Newsletter

What a hot week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

Our top story this week was on the five men arrested after shots were fired in Old Town last month. There were quite a few crime incidents to report on, in fact, including a man who was arrested in the Landmark area after shooting his cat and a man arrested for selling marijuana and illegally possessing a gun.

Weather-wise, temperatures were in the high 90s this week, as the city once again offered cooling centers for residents needing shelter from the elements.

On Friday, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge visited The Spire affordable housing complex in the West End. Fudge briefly met Mayor Justin Wilson and Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) for a tour of the facility, as she later touted the Biden Administration’s Built Back Better agenda.

Have you been getting mite bites? You’re not alone. According to our weekly poll, a vast majority of the 600+ respondents reported getting bitten.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Five arrested after shots fired in Old Town North
  2. Alexandria updates COVID-19 guidance as cases increase
  3. Alexandria Police say drug debt was behind West End murder
  4. Child neglect suspect arrested after evading Alexandria police for six months
  5. Alexandria opens up on details for new guaranteed basic income program
  6. Amy DuVall quit her career as an environmental lawyer in D.C. to bake Italian cookies in Alexandria
  7. Former ACPS administrator Tammy Ignacio says experience matters in School Board bid
  8. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  9. Development on West End lot could signal the start of Mark Center overhaul
  10. Parker-Gray development asks for more density and less parking
  11. ACPS is not requiring staff to get vaccinated before school starts systemwide August 24

Have a safe weekend!

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A 27-year-old Woodbridge man has been arrested by Alexandria Police after allegedly evading his court date for child neglect and ducking law enforcement for nearly six months.

The man, who was arrested on August 3, failed to show up for his Feb. 11 court sentencing at the Alexandria Courthouse.

In the first week in May, police reached out to the suspect via phone, and he allegedly told police that he needed a few weeks to get his affairs in order and would turn himself in, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police called the suspect back two weeks later, but the call didn’t go through. The suspect, who is also wanted for failing to appear in court for assault and battery against a police officer in Prince William County, blocked the number.

The suspect was held without bond, and transferred to Prince William County.

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It was a quick week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

With summer in full swing, three Alexandria athletes have made it on the U.S. Olympic Team — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley.

In other sporting news, Old Town businesses beat Del Ray in a controversial softball game Wednesday, adding fuel to the fire of an intense rivalry.

It’s been super hot out lately, and the City urged caution and reminded residents to take advantage of special cooling centers.

On the COVID front, the city’s DASH bus service announced that one of its drivers passed away from complications from the virus.

Meanwhile, Mayor Justin Wilson believes that the city has met its 80% vaccination threshold, while Virginia Department of Health data says about 65% of residents over the age of 16 are partially vaccinated. The Alexandria Health Department, which just launched a COVID-19 test and vaccine pilot at T.C. Williams High School, says the data does not take into account city residents vaccinated in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

It’s also July 4 weekend, and in this week’s poll we asked whether readers plan on traveling, with 67% of respondents voting to stay home, 27% opting to travel by car and just 6% traveling by air.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. Landmark Mall plan approved as Planning Commission demands better environmental considerations
  4. Alexandria leaders acknowledge serious security issues with elimination of school resource officer funding
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
  7. Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
  8. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  9. City talks strategy on making Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood Amazon-proof
  10. UPDATE: Man taken into custody as West End apartment barricade situation ends peacefully
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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A 32-year-old Alexandria man fled to his native county of El Salvador last month, after allegedly raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter in the Landmark area.

The girl gave birth to a boy on June 10.

Her mother told police that the last time she spoke with her husband was on May 8, when he called and said that he was going fishing. The stepfather never returned, and his wife later received a text from his brother showing her husband with his sister in El Salvador, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The girl told police that her stepfather raped her three times — twice in their apartment in the 200 block of S. Reynolds Street in the Landmark area and once at their previous apartment in Manassas. She said that he threatened to kill her mother if she told her about the incidents, and forced her to say that she got pregnant by another student, according to police.

