Alexandria, VA

More details have emerged after a West End robbery at gunpoint that left three men beaten and tied up with phone charging cords.

The incident was reported at around 11:30 p.m. on March 19 at an apartment in the 5000 block of Seminary Road. Police also reported that one of the victims’ cars was stolen.

One victim told police that there was a knock on the apartment door, and he blacked out after being pistol-whipped as soon as it opened.

The resident of the apartment told police that he fell asleep on his bed and woke to find an unknown suspect with their hand over his mouth. The victim said that two of his friends were also in the apartment at the time, and that four masked men entered and held them at gunpoint, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The resident told police that one of the suspects reached into his pockets, took his wallet and stole $8,000.

The third victim told police that he, too, was pistol-whipped and regained consciousness as his friends untied his bonds. He told police that $500 was stolen and that he had no idea why they were targeted.

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A fight between teenagers in a West End apartment building last month could have turned deadly after a gun was pointed at a 13-year-old girl.

The girl was not seriously injured, but was “visibly shaken” when police responded to the 1400 block of N. Beauregard Street at around 5 p.m. on Feb. 23. Police said that her hair was messy as if she’d been in a fight and that makeup was running down her face as if she’d been crying.

The girl reported that she was on the phone in the laundry room of her building when there was a knock at the door. She opened it and saw an underage girl she knows and five-to-six juvenile males standing behind her. The victim said that the underage girl pushed her to the ground and started kicking and possibly punching her, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

In the process, the victim lost her rose-colored iPhone 12 Pro, and ran after the suspects after realizing it was missing. It was in the parking lot of the building that the suspects “piled” into  black sedan, according to police. That car, a black Kia, was reported stolen from Prince William County.

“One of the juvenile males, trying to prevent the victim from getting to the vehicle, began to block her path and push her aside,” police said in the search warrant. “Another juvenile who had already gotten into the vehicle brandished a firearm at the victim. He told her to stop chasing them or he would shoot her.”

The victim was able to provide police with the descriptions of three suspects. Four juveniles were found a mile away in the 400 block of N. Armistead Street, and they ran inside an apartment building when police approached.

Police arrested a 13-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy, and two 17-year-old boys, although one of them could not be identified in a lineup by the victim and was released. The victim’s iPhone ended up falling out of one of the 17-year-old boys’ pockets when he was being put in the cruiser, and he reportedly admitted that it was not his phone. One of the suspects also reportedly told police that he previously tried to sell the victim a handgun.

Alexandria Police did not otherwise comment on the incident or the suspects since they are minors and the incident did not result in death.

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An 18-year-old Fairfax County man is under investigation for firing gunshots in the West End, and soon faces a series of court appearances on gun-and-driving-related charges.

At around 11 p.m. on November 27, gunfire was heard coming from the front-facing front floor balcony of a home in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue, which is near Holmes Run and about a mile away from Inova Alexandria Hospital.

Witnesses told police that they heard three gunshots in rapid succession followed by two single shots a short time later, according to a search warrant affidavit. A woman told police that she heard eight gunshots, and a man reported also hearing gunshots the night before. Another man who was interviewed saw three young men run from the area of the neighborhood playground. It was near there on the ground floor balcony of a home that police found three shell casings and blood droplets.

The suspect was arrested after being pulled over in the 3600 block of Russell Road by an Alexandria Police detective on Dec. 1. Under the driver’s seat police found a 40 caliber handgun loaded with two Speer 40 Smith and Wesson bullets.

“It should be noted that the shell casing recovered from the scene of the crime (were) also Speer 40 Smith and Wesson,” the affidavit said.

The suspect was arrested and was released on bond that same day. He goes to court this and next month for a concealed carry violation, possession of a firearm in a school zone, driving without a license and driving with tinted windows.

There was a 49% increase in shots fired calls for service in 2020 over 2019. In January, APD released figures showing 57 incidents in 2020 versus the 37 incidents the previous year.

