What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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No one was injured after gunfire damaged a business and an apartment building in the Braddock area on Wednesday evening.

Alexandria Police said that the incident occurred at around 6:35 p.m. Multiple shell casings were recovered in the 800 block of N. Henry Street in Old Town North and no suspects have been arrested.

“Detectives are actively following leads in this ongoing investigation,” police said in a news release. “Anyone with video or information about the incident is urged to contact Investigator Matthew Barnickle at [email protected] or call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.”

Callers can remain anonymous.

Last month, police reported success in combating a surge in shots fired incidents.

via Google Maps

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An adult woman suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the 400 block of S. Reynolds Street in the West End on Monday night.

Alexandria Police tweeted that the incident occurred at around 11 p.m., and that there is no known threat in the area.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of S. Reynolds Street and Edsall Road, which is near S. Van Dorn Street.

Police released no other details, and will not answer any of ALXnow’s questions on the incident.

Courtesy Google Maps

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Alexandria Police today announced the results of an investigation into a spree of confirmed shots fired calls late last year.

In a city press release, the police department said that 39 firearms had been confiscated since last October and that there have been 35 arrests. Some of the firearms confiscated, police said, were ‘ghost guns’ — privately made firearms without serial numbers that can be bought or built without a background check.

“This task force committed their time, energy and resources to making our community safe by getting dangerous weapons and people off the streets,” Chief Michael Brown said in the press release. “I commend their hard work and dedication to achieve these incredible results.”

One of those ghost guns was retrieved after a 25-year-old Alexandria man was arrested on May 10. The man was convicted in 2016 for unlawfully shooting or throwing a missile at an occupied dwelling under the jurisdiction of the Alexandria Circuit Court, and was under surveillance in the 4600 block of Duke Street when he allegedly threw his phone at police and briefly ran away, according to a search warrant affidavit.

As the suspect ran, he allegedly threw off his jean jacket, and inside was a ghost gun with a 17 round magazine fully loaded with 9mm bullets. He is now being held without bond for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

There have been 18 confirmed shots fired cases in 2021 — less than May of 2020, but exactly as many as in 2019. There were 11 incidents in September, nine incidents in October and then 11 incidents in September. APD would later team up with theU.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on investigating the steep uptick in gunfire incidents, which wounded city residents and terrorized communities.

The number of confirmed shots fired incidents has since dwindled. APD said that more information would not be released to the public to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.

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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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What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.

But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.

Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.

In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
  2. Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
  3. D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
  4. Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
  5. Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
  6. Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
  7. Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
  8. Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
  11. What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?

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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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 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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Alexandria Police are investigating a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m., according to police. A bullet hit the door of the business at 421 E. Braddock Road.

The 7-Eleven is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School. It is also a half mile from where shots were fired in Old Town last week that led to a chase, four arrests and a suspect death.

Map via Google Maps

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