Newsletter

DASH ridership up 26% — “[DASH] says its Sept ridership was up 26% (215,963 vs 171,589 in Aug) after it launched revamped bus route network, made fares free. Probably got a bump from more reopening/activity.” [Twitter]

Mount Vernon Trail marked for bump removal — “The trail bumps were marked by spray paint with care with hopes that our volunteers would remove them from there. Volunteer to remove trail bumps on 10/23 or 10/30.” [Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail]

Magistrate fired over comments to Times — “Magistrate Elizabeth Fuller, the woman who filed the complaint that ultimately led to the bondsman in the Karla Dominguez homicide case
losing his license, has been fired for comments she made to the Alexandria Times earlier this month.” [Alexandria Times]

Where to drop off unused prescription drugs in Alexandria — “If you have expired or unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet, Alexandria residents will have an opportunity to safely get rid of them later this month.” [Patch]

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A 43-year-old Orange County man was arrested in the Braddock area earlier this month for selling drug paraphernalia and providing a false statement to police after a concerned resident reported people passed out in a car.

On October 7, Alexandria Police found a black Acura TL parked in the 900 block of North Fayette Street. The man was asleep in the driver’s seat, and provided police with the false name of Thomas Sprow, police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Next to him in the passenger seat sat a 28-year-old woman drifting in and out of consciousness, with her door left open. Both the man and the woman were found to have outstanding warrants, and the woman (who had a failure to appear warrant) allegedly ran from police in her handcuffs before being apprehended a short distance away.

Police found more than 100 different types of pills on the male suspect, including Oxycontin, cough medicine, antidepressants, antipsychotics and antihistamines.

The man and woman complained of suffering from medical issues and were then transported to Inova Alexandria Hospital. While en route to the hospital, the woman told police that she took five one milligram “meth pills” an hour before in an effort to commit suicide, according to the affidavit.

The woman was not arrested or charged with any offense. The man was booked into the Alexandria Jail on October 10 and transferred to another facility on October 12, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He goes to court for both offenses on November 11.

Via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana to open Alexandria location— “The Alexandria location will be at the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center, 3231 Duke Street. Frank Pepe, an Italian immigrant from just southwest of Naples, founded the pizzeria in 1925 in Connecticut after working for a macaroni manufacturer and a bakery… The thin-crust pizzas are fired in a coal oven. Small pies start at less than $10 (the tomato pie), and the menu also includes salads, beer and wine. The company has not yet announced an opening date for the Alexandria location.” [Alexandria Living]

Fire Department rescues Golden Retriever with head stuck in Old Town fence — “On Saturday, Engine 201 arrived on a call to find a dog stuck on an iron fence experiencing distress. After requesting Rescue 209, first responders worked to remove the fence from the dog’s neck & return to the owner. The dog was uninjured. Great job by E201 & Rescue 209 B shift!” [Twitter]

Energy Efficient Day is October 6 — “Join the City in celebrating Energy Efficiency Day on October 6, and Energy Awareness Month during October. Energy Awareness Month highlights opportunities to help the community to sustainably use energy resources and reduce climate change.” [Twitter]

Leaf collection program returning to Alexandria — “Nov. 1 the annual leaf collection program returns! Visit alexandriava.gov/LeafCollection to get a refresh on all the details. We’ll post weekly status updates here and periodic operational updates as needed.” [Facebook]

Drug Take Back Day is October 23 — “Dispose of your expired medications during Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 23. There are various locations across the City to dispose of medications you no longer need. Learn more about how to safely dispose of medications.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Overcast with rain showers at times. High 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Cloudy (in the evening). Slight chance of a rain shower. Low around 65F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Property Maintenance Code Inspector — “Employees selected for this class are assigned to the Property Maintenance. Maintenance Code inspectors are responsible for conducting proactive inspections, reviewing complaints, and identifying applicable code violations. Inspectors in the class also perform on-site inspections; negotiate compliance solutions with property owners, tenants, and business owners when violations of the codes are discovered and recommend effective, corrective abatement actions. The Code Inspector I class serves in an entry-level capacity within the Code Inspector career ladder.” [Governmentjobs.com]

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Alexandria was spared from significant flooding this week after remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through the East Coast. The only flooding found was on lower King Street in Old Town, where businesses laid sandbags at windows and doorways.

“We’re open inside, but if you want to eat you’re probably going to have to come barefoot,” a hostess at Mai Thai told ALXnow on Wednesday.

Our top story this week was, for the second week in a row, on the recent brawl inside Alexandria City High School.

It’s a three-day weekend, and on Sunday the annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street. Monday is Labor Day, and the city will operate on a holiday schedule.

