A 25-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond in the city jail after allegedly eluding police outside William Ramsay Elementary School in the West End.

The suspect allegedly got into a phone argument with the mother of his child, and then waited for her outside the school building. The mother called police, and two responding police officers found the suspect waiting outside as the school day was ending and parents were picking up kids.

The suspect was asked to continue the conversation away from school grounds, and when he refused police told him he was being arrested. He then allegedly ran away from police.

An emergency protective order was later issued against the suspect, who was arrested 11 days later and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Map via Google Maps

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What a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week is on Gregory Elliott, a special education teacher at T.C. Williams High School. Elliot also goes by the name of “Sugar Bear” for the D.C.-based go-go band Experience Unlimited, and their song “Da’ Butt” from the Spike Lee movie “School Daze” was featured at the Oscars, along with actress Glenn Close dancing to it.

This week was full of news.

City Manager Mark Jinks hinted at retiring, there was a chlorine spill at Lake Cook and the Alexandria Fire Department is contending with reports of racism, sexism and favoritism.

Additionally, a cyberattack on a gas pipeline resulted in a state of emergency throughout Virginia. We asked readers about it in our weekly poll, and out of 250 responses only 31% (78 votes) considered making alternate travel plans.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout
  2. Landmark Mall developers to field public question in forum this week
  3. UPDATE: Woman arrested for firing gun near Alexandria Courthouse in Old Town
  4. AHDC proposes nearly 500 units of affordable housing for Arlandria
  5. ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria
  6. Here’s which City Council candidates signed the new ‘Alexandria Constituents’ Bill of Rights’ pledge
  7. Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested for breaking into home and beating up witness
  8. Election: Stark differences as Wilson and Silberberg face off in mayoral debate
  9. Racism, sexism and favoritism reported within the Alexandria Fire Department
  10. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  11. Wilson and Silberberg clash over new challenges, old wounds, and The Golden Girls

Have a safe weekend!

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Once a week, Alexandria Police are walking through Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties with residents.

The visits are part of an effort that launched in January to build trust between police and the mostly Black community in Old Town, which has suffered under the increase of crime during the pandemic.

Kevin Harris, president of the ARHA citizens association, has worked closely with police to create the walkthrough program. Harris, who lives with his wife and four children on ARHA property, is also a Democratic candidate for City Council.

“We put out flyers ahead of time, letting people know what’s gonna go on,” Harris said on the Saturday morning visits from police. “It’s going great, and it clearly is something that [police] like and that they want to continue, and not just in on our properties but across the city.”

Police Chief Michael Brown said he plans on gauging neighborhood concerns at town halls in the near future.

“We really want to understand the silent voices in the community,” Brown said, adding that he’s talked with residents in private settings. “I’ve actually enjoyed that opportunity, because of the dialogue that we were able to have. The real issue here is not so much being forward-facing giving out just hot dogs, but listening to the concerns of the people that are there. That’s their community and we need to understand it.”

Just last month, a chase suspect died after being arrested after he and his passengers allegedly fired multiple bullets at buildings and cars near ARHA property in Old Town North. Six Alexandria Police officers remain on administrative duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation on the incident.

Brown also said that APD’s Community Relations Division is working on sending out multiple surveys to business and residential communities throughout the city on police and crime issues that need to be addressed. Additionally, officers will be focused on walking or bicycling through specific neighborhood beats — a far cry from the worst days of the pandemic when officers were being taken off the streets.

“This pandemic has been a struggle for everybody, and the police department as well,” he said. “We’d like to get back to normal as quickly as we can, but we’re still going to be safe about it.”

There was a surge in gunfire incidents and other crime last year, including a harrowing shootout that left a suspect dead. Three APD officers remain on administrative duties as a result of that incident as well. The incidents prompted ARHA to install security cameras at its properties.

ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew says that most of the crime is from outside actors, not ARHA residents.

“Too many times they (residents) get painted with that brush that they’re the problem,” Pettigrew said. “ARHA residents want to be part of the solution.”

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Alexandria Police are investigating two armed robberies that occurred within a half hour of each other in Del Ray and Arlandria on Tuesday (May 4) afternoon.

A male victim was robbed of his cell phone at gunpoint by two male suspects at around 12:15 p.m. in the unit block of E. Oxford Avenue in Del Ray. Then at around 12:40, another male victim was robbed of his cell phone and wallet at gunpoint by two male suspects in the 3900 block of Courtland Circle in Arlandria.

