More than a dozen anti-abortion activists were individually led out of Alexandria’s City Council Chambers on Tuesday night (June 28), as Council unanimously approved a resolution to protect access to abortions in the city.
Members of the California-based group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust sat in Council Chambers holding signs depicting graphic photos and drawings of aborted fetuses. The group spent the last several days demonstrating outside the U.S. Supreme Court leading up to last week’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, banning abortion in more than a dozen states.
Mayor Justin Wilson told the audience repeatedly to quiet down or he’d clear the chamber, and asked police to remove more than a dozen protestors, including A.J. Hurley, national director of the group.
“Bodily autonomy is a basic human right,” Wilson said. “I’m not really fond of resolutions that, you know, take stands on issues that we don’t have a lot of impact on, and this is not one of those. I think the reason this resolution is before us is because it has specific actions that are very much in our purview.”
Hurley is from Los Angeles, California. He said that the mission of the organization is to seek a federal ban on abortion, and doesn’t believe he will see that happen in his lifetime. Hurley was eventually escorted from Council Chambers by police after an outburst. Members of the group also shouted on megaphones and banged on plastic buckets outside City Hall.
“If this city council is going to produce edicts and statements and resolutions moving towards ordinances, they should know the faces of the children that they affect,” Hurley said.
The resolution states that “it is not possible to ban abortion, but only to ban safe and legal abortions,” and asks that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to “ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.”
The resolution also calls on the City Attorney to join ongoing or future lawsuits “to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria,” as well as land use protections for providers.
When told by a protestor that she doesn’t understand the issue because she hasn’t had an abortion, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson asked, “How do you know I haven’t?”
“When we’re talking about personal freedom and women’s health care, it should be the women’s choice, not men,” Jackson said.
Council Member Kirk McPike drafted the resolution. McPike previously expressed regret about City Council withdrawing an earlier proclamation of support.
“Fortunately right now we are in Virginia, and in Virginia abortion remains legal,” McPike said. “There’s nothing we can do from this dais or as City Council to override state law. If that changes, we will not be able to limit that. What we can do is work within the powers that we have as a city body, to ask our city manager in our city attorney to take on active roles in helping us protect this right to reproductive choice here in our city, whether that’s through revising our planning and zoning rules, whether that’s by joining lawsuits, whether that’s by putting language in our legislative packets. “
Council Member Alyia Gaskins, who noted in the meeting that she is pregnant, said that the Supreme Court ruling is an attack on the rights of women and families.
“We must be relentless in protecting the health and wellbeing of our people and the citizens we serve,” Gaskins said.
Council Member Sarah Bagley directly addressed the anti-abortion activists holding signs.
“I look at these photos, I see you pointing at them,” Bagley said. “What I don’t see is the woman whose life was saved because the ectopic pregnancy would have killed her. What I don’t see with these photos is a woman who desperately wanted a child but was told that (with) these fetal abnormalities would never have survived.”
Many residents also sat in Council Chambers holding signs thanking Alexandria for its pro-abortion efforts, including Sandy Marks, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee.
“Our council is entirely unshaken,” Marks said. “There have been a few interruptions, business is moving smoothly. They’re attempting to make noise outside, but our good governance is not going to be disrupted by a small number of out of town visitors that are here to try to obstruct a meeting that is going very smoothly.”
Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-45) also sat in the audience.
“I’m here because I believe everyone should be able to access safe abortions,” Bennett-Parker said. “I’m here today to support City Council and this resolution to protect abortion access in Alexandria and Virginia. I’m here because people should be able to make decisions about their own body, their own future and their own lives.”
A 44-year-old Fairfax County man was arrested on June 22 and faces multiple charges for a February 22 crash on Duke Street that resulted in the death of a driver and injuries to other drivers.
Carlos Kami Adar McKethan was arrested subsequent to a direct Grand Jury indictment charging him with aggravated vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of Phencyclidine (PCP), according to the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter.
“It is alleged the defendant was the driver of a vehicle which struck another vehicle,” Porter’s office said in a release. “As a result of the collision, the driver of the struck vehicle was killed.”
McKethan is being held without bail in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center awaiting trial. No trial date has been set.
Five vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred at around at around 11:50 p.m. in the 3200 block of Duke Street. Three people were trapped in two different vehicles after the crash.
“The crash resulted in one fatality, one critical injury, one serious injury, and two minor injuries,” Alexandria Police said in a release. “Preliminary investigation suggests speed may have been a contributing factor in this incident.”
Vehicular manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail, and driving under the influence of PCP is punishable by up to a year in jail.
News Release:: APD Investigates a Multi-Vehicle Crash
The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a multi-vehicle crash that occurred late Tuesday evening.
