Alexandria, VA

Homicide suspect Ibrahim Bouaichi has died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds that left him in the hospital since Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Bouaichi was wanted for the July 29 murder of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez, whom he allegedly killed after he was released on bond awaiting trial for rape charges against her.

Police said on Wednesday, Bouaichi was observed in Maryland and pursued by police until his vehicle crashed in Prince George’s County. Officers who approached the vehicle found Bouaichi with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said, and he was transported to a hospital but did not recover.

The revelation that Bouaichi was released on bond by recently-retired Judge Nolan Dawkins during the pandemic, despite the violent charges against him, spurred widespread backlash online with officials admitting that Gonzalez was failed by the justice system.

The full press release is below:

Ibrahm Elkahlil Bouaichi, who was wanted for the July 29 murder of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez, succumbed today to self-inflicted injuries sustained on August 5. On that date, Alexandria police officers attached to the FBI’s regional Violent Crimes Task Force observed Bouaichi in Maryland and initiated a vehicle pursuit that ended shortly thereafter when Bouaichi’s vehicle crashed in Prince George’s County. Officers approaching the vehicle found Bouaichi with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital, where he died today.

Photo via Alexandria Police Department

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It was a busy week in Alexandria.

Alexandria Police apprehended the suspect in the city’s only murder this year, and he is currently in the hospital suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Additionally, violent crime events are happening throughout the city, and in the Parker Gray neighborhood of Old Town and in the West End in particular. This week saw the fourth shooting in Old Town in less than a month.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, as well, and the president of Inova Alexandria Hospital discussed some of her concerns in the days ahead.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Ask for Public Help in Finding Man Wanted for Murder
  2. Alexandria’s COVID-19 Death Count at 60, Hospital Concerned About Rising Cases
  3. BREAKING: Police Investigating Homicide in West End Residential Community
  4. BREAKING: Murder Suspect Was Released After COVID-19 Court Delay, Allegedly Kills Former Girlfriend Before Trial
  5. Alexandria Police Chief Criticized by Staff Over Officer Fired for Unjustified Use of Force
  6. Activists Protest at Alexandria Home of Acting DHS Chief Chad Wolf
  7. Police Investigate Fourth Shots Fired Call in Old Town in Less Than a Month
  8. ACPS to Cut Down 150-Year-Old Tree This Month to Make Way for Concession Stand
  9. Man Injured in Violent Carjacking in Old Town
  10. BREAKING: ACPS Announces Online-Only School in the Fall
  11. West End Silver Diner Opens Next Week but Harris Teeter Won’t Open Until Next Year

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via Alexandria Police Department

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The Alexandria Police Department is asking the public to help locate Ibrahm Elkahlil Bouaichi, who is wanted for the July 29 murder of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez.

According to police, Bouaichi is described as 33-year-old man of Middle Eastern descent, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing approximately 180 pounds. Police said Bouaichi should be considered armed and dangerous and poses a potential threat to anyone who comes into contact with him.

“We need your help,” Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. “Attempts to locate Mr. Bouaichi have been unsuccessful and we’re asking for the public’s help in locating him.”

Brown said Bouaichi was last known to be driving a stolen, black, 2013 Nissan Altima sedan with Maryland tags 1CN3103.

According to police:

Anyone with information regarding Bouaichi’s whereabouts is asked to call the Alexandria Police Department immediately at 703 746 6751. Anyone who sees or comes into contact with Bouaichi should call 911 immediately. In some places, including in Alexandria, you can text 911 if you can’t call. Anyone with information about the July 29 murder or Bouaichi’s whereabouts may provide it anonymously.

On July 29, 2020, at 6:20 a.m., the Alexandria Police Department responded to a call regarding shots fired on S. Greenmount Drive. Officers found a deceased woman with gunshot wounds on her upper body, who was later identified as Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez. The case is under investigation, and no arrests have been made. Anyone with information regarding this incident should call 703.746.6751.

This was the first homicide in Alexandria in 2020.

Photos via Alexandria Police Department

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(Updated July 31) The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a homicide in the West End.

Police responded to a call regarding shots fired at S. Greenmount Drive around 6:20 a.m., according to a press release. At the scene, officers found the body of a woman with gunshot wounds on her upper body.

The victim was identified as Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez.

“The case is under investigation, and no arrests have been made,” police said. “Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Detective Gill of the Criminal Investigation Division at 202.420.6290.”

S. Greenmount Drive is a small residential street in the Town Square at Marks Center Apartments community. Assistant Chief of Police Don Hayes said the victim was found outside of one of the residential units.

This is Alexandria’s first homicide of 2020, but not the first shooting. Police have not released the identity of the victim.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m. on June 9) Alexandria Police say that more than half of the crime increases in ALXnow’s recent report are attributable to larcenies from vehicles during the pandemic and 36 incidents at the Target store at 3101 Richmond Highway. 

“The 80% increase in larcenies at Target year-to-date (45 in 2019 vs. 81 in 2020) is because the store significantly increased their loss prevention staff in January 2020,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “This has helped identify more shoplifters, but it does not necessarily represent an increase in shoplifting.”

Ballantine said the vehicle larcenies are primarily due to “owners leaving vehicles unattended for long periods of time while at home during the pandemic.”
He added that larcenies from buildings are down 19.2% year-to-date (167 in 2019, 135 in 2020). During the pandemic period alone (March to present), they are down 18.3% year-to-date (93 in 2019, 76 in 2020). 

Alexandria has experienced a double-digit percentage increase in crime over last year, according to data provided by the Alexandria Police Department to ALXnow.