In this week’s poll we asked how satisfied readers are with Alexandria City Public Schools since reopening on August 24. A majority (31%) reported being extremely unsatisfied with the school system, while 29% said ACPS has done a good job, 25% are extremely satisfied and 14% are unhappy overall.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  2. 13-year-old hit by car while walking home from school in Del Ray
  3. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  4. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  5. No injuries or arrests after shots fired on Duke Street
  6. ACPS Superintendent Hutchings asks community to hit the brakes on email campaigns
  7. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  8. Alexandria sees cases rise in August and warns of COVID-19 in schools
  9. Alexandria man convicted for possessing child porn and violating parole
  10. Historic Black cemetery under threat of being washed away in Old Town
  11. Man swallows two bags of drugs and runs from police in Old Town

Have a safe weekend!

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A 35-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after swallowing two bags of drugs and running away from police on foot through Old Town North.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, August 11, at around 9:15 p.m. Police were called regarding a bronze Toyota Camry with severe damage was “excessively changing lanes” before parking near the Harris Teeter at N. Saint Asaph Street and Madison Street.

Police drove to the area in time to see the Camry leave the area, and pulled the car over after seeing that the temporary paper tag on the rear of the car was illegible and damaged, police said in a search warrant.

The driver was later charged with a failure to show license plates, but it was the passenger that caught the attention of police. He avoided eye contact and was “sweating profusely on his face and head,” police said. “His speech was slurred, and he had a hard time forming a full sentence. On a couple of occasions, he seemed to doze off and almost fall asleep.”

While speaking with a slur and not able to complete sentences, the suspect then allegedly gave police a false name and said that he did not have an ID with him.

The passenger was taken out of the car and sat on the curb, where he fumbled with a phone and told police that he was trying to call people with his identifying information. The phone then turned off because of a low battery, and then the suspect fled from officers on foot.

The suspect rain about four flocks before he was apprehended by police. An ambulance then arrived at the scene, and the suspect told a medic that he’d taken fentanyl earlier, and was then given the anti-opioid Naxolone spray.

On the way to the hospital in the ambulance, the suspect vomited a “small yellow bag of brownish/white powder believed to be heroin or fentanyl.” The suspect then admitted to police that he’d swallowed two bags of drugs.

Police determined the suspect’s identity at the hospital, and found he was wanted for outstanding fail to appear warrants in Fairfax and Prince William Counties. He was charged with intent to distribute drugs, resisting arrest and giving police a false identity.

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Morning Notes

Remnants of Hurricane Ida headed for Alexandria — “Tuesday will be cloudy with only reaching the mid-80s. Scattered thunderstorms will start Tuesday evening and will become more widespread into Wednesday dropping an estimated two to six inches of rain. Alexandria city officials will be handing out sandbags to residents Tuesday morning ahead of the storm.” [Alexandria Living]

City Hall lit blue for Opioid Awareness Day — “Wonder why City Hall was lit up last night? It’s lit up teal through September 1 in recognition of #InternationalOverdoseAwarenessDay! The City is also giving out free Narcan and fentanyl test strips–find out more at alexandriava.gov/123920.” [Twitter]

Old Town Festival of Speed and Style is this Sunday — “The Old Town Festival of Speed & Style highlights all the things that make Old Town unique — history, architecture, great food, fabulous people, art, style and energy. On Sunday, Sept. 5, view dozens of exotic cars on display in Old Town, centered on lower King Street.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Overcast. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High near 85F. Winds light and variable… Scattered thunderstorms during the evening becoming more widespread overnight. Low 71F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Seasonal leaf collection — “An essential function of this position is the ability to perform a variety of manual labor tasks to include heavy lifting and bending, in adverse weather conditions.” [Indeed]

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Photo courtesy Michael Longmire/Unsplash

Alexandria will likely be getting an influx of funding from a statewide opioids settlement, but how much and where exactly that funding will be going remains to be determined.

The City Council met last night for a special session — interrupting the brief summer break due to the need to have a decision the city should join the Virginia Opioid Abatement Fund and Settlement Allocation Memorandum.

City attorney Joanna Anderson said the city previously filed litigation opioid companies and the decision is likely coming to a settlement at a statewide level.

Anderson also said the precautions are being taken at a state and local level to handle distribution of funding from settlements better than in the past.

“We’re having discussions with Attorney General’s office,” Anderson said. “We think this is a fair way for funds to come down. [This will be] handled better than previous settlements, like tobacco settlement. This agreement represents localities better. We think this is a fair process to do this.”

City Manager Mark Jinks said that currently it is unknown how much money the city will get and where that funding is going once it gets here.

“At this point, there’s been no decision on how to allocate funds,” Jinks said. “That will probably be part of annual budget process. It doesn’t have to be allocated to any one organization. We have an opioid work group and coordinator… and we will be looking for what’s the best application of money — at what’s the highest need.”

