(Updated on 8/27/23) Alexandria police are on scene of multiple shootings in the city.
First, a man was shot in the Arlandria neighborhood around 7:45 p.m. Saturday. The shooting happened on the 3800 block of Florence Drive, in the parking lot of an apartment building, and was phoned in to 911 by a child caller, according to scanner traffic.
A witness told ALXnow that he heard two shots and ran over to the scene and found the victim bleeding from gunshot wounds to the leg and the upper body.
Police cordoned off the area and started a search of nearby neighborhoods for a Hispanic suspect wearing a black and white striped shirt and white pants. Arlington police also assisted by setting up a perimeter along Four Mile Run.
The victim’s injuries are life-threatening, according to police.
Around 8:15 p.m., two additional shootings were reported along S. Patrick Street south of Old Town. A large group of motorcycle and dirt bike riders that previously rolled through Arlington was gathered at the Speedway and Liberty stations at Franklin Street when shootings reportedly happened at both, according to scanner traffic.
At least two people were initially said to be shot and brought by fellow bikers over to Maryland. In a subsequent press release about the series of shootings, Alexandria police said that one person had been hospitalized as a result of the gas station shooting.
Alexandria Police are investigating two separate shootings that occurred within 15 minutes of each other Saturday night.
At approximately 7:52 p.m. officers responded to the 3800 block of Florence Drive. A 26-year-old male victim was found suffering from a gunshot wound and transferred to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Officers are still investigating and ask anyone with information to call Detective T. Griffin at (703) 859-3271. All callers can remain anonymous.
At 8:05 p.m., officers responded to reports of a shooting in the 700 block of S Patrick St. Upon arriving to the scene, officers learned dozens of individuals riding dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles were gathered at two neighboring gas stations when individuals began shooting. Through regional collaboration, detectives learned of a victim being taken to an area hospital in stable condition.
As of 1 a.m. Sunday, officers are still working to clear the scene. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective B. Smith at (703) 851-3545.
Streets were closed in the area of S. Patrick Street and Franklin Street due to the large emergency response and police investigation.
Notification:: There is a significant police presence on Rt. 1 in the 700 block of S. Patrick St. Drivers should expect delays while officers investigate a shooting incident.
Police are asking anyone with information to call (703) 746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous. pic.twitter.com/SWCc72C9PC
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) August 27, 2023
New: People running & bikes pulling out of the Speedway gas station suddenly just after 8 pm. This was the scene of the shooting @AlexandriaNow reporting tonight. The fuzzy video also shows the large group of bikes arriving about 12 minutes earlier. The flashes appear to be red… pic.twitter.com/hlaW0sq8O2
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 27, 2023
James Cullum contributed to this report
Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. resigned abruptly on Friday morning (June 10).
Hutchings’ resignation comes after a tumultuous few weeks for the school division, following a closed-door session asking the School Board to not talk with the media and about the fatal stabbing death of a student.
The resignation goes into effect August 31.
The following note was sent to ACPS families:
Message from the ACPS superintendent
It is with a heavy heart that I want to share with you before the end of the school year one of the most difficult decisions of my career. I will be resigning from my position as superintendent of schools at Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) effective August 31, 2022. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the students, staff, families and the Alexandria community since July 2018. I have thoroughly enjoyed my years leading our school division, in which I was raised and educated as a proud member of the Alexandria community. This decision did not come lightly and was prompted by my life’s work to advocate for antiracism in education. I have been proud of what we have accomplished together in bringing forth the very first ACPS strategic plan, Equity For All, that places racial equity at the heart of all our work.
This courageous and bold roadmap compelled me to consider how I can help expand and establish similar initiatives in school systems across the country. It has become my personal imperative and has only been exacerbated by the recent attack on our equity work right here in Virginia. As superintendent, I am limited in my ability to speak freely and openly about this work and assist other school systems to carry out this critical advocacy. It is clear to me that this is the next phase of my career as an educator and the time has come for me to take this leap of faith, expand my reach, and move the needle on racial equity in education. In my four years at ACPS, we have worked collaboratively with our School Board and our ACPS team to realize many significant accomplishments. While I will no longer stand at the helm of ACPS to lead our team, I will continue to support the work and care deeply for our students, staff and families.
In my heart, I know that I will always remain close to ACPS and in the coming months, I will work closely with the School Board to ensure that there is a smooth transition to begin the 2022-23 school year. I have faith in the team that will soon be charged with keeping ACPS moving forward. Thank you for the opportunity to lead this amazing community of educators and to serve as an example to our students, so that they, too, can have their dream job. My hope is that ACPS will continue to develop lifelong learners who will continue to pay it forward; to ACPS and beyond! Sincerely, Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. Superintendent of Schools
A news release from Alexandria City Public Schools said School Board chair Meagan Alderton will appoint an interim superintendent while ACPS conducts a search for a new permanent one.
