Alexandria, VA

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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Six Alexandria Police officers have been placed on administrative duties as an internal review continues on the in-custody death of a suspect after a chase on Tuesday night.

Multiple buildings and vehicles were hit by bullets in the 800 block of North Patrick Street on Tuesday night, and police chased the suspects all the way to Interstate 295. The driver of the vehicle crashed and then jumped over an overpass barrier and was tased by police, arrested and later died.

The identity of the dead man has not been publicly released.

“While attempting to take the driver into custody, a U.S. Park Police officer deployed an E.C.D. (Electronic Control Device),” APD said. “Several Alexandria Police officers assisted the effort to take the driver into custody. The driver was conscious and breathing when the ambulance arrived. The driver lost consciousness in the DC Fire & EMS ambulance and was pronounced dead by medical staff at the hospital.”

The three other suspects in the car were identified as Joseph Stokes, 41, of Washington, D.C., Sean Pendleton, 37, of Washington, D.C., and Merton Thomas, 37, of the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. The suspects were charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling.

The Metropolitan Police Department is handling the death investigation.

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(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) One suspect is dead after Tuesday night’s shots fired incident in Old Town and three others are in custody after a police chase that ended in a crash on Interstate 295 in D.C.

The suspect who died has not yet been publicly identified, and neither have the other three suspects arrested. Police said that the driver crashed his vehicle on I-295 in Southeast, D.C., and then jumped over the jersey barrier and fell to Malcolm X Ave. SE.

“While attempting to take the driver into custody, a U.S. Park Police officer deployed an E.C.D. (Electronic Control Device),” according to the Alexandria Police Department (APD). “Several Alexandria Police officers assisted the effort to take the driver into custody. The driver was conscious and breathing when the ambulance arrived. The driver lost consciousness in the DC Fire & EMS ambulance and was pronounced dead by medical staff at the hospital.”

The shots fired incident occurred at around 8:40 p.m. in the 800 block of N. Patrick Street (Route 1). Multiple buildings and vehicles were struck by bullets but no one was reportedly injured.

The Metropolitan Police Department is conducting the death investigation and the three other suspects are in custody. The Alexandria Police officers involved in the incident are on their days off, and information is being collected to determine whether they will be placed on administrative leave, APD told ALXnow.

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(Updated at 12:35 a.m.) Alexandria Police shut down northbound Route 1 around Madison Street on Wednesday night after multiple buildings were struck by bullets.

The shooting occurred at around 8:40 p.m. and ended in a car chase in D.C.

“We’re investigating a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick street happened around 8:40 p.m.,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “We had multiple buildings struck. Officers located a suspect vehicle and initiated a pursuit, which ended in Southeast D.C.”

The incident occurred in the Braddock area near Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties, where a number of calls for shots fired have occurred over the last year.

No one was reported to have been injured in the shootings. Police could not immediately confirm reports that the suspects attempted to bail out on Interstate 295, but later confirmed that three people had been taken into custody in the District.

Map via Google Maps

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A 26-year-old man was shot in the leg in the 200 block of W. Glebe Road in Arlandria on Wednesday night.

The incident, characterized as a felonious assault, occurred at around 11:30 p.m., and was reported by Alexandria police just after midnight via Twitter.

“The victim was transported to the hospital,” Alexandria police said in a release. “His injuries are not life-threatening.”

No suspect information was released.

The area where the incident occurred has a lot of traffic and commerce. It’s located near the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Glebe Road.

Police said that the investigation is active and ongoing, and that anyone with information should call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Map via Google Maps

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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.

Map via Google Maps

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It was a cold and news-filled week in Alexandria.

It all started with the report of two public safety incidents over the weekend — a serious car crash in Old Town and another shooting in the West End.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria is now at 104 fatalities and 9,342 cases. Mayor Justin Wilson said that there is a vaccine shortage in the city, as the waitlist to get inoculated is at more than 25,000. The Alexandria Health Department reported to the Alexandria Times that about 2,000 doses are being distributed weekly.

Our top story this week was on the body that was found last Friday in the water at Holmes Run Trail by Cameron Run Regional Park. In an update, police told us that the death was not suspicious in nature.

Additionally, 630 people responded to our weekly poll. This week, we asked about the proposed Heritage development in Old Town. About 67% of respondents don’t think it’s appropriate for the neighborhood and 33% don’t have a problem with it.

