence as part of the ongoing investigation into this morning’s shootings,” according to police. “The public should not be alarmed at this police activity, but please avoid the area today if possible.”

This afternoon, Virginia State Police identified a 26-year-old Alexandria man, Michael David Thompson, as a person of interest in the shootings. He has since turned himself in, state police announced Monday night.

VSP provided additional information about the investigation:

The Virginia State Police, at the request of the City of Alexandria Police Chief, is investigating a series of shooting incidents that occurred Monday morning (Oct. 26, 2020). State and local police are still working to locate Mitchell D. Thompson, 26, of Alexandria, Va. He is now wanted on one felony count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and is believed to be currently armed. The public is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or email at [email protected] with any information related to his whereabouts. Thompson is a white male with brown eyes and long, brown hair he was last seen wearing in a “man-bun.” He is 6’8 in height and weighs 245 lbs.

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.

Mayor Justin Wilson said that he appreciated APD’s quick response in finding the suspect, getting the word out to the public and protecting the public from harm.

“My concern right now is with our officer who was injured,” Wilson said. “I know the entire community joins me in wishing for a quick recovery for the officer and expressing our gratitude for their service to our community in a very dangerous situation this morning.”

During the incident, North Old Town was on lockdown as residents were urged to seek shelter while police searched for the suspects. Residents from Washington Street to the river were urged to stay indoors with the doors and windows locked until notified otherwise by police.

More from social media:

James Cullum contributed to this story

Photo and video via Taylor Brown / Map Via Google Maps

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Thousands of Alexandria residents are in the dark Friday night due to a massive power outage.

At 8 p.m., the utility company was reporting over 12,750 customers without power. As of 8:20 p.m., that number had gone down to 6,846.

More than 3,500 customers are also without power in parts of Arlington, across the Alexandria border.

The neighborhoods affected include Del Ray, Potomac Yard, and Fairlington. Some have reported the power flickering.

Power restoration is currently estimated between 10 p.m.-1 a.m., according to Dominion’s website. The cause of the outage is a malfunctioning circuit at a substation, according to a company spokeswoman.

Update at 9:35 p.m. — Alexandria police are reminding residents to treat dark traffic signals as a four-way stop.

“Dominion Power has reported a major power outage throughout the City of Alexandria,” APD said. “This outage has resulted in many intersections without power. Treat all intersections that are without power as a four way stop. Please stay alert and drive safely.”

Update at 9:15 p.m. — Power was briefly restored but is back off, according to a Dominion spokeswoman. A number of residents https://twitter.com/PeggyDomEnergy/status/1319808138497896448from around the city said on Twitter that they are still without power.

More via social media:

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A 39-year-old Arlington man has been sentenced to 65 years in prison for raping two lifeguards at gunpoint in Alexandria and Fairfax County.

Jesse Bjerke, a former nurse at Inova Alexandria Hospital, pleaded guilty last year to raping a lifeguard at a condominium complex swimming pool in the 200 block of Pickett Street on Labor Day weekend in 2016, as well as raping another woman in Fairfax County on August 1, 2014.

“The judgement shows an understanding for the violence and the pre-planning that went into these atrocious crimes,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter. “I think it will serve our community since he can’t be a predator on any other woman.”

Alexandria Police were able to locate Bjerke using genetic geneology.

“A DNA profile was developed from the sperm located within the victim, but a search revealed no match in law enforcement databases,” according to the city. “After traditional attempts to identify a suspect were unsuccessful and all leads had been exhausted, the Alexandria Police Department contracted with Parabon® Nanolabs to have the suspect’s DNA analyzed using genetic genealogy. Parabon® investigators used a public access site called GEDmatch to search for relatives of the suspect. Using the list of relatives and the strength of the relationship, Parabon® was able to suggest one suspect for further investigation: Jesse Bjerke, the defendant.”

As part of a plea agreement to avoid the death penalty, Bjerke admitted to raping a lifeguard in Fairfax in 2014, and both cases were tried simultaneously.

“When he is 65, he can apply for geriatric release,” Porter said. “But with my experience with violent crime that’s unlikely.”

Porter congratulated the police on finding the suspect.

“The police department really should be praised and did an outstanding job in corroborating that we have the right man,” he said. “And, of course, that led to a very solid case from an evidence standpoint, which in turn led to him taking responsibility for his crime.”

A description from the city of the 2016 incident is below the jump.

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