Newsletter

After significant outcry from a school system concerned about weapons in schools, the Alexandria City Council took a dramatic 4-3 vote around 1 a.m. this morning (Wednesday) to temporarily return school resource officers (SROs) to two middle schools and Alexandria City High School until the end of this school year.

Councilman John Taylor Chapman was the lone vote to reverse course, going against Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Councilmen Canek Aguirre and Mo Seifeldein, who voted to keep away SROs.

“I’ve seen the smile of kids that do not fear adults in school, whether that’s law enforcement or not, and that’s what we can do,” Chapman said. “I would challenge all of us to see that future and make that change.”

SROs are police officers assigned to Alexandria’s high school and middle schools. The program started in 1997. Unlike security staff, which remain at the schools, SROs carry weapons and can fulfill the regular duties of a police officer. The SRO program has been under scrutiny for years, particularly after an officer fired his weapon in George Washington Middle School, but the push to remove police officers from schools ramped up after nationwide protests against police brutality last year.

School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said that the school year so far has been punctuated by violent incidents, including a recent shooting of a student at the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center, a student being arrested with a gun on ACHS grounds, a student being arrested with a knife at ACHS, a firecracker incident that led to the evacuation of a football game, brawls inside ACHS and George Washington Middle School and more.

“Fighting is really not the reason why we need school resource officers in our school buildings,” Hutchings said. “We are not trained to deal with guns or violence or gang initiation, or things of that nature in our school buildings.”

Alexandria City High School Executive Principal Peter Balas begged Council to bring back SROs, and said that students are literally sending warning shots. He also said that gang initiations with fighting are taking place. Balas said that many of his 4,370 students have been traumatized by the pandemic and social/political upheavals over the last couple of years.

“Our students are sending us warning shots, literal warning shots,” Balas said. “My staff, the students, we’re not okay.”

City Councilman Mo Seifeldein introduced the measure in May, redirecting $800,000 from the SRO program toward student mental health resources. Seifeldein said he was heartbroken by Council’s latest decision.

“I am truly heartbroken, I think for the first time, about a discussion in our city,” Seifeldein said. “I cannot emphasize enough how sensitive this discussion is, and the way this has been discussed… has not been the best way of presenting it to the public. I am heartbroken, but I am looking forward to the path my colleagues have worked so hard on charting.”

Councilman Canek Aguirre acknowledged that Council’s May decision was messy and that he was dismayed and frustrated by the position. Aguirre wanted more data from the school system to show a direct correlation between the SROs being gone and an increase in violence, and said that it can also be the result of a shared school-wide lunch period at ACHS, a staffing shortage and security officers not doing their jobs.

“My issue here is that you are trying to draw a direct correlation between the removal of SROs and everything else that’s been going on,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said much of the blame for how the situation ended up lay on the School Board, which he accused of not properly planning for the removal of SROs.

“I’m dismayed and frustrated that we’re even in this position,” Aguirre said. “Schools knew that with the new lunch period and everything that was going to happen we were going to have problems. Instead of getting new bodies into the building, they decided to pay for overtime for police officers, which is time and a half. Instead of coming to Council and saying, ‘You guys made your decision, we really need these additional bodies, we’re having trouble finding the money now before the school year starts,’ I would have said ‘Yes, 100%. City manager, get that money ready.'”

Councilwoman Amy Jackson said she’s been calling for the reinstatement of SROs since the defunding decision was made in May.

“[The schools] have asked for help and it is our job to help,” Jackson said.

The decision to restore SROs to schools came near the end of a six-hour City Council meeting, where the SRO decision took up much of the discussion. The meeting also laid bare tensions not just between the City Council and the School Board, but between various members of the City Council. When Hutchings said he would go back and rewatch the discussion, Mayor Justin Wilson urged him not to waste his time.

“I’ve been up here 11 years I can’t think of a bigger waste of my time than the last three hours,” Wilson said. “I thought we were going to have a productive conversation about how we move forward in our community about a problem we’re hearing about from far too many people in our community about, frankly on both sides of the SRO decision. We had a discussion where we’re all trying to score points on an issue decided in the spring. I’m sorry that we had to do this, quite honestly.”

Wilson called the process “horrific” and shames the city’s leadership.

“This is not the way we collaborate with another elected body,” Wilson said. “This is not the way we collaborate with staff, this is not the way we collaborate with the police. This sucks. What person would watch this meeting tonight and say ‘this is the school system I want to send my schools to’ that’s governed by this relationship? This is horrible. This is absolutely horrible.”

Vernon Miles contributed to this story

35 Comments

Alexandria Police have arrested a 38-year-old Fairfax County man for allegedly shooting an adult male multiple times in the lower body in an apartment building in the 3800 block of Cameron Mills Road in Arlandria.

“The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle before officers arrived,” police said in a release. “The victim was taken to the hospital.  His injuries are not life-threatening.”

The incident occurred on Sunday, October 10, at around 2:20 a.m.  at the Lloyd Apartments in the 3800 block of Cameron Mills Road. It also occurred near to where a juvenile was shot in the 500 block of Four Mile Road Sunday afternoon.

Rudy Bueso Macedo, who lives in the Alexandria part of Fairfax County was arrested on Monday and charged with Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, and Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, according to police. He is being held without bond in the Alexandria jail.

Anyone with information about the shooting incident is asked to contact Sergeant B. Jackson at 703-746-6616 or email [email protected]. Tips can also be given to the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.

Via Google Maps

2 Comment

Updated at 5 p.m. Alexandria Police have made no arrests after a male juvenile was shot in Arlandria early Sunday afternoon.