Alexandria Police later found that the suspect deactivated his Facebook account, and that he flew on an early morning Avianca Airlines flight to El Salvador.

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An Alexandria man has pleaded guilty to two counts of producing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Abel Amcrocio, 54, was arrested last year, and after pleading guilty, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 4. Amcrocio faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The press release said the child pornography started when Ambrocio, who is a Mexican national, developed an online relationship with a woman in Honduras over an unnamed social media platform.

“From around October 2018 through at least February 2019, Ambrocio instructed the woman to record and send him over 100 images of herself sexually abusing her two children — an approximately three-year-old boy and an approximately ten-year-old girl,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release. “Ambrocio instructed the mother to engage in specific sex acts with her children and record herself doing so on multiple occasions, even when she told Ambrocio that one of the children was in pain and crying from the previous sex act.”

In March 2019, Ambrocio distributed images of the woman abusing her three-year-old on a social media platform.

“The defendant’s conduct, which caused the sexual abuse of two young children by their own mother, is both horrific and heartbreaking,” said Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The production of child pornography inflicts devastating and lifelong harm to society’s most vulnerable victims. [The Eastern District of Virginia] is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring child sexual predators to justice.”

The press release noted that the case was brought forward as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

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(Updated 1:30 p.m.) A woman was allegedly stabbed in the head by the father of her child after he allegedly forced his way into her apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria.

The incident occurred on September 26 at around 9:15 p.m. in the 700 block of Tennessee Avenue.

“After assaulting her with the knife, (the suspect) then took his three-year-old son and left the area in an unknown direction,” according to a police search warrant affidavit that was issued last month.

Police pinged the suspect’s phone, and found that it was in the apartment where the incident occurred. Police answered the suspect’s ringing phone from a contact listed as “Carlos trabajo” (Carlos work), and the caller said he’d been watching the suspect’s son and was wondering when he was going to pick him up.

The boy was soon reunited with his family.

The suspect, 36-year-old Miguel Moreno, has not been apprehended and is wanted for statutory burglary, abuse or neglect of children and malicious wounding.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Beyer Urges Senate to Remove Trump After House Impeachment — “Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States, and a menace to the Constitution. The events of the past week, my conscience, my oath of office, and my duty to the people of Northern Virginia allow no other course than to vote for his impeachment. I urge the Senate to remove him from office as swiftly as possible.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Police Seeking Alexandria Man For Assaulting Woodbridge Boy — “Ian M. Simpson is wanted after police said he attempted to strangle an 8-year-old boy during after two arguments between the two relatives.” [Patch]

Police: Business Robbed on N. Quaker Lane Wednesday Morning — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from a business in the 1600 block of N. Quaker Lane. It happened around 5:45am. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

WATCH: Governor Northam Gives State of Commonwealth Speech — “My 2021 State of the Commonwealth address is starting–watch live.” [Twitter]

Poll Opens to Select New Names for T.C. Williams High and Matthew Maury Elementary Schools — “Between now and Jan. 27, we are asking everyone to help us whittle down names that have been suggested by our students over the last month. Don’t like any of the options you see? The community will also be given another chance to make suggestions at this time.” [Zebra]

Casa Chirilagua Gets Desk Donations from Building Momentum — “Casa Chirilagua, a non-profit serving the Arlandria neighborhood in northern Virginia near Reagan National Airport, has been one of the largest recipients and distributors of the desks. Adriana Gómez Schellhaas, executive director of Casa Chirilagua, said the non-profit has distributed over 50 desks to homes and learning centers in their community.” [USChamber.com]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High near 55F. Winds light and variable… A few clouds from time to time in the evening. Low 31F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Experienced Servers at Mia’s Italian Kitchen — “We are searching for Experienced Servers to join our Team at Mia’s in OLD TOWN” [Indeed]

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Three Alexandria children are safe after being left home alone in “deplorable conditions,” according to police.

Charges are pending against the mother of the children, a woman in her 20s, who was described by the children’s grandmother as suffering from mental issues and being off her medication, according to a search warrant affidavit.