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What an eventful week in Alexandria.

Thursday, March 11, marked the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic in Alexandria. As the vaccine rollout slowly improves, the most recent news is the allowance of restaurant workers to get the vaccine. Just over 38,000 doses have been administered in the city, and of that 14,661 residents have been fully vaccinated. The city also wants 80% of residents vaccinated by July 31.

Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne also announced that he will not seek reelection this fall, bringing an end to his 43-year law enforcement career. Lawhorne’s protege Sean Casey is now running for the seat in the June 8 Democratic primary.

Criticism against the proposed renovation of the Taylor Run Stream continued this week, and even City Councilwoman Amy Jackson has decided to join residents in opposition.

More than 220 people participated in our poll this week on school resource officers. More than half of respondents said that ACPS should hire more SROs, 30% said the program should be eliminated and 11% believe SROs should only work part time.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories:

Our top stories this week:

  1. Inova to Launch New Vaccine Clinic Inside Revamped Victory Center
  2. Battle Royale: Princess Street Development Duel Returns to City This Month
  3. Just In: Captain Sean Casey is Running for Alexandria Sheriff
  4. Alexandria Police Arrest Seven People and Seize Drugs, Guns and Cash
  5. Development Questions Remain for New Braddock West Project Headed to City Council
  6. City Could Help Turn Hotels Emptied by Coronavirus Into Affordable Housing
  7. Just Listed in Alexandria
  8. Do You Like the Suggested Names for T.C. Williams and Matthew Maury?
  9. A Year Late, Contractor Eyes Spring Completion for King Street Metro Access Improvement Project
  10. Superintendent Proposes New Names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary
  11. Councilwoman Amy Jackson Argues With School Board Over MacArthur Elementary Construction Schedule

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police arrested seven people and seized $158,000 in cash, guns and drugs last week, as part of an ongoing investigation that resulted in eight search warrants being executed in the region.

Police would not reveal the identities of the suspects arrested or any further details, and only listed what was seized in a Friday press release. Seized items included:

  • U.S. currency totaling $157,997
  • 27 pounds of marijuana
  • 11 firearms (including three semi-automatic rifles)
  • Ammunition
  • Drug-packaging materials
  • Prescription pills
  • Cell phones and computers
  • Two money counters
  • 16 grams of suspected cocaine

“We want to commend the excellent planning, execution and police work of everyone involved,” said Police Chief Michael L. Brown. “This is just one example of the Alexandria Police Department working to ensure the safety of our City and community.”

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Alexandria Police are working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on investigating the steep uptick in gunfire incidents that have wounded city residents and terrorized communities.

There was a 49% increase in shots fired calls for service in 2020 over 2019. Over the weekend, APD released figures showing 57 incidents in 2020 versus the 37 incidents the previous year.

APD reported arresting 20 individuals, recovering 17 guns and other evidence connected to the 2020 incidents, in addition to executing 90 search warrants. November and September tied with 11 reported shots fired incidents last year, while the most peaceful months were December and February with two respective cases.

“We remain very concerned about the recent increase in firearm-related incidents in the City,” Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “Our Police Department is working aggressively to get the criminals and the weapons that are placing our community at risk off our streets. I’m pleased to see they have engaged our Federal partners to end these dangerous incidents.”

There have been two incidents of gunfire this month.

Police Chief Michael L. Brown will update City Council on the incidents at tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting.

“We are following every lead and working tirelessly to disrupt this criminal activity,” said Brown said in a statement. “We want to assure our community that this remains a top priority for the Police Department.”

Police mitigation efforts have included community meetings, asking the public for help and increasing their presence in the West End and Old Town North.

“To avoid jeopardizing the active investigations into these incidents, the Police Department cannot release additional details to the public at this time,” police reported.

Incidents include a barricade situation with a woman allegedly firing on police in Potomac Yard, a police shootout in Old Town North that led to the death of a suspect, and three murders.

