Alexandria, VA

What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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Virginia State Police have identified the 27-year-old suspect who died in a shootout with Alexandria police in Old Town North on Monday, October 26.

Michael K. Nelson of Fairfax County was found dead with a stolen firearm near the intersection of Montgomery Street and North Fairfax Street, according to Virginia State Police. His alleged accomplice, 26-year-old Mitchell Thompson, later turned himself in and was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

“Nelson’s remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy, which remain ongoing,” according to VSP.

At around 5 a.m. that day, police responded to a call for shots fired inside the Holiday Inn & Suites (625 First Street) in Old Town North, according to police. Witnesses reported that a robbery occurred in the lobby of the hotel and that multiple shots were fired. Police established a perimeter and two suspects were spotted at around 5:50 a.m. and engaged in a shootout with police.

“When the officer and the two adult males reached the intersection of North Royal Street and Second Street, the officer and one of the two suspects exchanged fire,” according to VSP. “The officer was shot and both suspects fled the scene again on foot. The officer has been treated and released for non-life threatening injuries sustained in the shooting.”

Police expanded the search at 6:24 a.m. and police K9 teams found Nelson near the intersection of Montgomery Street and North Fairfax Street, according to VSP.

“As Alexandria police officers engaged with Nelson, shots were fired by both Nelson and officers on scene,” VSP reported. “Nelson died at the scene. A stolen firearm was recovered in his possession.”

VSP said the investigation is ongoing. Three Alexandria police officers are on routine administrative since the incident.

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No one was injured after shots were fired near the Braddock Road metro station on Monday night (October 26), according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The incident occurred at around 9 p.m. in the 700 block of North West Street. The area is near public housing, the Braddock Road Metro station and a number of local businesses.

A parked car was struck and no suspects were arrested, police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

Earlier this month, police asked the public for help in identifying suspects after a surge in gun-related incidents. There have been a number of violent incidents in the city over the last several days, including a shootout that left a suspect dead and an officer injured on Monday. Two people were also shot last week and there were two robberies.

Map via Google Maps

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The Alexandria Police Department is investigating two armed robberies that occurred over the weekend.

At around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, October 23, a male juvenile was robbed of personal belongings in the 3400 block of Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. The victim was not injured and police did not provide information on the suspect or if a weapon was involved.

The Del Ray incident occurred a few hours before a man was shot five blocks away by a security guard at 3901 Mount Vernon Avenue.

At around 3 a.m. on Saturday, October 24, a man was robbed of personal belongings and assaulted by two suspects at gunpoint in the 100 block of S. Bragg Street in the West End. Again, police provided no suspect description.

West End and Del Ray Maps via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police are investigating the shooting of two people in separate incidents over the weekend in Alexandria.

A juvenile was shot in the leg on Friday night, October 23, in the 1800 block of Diagonal Road in Old Town, according to police. The teenage victim was taken to the hospital by his mother, and police found shell casings at the scene.

The suspects in the case are not known, and police incorrectly tweeted that no one was injured.

The second incident occurred a few hours later on Saturday morning, October 24, in Arlandria. After midnight, a security guard got into a fight with a patron at Lilian’s Restaurant at 3901 Mount Vernon Avenue. The patron was shot in the upper body and was taken to the hospital in serious condition, according to police.

The security guard was not charged and the incident is under investigation.

Maps of Old Town and Mount Vernon Avenue via Google Maps

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An Alexandria woman turned herself in after claiming to have fired a warning shot at a man on Sunday, September 27.

The incident occurred at around 8 p.m. in a parking lot of the Fields Apartments (4309 Duke Street). Police received multiple 911 calls and found a single bullet casing on the ground.

A witness told police that a woman and man were having a “loud verbal argument” and saw “the female pull a handgun out of her purse. (The witness) turned away in fear, and then heard a ‘pop,'” according to a search warrant affidavit.

The man ran away and the woman reportedly then went into her building. She later turned herself into the police. She presented documents that she owned the gun and told them she fired a “warning shot to prevent the male subject from harming her,” according to police.

There were multiple calls for shots fired in the city that weekend, and police have asked for the public’s help in identifying suspects after a surge of violent incidents.

Map via Google Maps

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It’s the end of a busy week in Alexandria.

Once again, crime and public safety stories were the most read on ALXnow.

On Friday, we found that the 19-year-old man arrested for the September 30 West End murder of John Harding Pope was released on bail just eight days before the murder. Pope’s death is the second murder of the year. In the first murder, Ibrahim Bouaichi was out on bail when he allegedly killed his former girlfriend.