“Chair Alderton stated that the School Board will appoint an interim superintendent to lead the division while a search for a permanent superintendent is underway,” the release said. “Dr. Hutchings has pledged to work closely with the School Board over the summer to ensure there is a smooth transition in leadership to begin the 2022-23 school year.”
Alderton praised Hutchings’ work at ACPS in the release:
It has been both an honor and a pleasure to work alongside Dr Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. He has led our school division during extremely tumultuous times and, in doing so, has modeled for all of us what it means to lead with vision, integrity, and passion. Alexandria City Public Schools has benefited tremendously from his leadership. As a board, we are sad to see him go, but we wish him the very best in his future endeavors. I have no doubt that we will see him doing great things that will impact public education beyond the boundaries of Alexandria City Public Schools.
Vernon Miles contributed to this story
Updated at 3:30 p.m. — A 16-year-old Alexandria City High School student has been arrested in connection to last week’s fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez, Alexandria Police tweeted.
The juvenile, who was not named, was arrested more than a week after the May 24 incident, and has been charged with murder. He was arrested sometime Wednesday morning (June 1) and is being held at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center.
The full statement is below:
The Alexandria Police Department has made an arrest in connection to a stabbing incident, that occurred on May 24, 2022.
A 16-year-old juvenile male, a City of Alexandria resident, was arrested and charged with murder. The juvenile is currently being held in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center.
The decedent Luis Hernandez, 18, was a City of Alexandria resident.
The investigation is still ongoing.
Hernandez was stabbed during a brawl between 30-to-50 students on Tuesday afternoon (May 24). Police have not disclosed what prompted the fight.
Alexandria City Public Schools went to asynchronous learning after the incident, and will continue with hybrid learning for the remainder of the week.
News Release:: Alexandria Police Department Makes Arrest in Connection to Stabbing Incident
The Alexandria Police Department has made an arrest in connection to a stabbing incident, that occurred on May 24, 2022.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 1, 2022
After the police released information on the incident, Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. sent out the following message:
Dear ACPS Staff and Families,
We want to share with you an update provided today by the Alexandria Police Department (APD) about the loss of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) student Luis Mejía Hernández. We have been in close contact with the APD and we appreciate your patience and understanding in communicating during an active police investigation, which we understand remains ongoing. Please see the June 1, 2022 APD press release regarding this case.
We want to again assure you that new security measures have been implemented and remain in place at ACHS and we have shared multiple communications with ACHS students and families, including the latest information from Executive Principal Peter Balas on logistics for this week for the Class of 2022 as well as students in grades 9-11.
Just a reminder that the schedule this week has changed with a modified return for ACHS students so we can focus on social, emotional and academic learning to help fulfill critical in-person graduation requirements, provide students with the social-emotional supports needed, and afford students with an opportunity for socialization with their peers. Also, the modified return permits students who prefer classroom time with teachers in person to complete their asynchronous assignments at ACHS.
On behalf of the whole Titan community, I would like to again express our condolences and support for the family of Luis Mejía Hernández. Our team will continue to support our students, staff and families.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
(Updated 8 p.m.) Alexandria Police are investigating alleged drug possession and distribution at Episcopal High School, one of the most exclusive private boarding schools in the country.
On Dec. 8, police responded to a narcotics complaint at Episcopal and met with the school’s attorney, according to a search warrant affidavit. The officer was told that a week prior, on Dec. 1, two students were found to be allegedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Both students were then “immediately withdrawn” from the school by their families, according to the affidavit.
The school’s attorney then told police that one of the suspected students, who turned 18 on Dec. 10, received a number of packages with suspected drugs and that the packages were in the school mailroom.
“The parcels were retrieved and one of the parcels appeared to already be damaged and open,” police said in the search warrant. “Upon looking inside, the administrator believed the contents were illegal narcotics. Based upon the open parcel containing suspected illegal narcotics, the administrator and additional witnesses opened the other parcels and discovered additional suspected narcotics.”
Police found a number of U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail envelopes addressed to the 18-year-old at the school and containing the following:
- 20 grams of suspected Psilocybin mushrooms
- 26 suspected Xanax pills and 1.2 grams of suspected methamphetamine
- 1.3 grams of suspected cocaine
- Five suspected Ecstasy pills
Episcopal’s attorney has not returned ALXnow’s requests for comment, and no arrests have been made.
More than 450 male and female students attend the 182-year-old private boarding school in the fenced 130-acre property at 1200 North Quaker Lane.
Episcopal went on winter break on Dec. 17, and students will return to classes on Jan. 3.