Anyone who hears gunfire is asked to call Alexandria Police Sgt. William Taylor at 703-746-6271. Callers can remain anonymous.

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No injuries have been reported after another shooting in Old Town North, this time on Monday night (Dec. 28) near the intersection of North Henry and Montgomery Streets.

“There were multiple shell casings recovered,” Alexandria Police spokesperson Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “A building was hit, but no injuries were reported. It is an ongoing investigation at this time.”

No suspect information was available. The shots were reported at around 6 p.m.

The incident comes on the heels of a Dec. 20 shooting in the area of North Patrick and Montgomery Streets, which is one block away. The earlier shooting also took place at around 6 p.m.

The area where the shots were fired is near the Braddock Road Metro Station, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties and the Charles Houston Recreation Center. It is also less than a half mile from a police shootout in October that left one man dead.

Police have asked for the public’s help and increased their presence after an uptick in shootings, many of which have occurred in Old Town North and the West End.

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A 22-year-old Alexandria man was arrested last month for receiving a stolen firearm and resisting arrest in the West End.

The man was arrested on Nov. 24 after police responded to a call that a suspect walked into the 7-Eleven store at 4949 Seminary Road in the Southern Towers apartment complex, brandished a handgun and allegedly stated that “he would kill everyone,” according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The officer found the suspect a block away. The officer ordered the suspect to stop, and he allegedly ran from the scene. He was wearing a single shoe at the time of his arrest, according to police.

After the arrest, the officer retraced the suspect’s steps and found his shoe and a black backpack with a handgun. The gun had 15 rounds in the magazine, and a records check found that it was stolen from Baltimore, Maryland, according to the affidavit.

The suspect was charged with resisting arrest and receiving a stolen firearm. He was booked in the Alexandria jail on Nov. 25 and was released on Dec. 9.

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There were no injuries or arrests after another incident of gunfire in Old Town.

Alexandria police reported a call for shots fired early Sunday evening in the area of North Patrick and Montgomery Streets in Old Town.

Police spokesperson Amanda Paga told ALXnow that evidence was collected at the scene, but could not confirm how many shots were fired or if anything was hit. She also did not confirm when police received the call. The public was notified in a tweet at 6:06 p.m.

Alexandria Police has seen a surge in calls for shots fired this year.

The incident occurred a block north of the Charles Houston Recreation Center, and is near Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties and restaurants.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Man Shot to Death in Georgetown — “Officers from the Second District responded around 2:56 a.m., to the 3300 block of Water St., N.W., for the sound of gunshots. They found Franklin Hernandez Arevalo, 19, of Alexandria, Virginia suffering from a gunshot wound. D.C. Fire and EMS determined Arevalo had died and transported him later to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.” [Patch]

Beyer Says Trump Trying to Steal Election — “This is simple: Donald Trump is openly trying to steal an election he lost. He will not succeed, but we will remember who went along with it. ‘I was just following orders’ will not be accepted as an excuse for attempting to overthrow the results of an American election.” [Twitter]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution is this Saturday — “On Sat, Nov 14, 8:30-10:30 am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot (3600 Commonwealth Ave) and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (3320 Bisdorf Drive; map at alive-inc.org).” [Twitter]

Free Flu Shots This Wednesday — “Now is the time to get a flu shot! The next Alexandria Inova Cares Clinic for Families FREE flu shot clinic for uninsured people is Wednesday, Nov. 11, 3-5 p.m.” [Twitter]

Virtual Alexandria Film Festival Kicks Off Nov. 12 — “There are about 50 films in this year’s festival.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). Areas of patchy fog. High around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Partly cloudy skies during the evening will give way to cloudy skies overnight. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 62F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Juvenile Detention Specialist — “The Detention Specialist work involves providing direct care to detainees in the custody of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. The primary responsibilities for the position are to provide security, safety and care for juveniles. The Detention Specialist shall receive direct supervision by the Assistant Shift Supervisor and Shift Supervisor.” [Indeed]

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