On Thursday, the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two suspected ISIS terrorists are now in the city jail. Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh also made their initial appearances at the Eastern District of Virginia federal courthouse in Alexandria.

On the pandemic front, there are now 73 COVID-19 deaths in the city, and the Virginia Department of Health projects there will be 20,000 more cases statewide by Thanksgiving. The city also announced that residents impacted by the pandemic might also be eligible to receive $100-$400 in grocery gift cards.

On the school front, T.C. Williams High School’s student newspaper Theogony broke the story that Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, Jr. now sends one of his children to a private high school in the city.

Meanwhile, Alexandria was named the fifth best small city in U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler and made Forbes’ Weekend Getaway list.

Nearly 200 readers also participated in our weekly poll on passing out Halloween candy, and 60% said they would not hand out candy, 29% said they are doing modified trick-or-treating and 11% said they will hand out candy like usual.

If you need a good laugh, this Sunday at 8 p.m. there will be more COVID-friendly stand-up comedy in Old Town.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Suspect Arrested for West End Murder
  2. BREAKING: Former Alexandria Nurse Jesse Bjerke Sentenced 65 Years For Raping Lifeguards at Gunpoint
  3. Report: ACPS Superintendent Sends Child to Bishop Ireton High School
  4. VIDEO: West End Murder Victim Identified
  5. Police: Illegal Drugs Sold in West End Via Snapchat During Pandemic
  6. Man Dies After Crash on N. Washington Street in Old Town
  7. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  8. Delaware Woman Charged for Three Hit-And-Runs in Old Town and Driving Under the Influence
  9. Man Shot on Quantrell Avenue in City’s Second Murder of 2020
  10. Students, Parents Ask School Board to Not Renew Agreement Allowing Police at Alexandria City Public Schools
  11. Homeowner Shot in Targeted Del Ray Home Invasion

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria has seen an 18% overall surge in crimes against people and property so far this year, according to Part I crime statistics recently released by Alexandria Police.

There has also been a 47% increase in car thefts, a 19% rise in thefts overall and a 15% rise in felonious assaults.

“Much of the increase in larcenies from vehicles and stolen cars and bikes can be attributed to owners leaving them unattended for long periods of time while at home during the pandemic,” notes an APD release. “Very few larcenies from vehicles have involved breaking windows; they are typically from unlocked vehicles.”

On Friday, Police Chief Michael L. Brown also asked the public for help in identifying suspects responsible for the uptick in shots fired-related incidents. Two days later, police arrested and charged a 19-year-old man for the city’s second murder this year.

The increase in shots fired incidents, however, is not included in the Part I crime stats.

There have also been nine rapes so far this year, down from 17 in 2019. Aggravated assaults are down 3%, and there has been a 25% decrease in residential burglaries.

“The decrease in residential burglaries is likely connected to residents being present in their homes, since these offenses usually target unoccupied residences,” according to police. “For the same reason, commercial burglaries (typically theft from unattended but locked businesses) are up while larcenies from buildings (typically theft from businesses and housing complexes while they are open) are down.”

In April, ALXnow reported a surge in crime during a period that Alexandria Police sent a large percentage of their patrol force home to telework.

“It is important to note Alexandria generally has a low crime rate and a low number of criminal incidents,” police said. “As such, small fluctuations in incidents when comparing annual data can lead to large percentage changes that must be considered in context.”

Graph via Alexandria Police

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Alexandria has seen a spike in the number of shots fired calls over the last two months, and police are asking the public for help.

“While there is no acceptable level of gun crime, we are especially concerned about recent incidents in which conflicts between people have escalated to the use of firearms,” Police Chief Michael L. Brown said in a statement. “As we continue to make progress in these cases, we ask for the public’s help in providing any available information.”

There were 16 calls for shots fired in August and September, including the city’s second murder of the year on Sept. 30. On Sunday, police arrested a suspect in the death of 57-year-old John Pope, who was shot at his home on Sept. 30.

There have been 34 reports of gunfire throughout the city this year, and there were 37 reports of gunfire in 2019, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

“Of the 16 incidents in August and September 2020 involving shots fired, investigators have ruled out at least seven as having any connection to each other,” police reported in a press release. “These include two unrelated incidents involving neighbors, a domestic dispute, an accidental self-inflicted injury, and a robbery. One incident involved the arrest of a person who fired shots, with no victims or witnesses located.”