The incident occurred before noon, and the juvenile was shot at the Park Vue of Alexandria apartments in the 500 block of Four Mile Road, which is near Casa Chirilagua and Four Mile Run Park. The victim’s injuries are non-life threatening.

Anyone with information about the shooting can contact Detective Trevor Griffin at [email protected].  Tips can also be given anonymously by calling the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.

Via Google Maps

0 Comments

A 23-year-old Fairfax County man wounded after a shooting in a West End apartment complex is being held without bond in the Alexandria jail for being a violent felon in possession of a firearm.

Antwain Lee Williams was arrested on Tuesday, September 21, after being driven to Inova Alexandria Hospital by a neighbor. He was alert with police and claimed that he was shot in the head.

It is still not clear exactly how Williams was injured, police said. No one else has been arrested in connection to this incident.

“This remains an active investigation,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow.

The incident occurred at around 1 p.m., just in time for police to arrive and hear two men arguing before there were gunshots inside the apartment complex, according to a search warrant. Inside a first floor apartment where Williams was staying, police found blood, a black firearm, three bullet casings and a broken window.

Police suspect that Williams, who goes to court on October 25, fired a weapon.

When asked at the hospital who shot him, Williams told police that an unknown male walked up to him and shot him point blank in the head.

The incident occurred five years to the day that Williams was arrested for shooting a man in Pittsylvania County.

Anyone with information on the incident can call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

0 Comments
Police outside the McDonalds where a shooting occurred, staff photo by James Cullum

What a busy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a juvenile who was shot outside the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center on Tuesday, Sept. 21. There have also been a number of concerning incidents at Alexandria City Public Schools, including a juvenile who was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School.

Meanwhile, while the COVID-19 transmission rate remains high, public events are still happening in Alexandria.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
  2. Police dispatched three times for fighting at Alexandria City Public Schools in less than a month
  3. Police: Six hospitalized after overdoses on Alexandria-Fairfax border
  4. Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
  5. BREAKING: Flooding reported in Alexandria
  6. Interview: Port City Publius opens up about Alexandria
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Juvenile arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School
  9. Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
  10. Preserving Arlandria’s affordability against gentrification could cost upward of $100 million
  11. JUST IN: One person injured after shots fired in West End Tuesday afternoon

Have a safe weekend! 

0 Comments

One person was injured after shots were fired in the West End on Tuesday afternoon (September 21).

The incident occurred at around 1:15 p.m. in the 200 block of S. Reynolds Street.

Alexandria Police said that the person was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and that more information on the incident will be released to the public in the near future.

The incident occurred a mile-and-a-half from where shots were fired on Monday night.

Anyone with information on the incident can call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

2 Comments

No one was injured after shots were fired in the West End on Monday night (September 20).

Alexandria Police tweeted that they investigated a shots fired call for service in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue at around 8 p.m.

No one was arrested and evidence was collected at the scene. The incident occurred in a residential area near the Willow Run Pool and the Winkler Botanical Preserve.

Anyone with information on the incident can call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

0 Comments

There were no injuries after shots were fired at apartments and vehicles in the Landmark area on Tuesday night, September 14.

The incident occurred at the South Port Apartments at 6112 Edsall Road at around 9:35 p.m.

Police recovered shell casings and found property damage to apartments and vehicles. A helicopter assisted in the investigation, which has so far yielded no arrests.

Anyone with video or information of the incident is asked to contact Detective Stephen Riley at 703-746-6225 or to email [email protected]. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

0 Comments

What an interesting week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

World champion sprinter Noah Lyles brought home his bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. In a frank, TED Talk-like speech at Alexandria City High School, Lyles talked about the importance of mental health as he struggled to perform at the games.

“A lot of people will look at the Olympics this year like something was different with the athletes,” said Lyles. “Well, it was a lot of difference because we had so much weight that we had to hold onto — about two years. I was no different.”

On the COVID-19 front, while the transmission level remains high in Alexandria, this week the city tied with Arlington for the lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia. Large outdoor public events are still happening, too, and on Monday, a vast majority of local elected officials and candidates converged for the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s annual Labor Day Picnic, which included an appearance by gubernatorial candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  2. COVID-19 Update: Alexandria ties with Arlington for lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia
  3. BREAKING: Pedestrian critically injured in Old Town car crash
  4. Mark Center development plans head to Planning Commission this week
  5. Alexandria Police union calls out years of executive mismanagement
  6. JUST IN: Suspects arrested after allegedly firing shots at Alexandria Police
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Mayor outlines upcoming plastic bag tax plans
  9. Village Brauhaus aims for rooftop expansion
  10. No injuries or arrests after shots fired in Old Town Sunday night
  11. Most expensive homes sold in Alexandria in August

Have a safe weekend!

Via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

3 Comments

Two men have been arrested after shooting at police from a vehicle at police in the Hume Springs neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

The identities of the suspects — 18-year-old Alexandria resident and 20-year-old non-city resident — have not yet been released, but they have been charged with shooting missiles at an occupied vehicle, unlawful discharge of a firearm, and illegal possession of a firearm.

“Uniformed Officers were on patrol and began to investigate a suspicious event involving a vehicle, at which time one of the occupants of the vehicle fired multiple rounds at the officers,” Alexandria Police said in a statement.

The incident occurred at around 1 a.m. in the area of W. Reed Avenue and Edison Street, which is near Four Mile Run Park in Arlandria.

“Officers immediately initiated a high-risk traffic stop and the occupants were taken into custody without incident.  A weapon was recovered,” police said. “There were no injuries reported.”

The investigation remains open, and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Trevor Griffin at 703.859.3271 or email [email protected]. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list