Read more — https://t.co/5SKU5NPdKt pic.twitter.com/fiyLoqugYZ
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) February 23, 2022
Map via Google Maps
The Alexandria City Council will vote on a resolution Tuesday night to protect access to abortions in the city.
The resolution, which was initially drafted by Councilman Kirk McPike, lays out several steps that the city will take.
“We call upon the General Assembly of Virginia and the United States Congress to take such actions as may be necessary to protect the right to abortion in Virginia,” the resolutions states. “We ask that the City Manager consider budgetary proposals for the FY 2024 budget to ensure accessibility of reproductive health services, safe abortion services, accessible maternal and child health services for low-income Alexandria residents.”
The resolution also calls on the City Attorney to join on-going or future lawsuits “to protect the availability of abortion services in Alexandria,” as well as land use protections for providers.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, banning abortion in 14 states and setting the stage for future legal challenges countrywide. Here in Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that he wants to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Alexandria Democratic Committee praised the resolution.
“The Alexandria Democratic Committee stands in solidarity with City Council as they present their resolution in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade,” ADC said on Facebook. “Our public support of bold statements like these is crucial.”
Tomorrow evening, the City Council will be considering a resolution drafted initially by @KirkMcPike in response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision.
The resolution includes several specific actions the City will take to protect abortion access in Alexandria. pic.twitter.com/DPmXusUSYU
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) June 27, 2022
Many of Alexandria’s elected officials expressed shock and dismay at the ruling.
Del. Charniele Herring, the Democratic Caucus Chair, tweeted that she was horrified and that she would continue to fight to keep abortion legal in Virginia.
I like many of you am horrified by the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe. I’ve fought my entire career in the Virginia House to protect women’s right to privacy. Abortion is LEGAL in Virginia. I will continue to fight against any attempts to attack women’s reproductive healthcare.
— Charniele Herring (@C_Herring) June 24, 2022
Today's SCOTUS decision overturning Roe is frightening, but Virginia women still have access to safe abortions. pic.twitter.com/Bwo22MXxz1
— Charniele Herring (@C_Herring) June 24, 2022
The full resolution is below the jump. Read More
A 28-year-old Alexandria man blamed the effects of being on Ambien on a crash that damaged an apartment building in the city’s Arlandria neighborhood.
The incident occurred on Friday, June 10, at around 4:30 p.m. in the 3800 block of Russell Road — directly across from St. Rita’s Catholic Church. A witness called police to report that a blue Ford Focus hopped the curb and smashed into the steps and rail of the entrance to the “Andrew Jackson” building of the Presidential Greens Apartments, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The witness told police that, after the crash, the driver got out of the car, and picked up pieces of his car and put them in his trunk.
“The vehicle sustained extensive damage to its front, including bumper, under guard, right headlight, possibly radiator that left a large spill on the walking path near the steps,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “The subject then returned to the vehicle, although with a struggle, turned around and drove out of the courtyard side — swiping a parked Mini Cooper.”
The witness pointed the driver out to police.
The driver told police that he’d just gone to McDonald’s to buy cigars, and then corrected himself by saying he went to get sandwiches, according to the search warrant affidavit. He also said that he took Ambien before driving.
“(The suspect) stated that he was using Ambien occasionally without prescription because it was helping hi to go to sleep,” police said in the search warrant affidavit. “(The suspect) was aware of Ambien side effects. (The suspect) admitted to ‘possibly hitting something’ before parking.”
The driver, who was released on $500 unsecured bond that same day, was charged with hit-and-run property destruction, driving an uninsured vehicle, driving while intoxicated (first offense) and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He goes to court for the offenses on July 1.
A Washington, D.C. man goes to court on Monday (May 16) for allegedly breaking down a door and pointing a gun at a woman’s head in her West End apartment.
The incident occurred on December 8, 2021, in a second floor apartment in the 100 block of S. Reynolds Street. The victim told police that she began to get a weird vibe after hanging out all day with the 26-year-old suspect, who she described as being a lifelong friend, according to a search warrant affidavit.
The couple left her apartment to get food at a nearby Popeyes restaurant, and, after returning home, the victim told police that she didn’t want him to come in after her, and put the suspect’s food and phone outside her apartment door. She also locked the door.
The victim said the suspect became enraged when he arrived at the apartment to find the door locked.
The suspect then allegedly broke down the door and entered the apartment, pointed a handgun at the victim’s neck and asked why she locked the door.
“She also advised me that he threatened to kill her,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “When (the victim) put her hands up in a surrendering motion, (the suspect) turned around and swiped the food off the table. He then exited the apartment.”
Police found the door severely damaged and food scattered across the floor. The victim then phoned the suspect and put the call on speakerphone.
“She began arguing with him on speakerphone and I could hear him state that she should not have placed his Popeyes and cell phone on the ground outside her apartment,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.