On Nov. 16, Alexandria Police met the grandmother at the children’s home in the 600 block of N. Pelham Street, which is near Holmes Run in the West End. Inside, police found the children — ages six, four and three — in “deplorable conditions,” according to the affidavit.

“There were piles of clothes strewn all over the house to include the floors and furniture,” police said in the affidavit. “There were empty food containers and food all over the house. It appeared as if they used the floor as a trash can. This was consistent throughout the home.”

Officers found the six-year-old hiding behind a couch with a small plate of pancakes she had just made in the microwave. The child told police that she slept on the couch in the living room, and that “mommy smokes weed with men in the basement,” according to the affidavit.

Minutes later, police witnessed the four and three-year-old children playing with long serrated knives from the kitchen. They also found a bedroom that reeked of urine.

The grandmother called police after finding the children home alone. She reported that the last time she’d spoken with her daughter was three days before to give her groceries.

“The groceries provided to the (mother) were still in the bags to include the fresh meat and milk,” police reported in the affidavit. “There were several bags that appeared to have been rummaged through by the children, possibly looking for food.”

A next door neighbor then called the mother and told them that police were at her house. The neighbor told police that the children are often left unattended, and that once the eldest child asked to use the neighbor’s phone at 1:30 a.m. to call her mother.

The mother arrived home shortly thereafter and told police that she’d gone to buy groceries at the nearby Giant on Little River Turnpike.

“They were asleep,” the mother reportedly told police when asked why her children were left alone. She refused to say how long she had been away.

Child Protective Services then arrived and made arrangements with other family members to take care of the children during the investigation, according to the affidavit.

Map via Google Maps

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A 32-year-old Alexandria man faces 10 years behind bars for allegedly possessing child pornography from 2016 to 2018.

Sean Michael McLaughlin, a registered nurse at Virginia Hospital Center at the time of his arrest last October, was convicted in federal court of child porn possession on September 11. According to court records, McLaughlin downloaded videos with prepubescent children “engaging in sexual activity” and being restrained with bondage and being sexually assaulted by adults.

“McLaughlin admitted to repeatedly searching for, downloading, viewing, and possessing child pornography,” according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia’s office.

The videos were downloaded on the eDonkey2000 peer-to-peer network, according to a search warrant affidavit. The first videos were downloaded in 2017 from McLaughlin’s mother’s house, according to the affidavit.

“McLaughlin stated that after he downloads the material he deletes the files and then uninstalls the program,” the affidavit noted. “McLaughlin estimated that he had downloaded 50 videos that contained child sexual exploitation material in the past year.”

McLaughlin will be sentenced on January 20, 2021.

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Morning Notes

Today’s the First Day of School for ACPS — “Let’s focus on getting connected this week! Make sure you have access to technology and have completed your back-to-school forms.” [ACPS]

West End Development Could Add Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units — “Wesley Housing is requesting a pre-development loan of $400,000 to start the development process on ParcView II, a new affordable rental project on Holmes Run Parkway in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

Child Abuse Reports Go Down 40% — “Typically, Alexandria Child Protective Services receives more case reports in the spring than any other time of the year. However, this spring reports were down 40 percent from the average in recent years.” [Alexandria Living]

Gong Meditation Today in Del Ray — “Join us each Tuesday from 6-7pm, September 1 through October 20. Relax and support your body, mind and spirit through sound, yoga and meditation. Take a break from today’s hectic and stressful environment and see how you can benefit from sound therapy.” [Facebook]

Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution This Thursday — “Help serve meals and groceries this Thursday, September 10 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. A project from the Washington Street UMC, ALIVE!, ARHA, and Charles Houston Recreation Center – this event generally serves more than 150 families!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Shows ‘Back To The Future’ —  “Remembering you have one of the sold out spots for Back to the Future this Saturday …  ” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 88F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, partly to mostly cloudy. Low 69F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Keyholder at FatFace — “Our Alexandria store is looking for a passionate supervisor to lead the team and establish the brand in the local area.” [Indeed]

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