(Updated at 4:45 on Nov. 3) Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker declared victory in her bid for Virginia’s 45th District House seat on Tuesday, defeating Republican opponent Justin “J.D.” Maddox.
“I’m honored to be the Delegate-elect for the 45th District,” Bennett-Parker told ALXnow. “Thank you to every voter who put their faith in me. I got into this race to continue delivering for our community.”
She continued, “I will always strive to ensure that our Commonwealth is an equitable and inclusive place for all.”
Bennett-Parker said that she did not speak with Maddox, who conceded via an email to supporters on Tuesday night. She won a resounding victory, garnering 73% (25,787 votes) of the votes in the District versus Maddox’s 27% (9,489 votes), with 26 of 32 districts reporting.
“While I am let down by the results of this election, I am encouraged by the strong signal of support for the moderate position that I championed throughout the campaign,” Maddox wrote. “It has become clear to me that voters in District 45, and much more widely, are eager for movement toward the center, and are disheartened by the extreme partisanship they’re hearing from both sides.”
According to city records, there were 24,207 absentee votes filed before election day, or around 25% of the 96,302 active registered voters in Alexandria.
Bennett-Parker defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Levine in the June primary. She began her political career three years ago, winning Alexandria’s vice mayorship in her first-ever campaign for office.
She will be sworn into office in January.
James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story.
Update on 10/2/21 — The videos of the fights at the school have been removed from Instagram, and have since been removed from the story.
A number of recent student fights at George Washington Middle School have been posted on Instagram.
The videos have been taken by children at the school and show teachers and other students breaking up incidents. They have been posted by an Instagram user named gwmsfights2022.
The first video was posted on September 4, and the videos were taken this school year, as the school appears to be operating at capacity and students are wearing face masks. The most recent video was posted five days ago.
Alexandria City Public Schools is aware of the posts and reported them to Instagram. The school system said in a statement that, while there are no police on school grounds, the security situation at the school is under control.
“School administrators have addressed any incidents this year in accordance with standard protocols for disciplinary issues,” ACPS said in a statement. “School safety and security is a top priority for our schools. ACPS leadership works with our security team to maintain a safe environment for students and staff in our buildings. Student involvement in incidents is investigated by school administration to include witnesses and handled using a tiered system of support for all students involved.”
ACPS would not say how many students have been suspended at the school this year.
Many believe the fights are the result of no school resource officers within Alexandria City Public Schools. In a move that was decried by the School Board earlier this year, City Council defunded SROs in a 4-3 vote.
There was a protest on SROs earlier this week outside City Hall, as several violent incidents have alarmed parents and political candidates. In a recent interview with ALXnow, School Board Chair Meagan Alderton also said that she wants to salvage the student-police relationship.
“Not sure if it’s the lack of SROs or the fact that we kept the public school kids out of school for two years, but neither one of those decisions seem particularly good to me right now,” an ACPS parent told ALXnow.
This is not the first of fighting videos that has surfaced since school started on August 24. ALXnow recently posted a video of a brawl at Alexandria City High School.
(Updated 3:45 p.m.) Alexandria Police have resolved the barricade situation at an 11th floor apartment in Seminary Towers (4701 Kenmore Avenue) in the West End.
Police tweeted that the standoff came to an end at around 3 p.m., and that evacuated residents have been allowed to return to their apartments. Residents in the 10th, 11th and 12th floors were evacuated by police at around noon and were told that tear gas may have to be employed against the suspect.
“APD was serving a warrant from another jurisdiction,” APD senior public information officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “The adult male subject refused to comply.”
The identity of the man has not been released, and police said he was alone in the apartment.
FINAL UPDATE: The barricade situation in the 4700 block of Kenmore Avenue is over. The subject was taken into custody without incident around 3:00 p.m. Residents are now allowed to return.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 24, 2021
BARRICADE:: APD is working a barricade situation in the 4700 block of Kenmore Ave. Please avoid the area and be aware of Police & fire activity.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 24, 2021
Courtesy Google Maps, James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story
A 23-year-old man is awaiting extradition to Alexandria for the November 7 murder of a man in the West End.
Ahmed Mohammed Shareef, of Cosa Mesta, California, was indicted by a Grand Jury for killing 23-year-old Yousef Tarek Omar in the 4800 block of West Braddock Road. It was the City’s third and final homicide of 2020.
“It is alleged that the murder was committed in furtherance of the drug trafficking organization,” the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Shareef is one of 17 people indicted and arrested on charges related to a racketeering conspiracy that involved a “complex drug trafficking organization” allegedly responsible for the sale of approximately $500,000 worth of marijuana.