The release continued, “Detectives are working to determine whether any of the other nine incidents may be related, and to apprehend all those responsible. Several involved property damage and one involved a non-life-threatening injury. Five occurred in Old Town, and the Police Department has significantly increased patrol presence in those areas. The remaining four incidents occurred in different parts of Alexandria.”

There was a shootout in the West End on Sept. 13, and guns were drawn in a failed attempted robbery less than a mile away  on Sept. 30. In Old Town there have been five calls for shots fired over the last two months, and the surge in shooting led to an increased police presence over the summer in the Parker Gray neighborhood in Old Town.

The first murder of 2020 was also committed in the West End on July 29.

The most recent incident occurred early on Sunday morning. No suspects were arrested and no one was reportedly injured after shots were fired in the 100 block of South Whiting Street in the West End.

Graph via City of Alexandria

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A 57-year-old Alexandria man was shot to death on Wednesday afternoon in a residential neighborhood in the Landmark area.

The incident occurred just before 4 p.m. Alexandria Police found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound in the 5900 block of Quantrell Avenue. The man later died at the hospital.

The name of the victim has been withheld until his family has been notified, according to police.

The area where the man was shot is full of apartment complexes and situated between the Plaza at Landmark shopping center and Landmark Mall.

There was also a shootout in the West End on September 13 that left two people wounded.

This is the second homicide this year in Alexandria. The first homicide occurred a mile-and-a-half away on July 29.

Police are asking for anyone with information about the incident to contact Detective Ryan Clinch at 703-746-6673.

Map via Google Maps

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Details have emerged regarding a shootout in the West End on Sept. 13.

At around 5 p.m., Alexandria Police received several calls reporting 10-15 gunshots fired in the 3100 block of S. 28th Street near Ft. Ward Park. Callers told police that a man in a black Mercedes Benz was shooting a gun while driving from S. 28th Street onto N. Hampton Drive, according to a search warrant affidavit.

“One of the callers told police that he had just been shot at the intersection of N. Hampton Drive and N. Van Dorn Street while operating his vehicle,” notes the affidavit.

The 33-year-old man was shot in the stomach and was later released from the hospital.

Two adult males have been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

Bullets hit an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Braddock Road, and a responding officer “observed a Black Male suspect holding a dark colored semi-automatic handgun and pointing it in the direction of King St.,” according to an affidavit.

One of the witnesses identified 19-year-old Terrell Talley in a police lineup, and he was later arrested and charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling and discharging a firearm in a public place. Talley is being held without bond. Police also arrested 18-year-old Adham Heiba and charged him for the same offenses.

A witness at the scene was about to take his daughter to Fort Ward Park, and was in the garage of his apartment complex near Ford Road and N. Hampton Drive when he heard four gunshots, according to police. Then, while driving his daughter to the park he saw a gunfight between a black sedan and a light-colored sedan near Braddock Road and N. Hampton Drive. The man told police that the black sedan was swerving in traffic while shots were being fired.

Officers found a victim and his girlfriend at West Braddock Road and N. Van Dorn Street. The man was bleeding from the head, and his girlfriend reported to police that they were driving their Hyundai Elantra eastbound on W. Braddock Road when “a car pulled up and began shooting at them from the left lane,” according to an affidavit.

Witnesses told police that an older model black Mercedes, a blue jeep, a maroon Lincoln sedan and white Volkswagen Jetta were involved. The driver of the Jetta is described as a teenage Black male with faded black hair on the sides and twists on top. The owner of the maroon Lincoln later called police and reported that her car was involved in a shooting and had “multiple bullet holes,” according to the affidavit. The car was impounded.

There have been an increasing number of shootings in Alexandria in recent months. Police are expected to provide an update this week on Part I crime a well as on the recent spat of evening shootings.

Map via Google Maps

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A Del Ray man was shot in a home invasion early on Sunday morning, September 27.

“This was a targeted offense,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “The victim was an adult male who was shot by the person who forced entry into his residence.”

The suspect forced entry into the home and demanded money from the victim. Nothing was taken and the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot once.

The incident occurred at around 2:15 a.m.

No suspect description was available and the suspect is not known to the victim, according to police.

NOTIFICATION :: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a residential burglary and felonious assault in the 300 block of Hume Avenue. Expect police activity in the area.

Posted by Police Department, City of Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday, September 26, 2020

Map via Google Maps

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