“The suspects fled both scenes in a vehicle,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “Suspect descriptions are still being developed.”

No one was injured in the incidents.

E. Oxford Avenue map and Courtland Circle map via Google Maps

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A 50-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond in the city jail for allegedly firing a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.

Melvin Farmer was booked into jail on April 15 — three days after the incident — and charged with attempted malicious wounding and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was previously convicted of six felonies, including breaking and entering, malicious wounding and being a fugitive from justice.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 421 E. Braddock Road, which is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School.

Security footage from a nearby surveillance camera captured Farmer allegedly urinating on the side of the building, and then walk into the store. Farmer then “appears to get into an argument with another known subject near the register of the 7-Eleven and continue to argue outside of the store,” according to a police search warrant affidavit.

Farmer is then seen walking back to his silver minivan to retrieve a handgun, according to police.

“The other male is seen walking and then running while Farmer proceeds to raise his right hand in what appears to be a shooting motion,” police reported. “An ashtray portion of a trash can is seen jumping from its resting location.”

Police said that Farmer then entered the store with what appeared to be a gun in his right hand, and that he quickly looked around and walked out. He was then seen getting into his minivan and driving away.

Police recovered a shell casing near where Farmer’s minivan was parked, and a lead slug near the trash can.

Farmer was arrested at the Best Western in Springfield, and was scheduled to check out of his room on April 16, according to police. He goes to court for the incident on May 18.

Map via Google Maps

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A man was robbed at gunpoint in a residential area of the West End on Tuesday night, according to Alexandria Police.

Police tweeted that at around 11:20 p.m., the victim was walking in the 200 block of Century Place when he was approached by a suspect, who displayed a handgun.

The suspect allegedly stole personal items and the victim was not injured.

No suspect description was provided.

Map via Google Maps

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A 20-year-old Alexandria man faces life in prison plus 13 years for five felonies, including the murder of 47-year-old John Pope last fall in the West End.

Pope was shot to death on Sept. 30 at his home in the 5900 block of Quantrell Avenue in the Mayflower Square apartment complex. He later died at the hospital. It was the second murder (of three) that occurred in Alexandria last year.

Tavon Lanier, who was 19 at the time the incident occurred, was indicted with:

  • First degree murder
  • Use of a firearm in commission of murder
  • Robbery
  • Use of a firearm in the commission of a robbery
  • Illegal possession of a firearm

“Alexandria Police responded to the apartment and found John Pope, a 47-year-old Alexandria resident, lying on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the abdomen,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter’s office said in a statement. “First Degree Murder and Robbery are both punishable by life in prison. The two Use of a Firearm charges carry a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison. The Illegal Possession of a Firearm charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. Therefore, the maximum total sentence in this matter is life in prison plus 13 years.”

A trial date has not been set.

As previously reported, Lanier was released on bond just eight days before Pope was killed. He was arrested on Sept. 22 for for allegedly breaking into his girlfriend’s apartment, stalking and threatening her and was released on bond by the magistrate’s office.

Lanier was convicted of identify theft in 2019, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail with 55 days suspended.

Photo via Facebook

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A video has surfaced of 35-year-old chase suspect Anthony Louis of northeast D.C. after he jumped off an over pass while allegedly eluding police.

In the video, an observer is heard telling officers to be careful with Louis, who died after falling and getting tased by an arresting officer.

Louis is seen twitching on the ground, and then an officer pulls on his limp arm and drags him a short distance.

Louis later died on the way to the hospital.

Louis’ family are seeking answers, according to NBC4.

Six Alexandria Police officers have been placed on administrative duties as an internal review continues. U.S. Park Police officers also assisted in the arrest and have reportedly been placed on administrative duties.

Three other suspects were arrested in the incident, which began after shots were fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street at around 8:40 p.m. last Tuesday night.

Police chased the alleged suspects, and Louis, who was reportedly driving the getaway car crashed on Interstate 295 before jumping.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to raise money for Louis’ family. It has raised about $1,200.

The Metropolitan Police Department is conducting the death investigation.

Warning: The below video contains sensitive content.

Image via YouTube

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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.

Map via Google Maps

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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.

Map via Google Maps

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