Police then called the same number, but the suspect allegedly told them he was not the man they were looking for and hung up the phone. Police then texted the number asking for a call-back to get the suspect’s side of the story.
Police then received a call from the suspect.
“The male called me back and stated he was not (the suspect), did not know anyone in Alexandria, was not in Alexandria, and did not wish to speak with me further without his lawyer on the phone,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.
The suspect was arrested more than three months later, on March 14, 2022, and charged with brandishing a firearm, burglary, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
The suspect is being held without bond in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. He goes goes before a grand jury on Monday, May 16, after which a trial date will be set.
On Monday, a grand jury indicted 46-year-old Hyattsville resident Fredy Ortiz Dominguez on charges related to the death of Roy Saravia Alvarez last November.
Dominguez allegedly struck and killed Alvarez at the intersection of West Glebe Road and Mount Vernon Avenue at around 8:10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
“The decedent, Roy Saravia Alvarez, was walking on a sidewalk at that location when he was struck by a vehicle operated by the defendant,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said in a release. “Mr. Saravia Alvarez subsequently succumbed to injuries sustained during the crash.”
Alvarez was killed just days before his 47th birthday as he was walking home from a store.
“Involuntary Manslaughter is a felony offense which carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years of incarceration in prison,” Porter said. “Reckless Driving is a misdemeanor offense which carries a potential maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,500. No trial date has been set in the matter.”
A Washington D.C. man was placed under an emergency substantial risk order on March 16 after allegedly threatening to shoot up the Alexandria Courthouse (520 King Street).
Police found the man outside of the courthouse in his red Jeep Cherokee, after his ex-girlfriend called police and said that he was having a mental health crisis, according to a search warrant affidavit. The woman told police that her ex was triggered after being threatened by a woman with a knife the previous day.
In a text message, the man told his ex that he was “outside the courthouse with my guns,” and when she asked his intentions, he responded with, “murder suicide,” according to the search warrant. She also told police that he suffers from depression and other mental health illnesses, and has never sought treatment.
The woman then sent police screenshots of texts from the man, including one that read, “I guess but at least my name will be on the news or sumn.”
Police spoke to the man on the phone, who told them he had disassembled rifles in bags in his trunk. He was not charged with a crime, and was taken into custody and transported to Inova Alexandria Hospital.
Three men are facing years behind bars for the January shooting in a West End 7-Eleven parking lot that left a bystander shot in the neck.
On March 14, the Alexandria Grand Jury charged city residents Maurice Turner, 18, and Donovan Copeland, 20, and Fairfax County resident Damonte Martin, 21, with three felonies: malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle.
The incident occurred on Jan. 9 at around 3:20 p.m. in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 30 S. South Reynolds Street. The Alexandria Police Department reported that two of the suspects left the store, got into a parked car and then fired multiple shots at another car.
“During the shooting, an innocent bystander was shot in the neck and transported to the hospital,” according to the office of Alexandria’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter. “The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.”
The trio were pulled over and arrested shortly after the incident by Alexandria Police.
The men will be tried together, and a trial date has not been set. They are being held without bond in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.
The malicious wounding charge is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison; the shooting at an occupied vehicle charge is punishable by up to 10 years; and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
A 33-year-old Alexandria resident has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, a more serious charge than he was previously facing, in connection to a stabbing at BJ’s Wholesale Club in the Landmark area.
The indictment, which a Grand Jury returned March 14, charges Rakibul Islam Fakir on the one felony count of first-degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison, according to a news release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
On Sept. 25, Alexandria Police responded to the store next to Van Dorn Plaza around 7:45 p.m. and discovered Maryland resident Abiy Zemene, 29, suffering from stab wounds. Zemene died from the injuries.
Police said at the time that Zemene and Fakir knew each other and Fakir remained at the scene until police arrived. He was then arrested without incident and charged with second-degree murder.
He’s being held at William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center without bail as he awaits trial. A trial date has not been set.
A 39-year-old Alexandria man skipped his court date this week after being charged with brandishing a firearm against his mother.
Linwood Gunter did not show up for court on Tuesday (Feb. 22), and his case is pending. He was arrested on the date of the incident, Feb. 8, and released on $1,000 bond the next day after receiving the brandishing charge.
The incident occurred at around 9:50 p.m. after the woman called 911 to report that her son pointed a gun at her head, according to a police search warrant affidavit. The woman told the dispatcher that she was safely inside a neighbor’s apartment and that her son was alone.
The mother told police that her son argued with a cousin earlier in the day, and that they began to argue. She then told police that he left the room and got a handgun, returned and pointed it at her face and threatened to kill her, according to the search warrant.
“She stated Mr. Gunter pointed the gun at her head and threatened to ‘bust her upside the head with it,'” police reported in the warrant.
During their investigation, Gunter allegedly told police that it was a paintball gun. Police then found a paintball gun under the couch.