The investigation, which included multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the region and in Washington State and California, resulted in the seizure of at least 23 firearms, including three assault rifles and high capacity magazines. At least $274,795 in U.S. currency was also taken, in addition to cocaine and other controlled substances, digital scales and electronic money counters, fake identification and driver’s license cards, and multiple vehicles.
“I want to thank the Alexandria Police Department’s Vice/Narcotics Section and the multitude of partner law enforcement agencies for their diligent and professional work on this investigation,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said. “The collaborative effort between the partner law enforcement agencies shows true professionalism and determination to halt the cycle of violence inherent in complex drug trafficking organizations.”
Shareef faces life in prison for the murder charge, three years for the firearms charge and up to 40 years for the racketeering charge.
No trial dates have been set.
Updated at 1:30 p.m. Alexandria first responders saved a woman dangling off the Monroe Avenue bridge for nearly three hours on Tuesday, June 22.
Police were able to distract the woman, while below her on the ground a Fire Department tower ladder rose up, and then the woman was snatched and then safely put into the ladder bucket.
“She’s safe,” AFD Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow.
A city resident standing below the bridge called 911 at around 10;45 a.m reporting that the woman climbed over the chain-link fence and was hanging off side of the bridge, AFD told ALXnow.
The fire department deployed airbags beneath the bridge, and EMS was also on-scene. All traffic was diverted on the roadway, which is Route 1 and bisects Old Town and Potomac Yard. Alexandria Police tweeted that the woman is suffering from a mental health crisis.
Alexandria Fire Department – whenever, wherever, whatever we will answer the call. Thank you heroes for keeping the City safe. A great effort from AFD, APD and the Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/alafJepEO1
— Corey Smedley (@SmedleyCorey) June 22, 2021
It was a team effort to help a community member in a mental health crisis. Members of #APD, @AlexandriaVAFD @ffxfirerescue @AlexVASheriff worked together to get the person down safely. Thank you @IAFF2068 for the inflatable pad. @IAFFLocal2141 pic.twitter.com/07sCVPi7Ww
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 22, 2021
ALERT::⚠️ Police activity has shut down the Route 1 bridge over Mainline Blvd for a subject in a mental health crisis. Please find an alternate route. Updates provided as needed.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) June 22, 2021
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-746-3401. CrisisLink also has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 703-527-4077 or 800-SUICIDE, or text 703-940-0888.
History was made this week in Alexandria.
Our top story was on Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday, defeating former Mayor Allison Silberberg. Alexandria historically votes for democratic mayors, and Wilson faces off against Republican candidate Annetta Catchings in November.
Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker also unseated Del. Mark Levine for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 45th District seat in the House of Delegates. Levine also lost his bid for lieutenant governor.
The three incumbents running for City Council all made it through the primary, with City Councilman John Taylor Chapman receiving the most votes. The other candidates who made it, and will move on to the general election in November are Alyia Smith-Parker Gaskins, Councilwoman Amy Jackson, Councilman Canek Aguirre, Sarah Bagley and Kirk McPike.
This Saturday is will also see the final graduating class of T.C. Williams High School walk the stage before the school’s name is changed in July to Alexandria City High School.
Next Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.
- City Manager names Don Hayes as Alexandria’s Acting Police Chief
- City Council dives into funding swimming pool at Alexandria City High School
- Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
- Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
- Here’s how Alexandria is planning on spending its American Rescue Plan Act funding
- Alexandria Police officer jumps out of way of speeding car
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- Alexandria Police investigate ‘Zoom bombing’ of Jewish synagogue meeting
- Beatley Central Library reopens for Friday service — sort of
- Police announce progress investigating ‘shots fired’ incidents, recovering ghost guns
- Scholarship Fund of Alexandria awards $525K to T.C. Williams High School Class of 2021
- ACPS continuing free meals program throughout summer
- Alexandria struggles to close last 30 percent to vaccination goal
- Misha’s opens second coffee shop near Waterfront in Old Town
- BREAKING: Wilson wins Democratic mayoral primary, Silberberg concedes
- BREAKING: Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown puts in his notice
- A rare glimpse inside Alexandria’s abandoned and overgrown GenOn power plant
- BREAKING: Bennett-Parker declares victory in 45th District race, Levine loses Delegate and Lieutenant Governor races
- Pride flags torn down outside City Hall and thrown into fountain at Market Square
- Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown isn’t just retiring, he’s leaving the city altogether
- BREAKING: Incumbents hold on in Alexandria City Council Democratic primary
- Three incumbents and lots of newcomers running for Alexandria School Board this November
- Here’s how much it would cost to reverse the Seminary Road Diet
- Democratic primary settled in Alexandria, but underlying issues linger
- Critical Missing Person Alert issued for 13-year-old autistic boy
Have a safe weekend!