In case you missed it, here are some important stories:

  1. New Flood Warning Signs Installed in Del Ray
  2. Initial and Continued Unemployment Claims Go Down in Alexandria
  3. Despite COVID-19 Contractor Impacts, Potomac Yard Metro Station on Track for Spring 2022 Opening
  4. City Council Accepts Plan to Double Stormwater Utility Fees
  5. Victory Center’s Condominium Redevelopment Headed to Planning Commission

Here are our top stories of the week:

  1. BREAKING: Body Found in the Water Near Cameron Station
  2. Photos: The Regal Potomac Yard Movie Theater is Being Torn Down
  3. Citizens Group Vilifies Heritage High Rise Project in Old Town
  4. Atlantis Pizzeria and Family Restaurant Closing on Jan. 24
  5. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  6. Police: Shots Fired in West End, Car Crash in Old Town Over Weekend
  7. Snow in Alexandria: Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Until 9 A.M. Tuesday
  8. BREAKING: Woman Gets Arm Amputated, Police Investigate if She Was Thrown From Car in West End
  9. Local Business in Hot Water with City Architects After Unauthorized Paint Job
  10. Alexandria Mayor Formally Requests Dominion Energy Step Their Game Up
  11. JUST IN: ACPS Announces No In-Person Schooling For Week of Feb. 1

Have a safe weekend!

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What a week in Alexandria.

With the region still reeling from the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, Alexandria Police are mobilized and prepared to respond to security threats in the run up to the inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. At this time it is not likely that a 6 p.m. curfew will be imposed on the city.

On the coronavirus front, the death toll in Alexandria now stands at 94, and the number of cases is 8,448 as of today, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This week, Governor Ralph Northam expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 65 years of age and older, in addition to anyone 16 and older with preexisting conditions.

Northam was in town on Tuesday in a vaccination event for Alexandria City Public Schools staff, and many called the event a turning point against the virus.

ACPS also postponed its partial reopening on Jan. 19 due to the virus, and School Board member Margaret Lorber took heat from the community (and later apologized) for supporting a cautious reopening by asking in a board meeting whether parents wanted their children alive or educated.

There was also a COVID-19 outbreak at the office of the Alexandria Clerk of the Court, leaving just four out of 22 employees working at the office.

Below are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Alexandria Police Ask ATF to Help Stem 49% Surge in Gunfire Incidents
  2. American Physical Therapy Association to Open Next Week at Potomac Yard
  3. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  4. St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub Opens in North Old Town
  5. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School Submits Plans for New Expansion
  6. Superintendent Says Reopening Plan Uncertain, School Board Member Lorber Takes Fire for Comments
  7. New Boarding House Planned Over Old Town Barber Shop
  8. Police Investigating Carjacking and Shooting
  9. Alexandria City Councilman Seifeldein Calls for Closure of Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center
  10. Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker Announces Candidacy for 45th District Seat
  11. “Lipstick on a Pig” Heritage Development in Old Town Headed to Planning Commission

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

Governor Recommends Staying Away From D.C. on Inauguration Day — “This afternoon, I spoke with @MayorBowser and @GovLarryHogan as we prepare for the upcoming inauguration. Virginia currently has 2,000 @VaNationalGuard members in Washington, D.C. to help protect the U.S. Capitol and keep the peace–and we will be there as long as we are needed.” [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for House Minority Leader McCarthy to Resign over Capitol Siege — “After terrorists shed blood in our Capitol, Kevin McCarthy went to the House Floor and led the renewed attack on our democracy. He echoed Trump’s incendiary lies and dehumanizing attacks on political opponents, and now claims to oppose ‘division?’ No. Kevin McCarthy must resign.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Man Shot on Quaker Hill Drive on Monday — “The shooting occurred in the 1100 block of Quaker Hill Drive around 6 a.m. The victim was shot multiple times and went to the 7-Eleven in the 3000 block of Duke Street to call 911. The victim was taken to the hospital. There was no initial information on a suspect.” [Patch]

Nothing Bundt Cakes to Open First Alexandria Bakery — “The bakery will open at 4553 Duke St., replacing a Subway sandwich shop in the Shoppes at Foxchase in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

DASH Poetry Contest Deadline February 12 — “This morning the City of Alexandria and Alexandria Transit Company announced that submissions are being accepted for the eighth annual “DASHing Words in Motion” poetry contest. Writers aged 16 years or older are invited to submit a poem if they live, work, or study in Alexandria.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny (during the day). High 49F. Winds light and variable… Clear (in the evening). Low 28F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Gelato Scooper, Barista — “Dolci Gelati is a coffee and gelato shop located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. We are a charismatic, high-energy, people-oriented team seeking to add additional team members with both weekday and weekend availability. Full-time and part-time available.” [Indeed]

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