Photo courtesy Michael Longmire/Unsplash

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More details have been released on the murder of a 23-year-old man in the West End last year, and the criminal organization the suspect was involved with that was brought down by the Alexandria Police Department.

The victim, Yousef Omar, was found shot multiple times on Saturday, November 7, 2020. He was in the driver’s seat of a 2016 silver Mercedes E350, and a firearm was found near his body, as well as numerous shell casings, indicating that he may have fired at his attacker.

In June, 23-year-old Ahmed Mohammed Shareef, of Cosa Mesta, California, was indicted for Omar’s murder, and was one of 17 people indicted and arrested on charges related to a massive racketeering conspiracy that involved a “complex drug trafficking organization” allegedly responsible for the sale of approximately $500,000 worth of marijuana.

A witness told police that they saw Shareef and Omar driving together, and saw Shareef “exit the vehicle and proceed to shoot the victim multiple times as he sat in the driver’s sear, striking him multiple times,” police said in a search warrant. “The suspect then ran to a waiting vehicle, entering the front passenger seat and fleeing the scene.”

Shareef, wounded by a gunshot, checked himself into Howard University Hospital a half hour after the murder, police said.

Omar was parked across the street from the Newport Village apartment complex near Fort Ward Park, and was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting — at around 3:30 p.m. It was the third and final homicide of the year.

“The investigation also revealed that the likely motive (of the murder) was over an unresolved drug debt and potential interference by the victim to pry customers away from the (drug trafficking organization),” police said.

The investigation of the drug trafficking organization resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals, including Shareef, and seizure of $500,000 worth of marijuana, nearly $275,000 in cash, 23 firearms, cocaine and other drugs, digital scales, money counters, fake identifications and a number of vehicles.

Police found that the suspects’ drug trafficking organization was operational for years, with suspects ferrying marijuana between Los Angeles, California, and airports around Alexandria, in large suitcases on commercial airliners. In many instances, the suspect who checked the baggage in California would not get on flights and the bags, with different names on identification tags, would be picked up by other suspects in Virginia. The marijuana in the luggage was found in vacuum-sealed bags.

“The method included top tier traffickers purchasing flights for individuals and packing large suitcases with other materials to conceal large quantities of marijuana, ensuring that the bag was checked approximately 50 minutes before the flight left and would often be picked up by different individuals at DCA (Washington Reagan International Airport) and IAD (Dulles International) airports in the Commonwealth,” police said.

The investigation, which included multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the region and in Washington State and California, resulted in the seizure of 23 firearms, nearly $275,000 in U.S. currency, as well as cocaine and other controlled substances, digital scales, electronic money counters, fake identifications and multiple vehicles.

Shareef faces life in prison for the murder charge, three years for the firearms charge and up to 40 years for the racketeering charge.

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Alexandria Police are investigating a claim that a woman’s drink was drugged at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge on the waterfront.

The woman filed a police report after the incident, which allegedly occurred on the evening of July 9 — the same night as the fireworks for the city’s birthday celebration. The woman reported the incident on NextDoor, and said she was sitting in the walkthrough area next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center when it occurred.

“I enjoyed a couple of Orange Crushes, scrolled on my phone and watched the crowd,” the woman reported. “I can’t tell you much of what happened after that, besides knowing now (Google maps tracker) that I miraculously walked the couple of blocks back to my apartment. My fiance returned home from work to find me a step inside of my apartment on the floor. I was unable to talk, stand, or remain conscious. I have complete amnesia of any of the events from receiving my last drink forward.”

The woman, who says she is a registered nurse, wrote that her condition persisted for 10 hours or so, that she did not go to the hospital and instead contacted her primary care physician.

“I am usually pretty aware of my surroundings,” she wrote. “I cannot tell you what happened, why, or anything like that, though I wish that I could. It is very highly unlikely that I had left my drink alone outside to go inside to the bathroom, etc. But it seems the only explanation is that something was slipped into my drink.”

The owner of Vola’s told ALXnow that they are working with police. He said no one has alleged any employees did anything wrong and that what occurred is still unclear.

After a break last year, National Night Out is returning on Tuesday, August 3.

The annual community-building campaign brings the Alexandria Police Department, Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office and other City agencies into communities for cookouts as part of a nationwide crime and drug prevention effort.

Previous National Night Out events have brought McGruff the Crime Dog, Spider-Man and other celebrities to cookout locations, along with quick visits from elected officials and other city leaders.

The event was founded by the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. The celebration was postponed last year due to the pandemic, and now more than 20 Alexandria neighborhoods will host block parties, cookouts, and ice cream socials from 5 p.m to 9 p.m.

via Facebook

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