While there have been no murders this year and aggravated assaults, rapes and robberies are down, there are noted increases in burglaries, larcenies and stolen vehicles.

Police are currently investigating a number of shooting incidents, including the March 31 shooting of a 17-year-old in what is believed to be a targeted attack, as well as a number of shots fired incidents.

As of June 6, there were 914 larcenies in the city, an increase of 119 incidents, or 15%, since last year. There were also 109 stolen vehicles, a 15% increase; and 46 burglaries, which is a 25% increase over last year.

While auto thefts increased this year, there were 18 vehicle thefts reported last month, which is a decrease from April, which saw 26 stolen vehicles, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

Among the vehicles stolen between March 27 and April 26 were eight reported incidents of stolen mopeds or scooter vehicles in Alexandria, all of which remain under investigation, Ballantine said.

“All of these incidents occurred on a public highway, street, sidewalk or open access parking lots for apartment complexes,” police said in a search warrant affidavit.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Virginia State Police have arrested a Danville teen and charged him with obstruction of justice and as an accessory after the fact in the deaths of two people, including an Alexandria resident. last month in Southern Virginia.

The 17-year-old was arrested on Thursday, March 12, by officers with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office.

This is the second arrest in connection with the murder of Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Maryland. The couple were found shot dead near their crashed car on Feb. 8 along Route 58 in Halifax County.

Mohamed A. Aly, an 18-year-old senior at T.C. Williams High School, was arrested at school last month and charged with committing the murders. The former varsity football player is currently being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax.

The murders are being investigated by the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, FBI Richmond Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Danville Police Department.

The full press release from Virginia State Police is below.

As the investigation continues into February’s double homicide in Halifax County, a second individual now faces charges related to the case. On Thursday (March 12, 2020), the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office took a 17-year-old Danville, Va. male into custody. The juvenile has been charged in Halifax County with one count of obstruction of justice and one count of accessory after the fact.

The juvenile petitions are in relation to the Feb. 8, 2020 murders of two individuals on Route 58 in Halifax County near Melon Road. At 2:51 a.m., a silver 2009 Nissan Maxima was located in the median with Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., found deceased and lying in the grass nearby. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

On Feb. 13, 2020, state police arrested Mohamed A. Aly, 18, of Alexandria, Va., on two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of felony. Aly is still being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax, Va.

State police continues to work with the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, FBI Richmond Field Office, ATF, Danville Police Department, and several local law enforcement agencies on the homicide investigation.

As the investigation remains ongoing at this time, the Virginia State Police is still encouraging anyone with information about this incident or individuals involved to contact us at 434-352-7128 or #77 on a cell phone or to email [email protected]. Anonymous calls are welcome.

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Morning Notes

Questions About Homicide Arrest at T.C. — “Because Aly’s arrest was part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Virginia State Police, the lead law enforcement agency on the case, haven’t released details about his connection to the crime. But some parents and students have sought answers to different questions: Why did the arrest take place at school, and what happened at the school that day?” [Alexandria Times]

Rec Registration Starts Next Week — “Registration for spring and summer classes and activities offered by the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18 for City residents and Friday, March 20 for nonresidents. Spring and summer registration applies to classes, leagues and activities occurring April through August 2020.” [City of Alexandria]

Controlled Burn Leads to Hazy Sunday — Across much of the D.C. area Sunday afternoon, smoke from a controlled burn at Marine Corps Base Quantico led to temporary hazy conditions outside and a “campfire” smell. [ARLnow]

“Moonlight and Magnolias” at Little Theatre Until March 21 — “It’s Hollywood, 1939. Legendary film producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting ‘Gone with the Wind’ when he realizes the script is awful and the director doesn’t have a clue. He has a few short days to replace them and restart shooting or the production will shut down.” [Gazette]

Nominations Open For Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 — “The 40 under 40 class celebrate 40 outstanding leaders and innovators who either live or work within the city of Alexandria. The nomination period closes March 13, 2020. Go to www.thechamberalx.com/young-leaders-network.html to nominate a leader for this honor.” [Alexandria Living]

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Morning Notes

Still No Motive for Student Accused of Double Homicide — “George Ivan Maertens Aramayo said police have not told him why his daughter, 19, and Bianda, 21, were killed. He is not familiar with Mohamed Aly, the 18-year-old from Alexandria who is facing two first-degree murder charges. Aly attended T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, where friends say he was a strong student and athlete hoping to play college football.” [Washington Post]

APD Testing Electric Parking Enforcement Vehicle — “APD’s Parking Enforcement Unit conducted a test of an electric GO-4 vehicle today. Pictured is Parking Enforcement Officer Ms. Fuller, who has operated the GO-4 type vehicle for the last 23 years.” [Twitter]

For Alexandria Families, $100K Doesn’t Cut It — “An analysis by personal finance site MagnifyMoney found that in some pricey cities it’s particularly hard to make it on $100,000. ‘The worst metro area for a family earning $100,000 includes Washington, D.C. and neighboring cities Arlington and Alexandria, Va. After factoring in monthly expenses, families would be $315 in the red.'” [MarketWatch]

Fail: King Street Metro Screens — “The status of the fancy new displays at King Street Station: THREE bios screens and a fourth dead one. The one beside the manager’s station has been showing the bios screen for WEEKS.” [Twitter]

Patent Office Holding Job Fair — “The United States Patent & Trademark Office is holding a job fair and hiring 100s of engineers to examine America’s patents in 2020… The Patent Examiner Recruitment Open House event in Alexandria, VA is designed to attract soon-to-be graduates and professionals.” [Zebra]

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(Updated at 7 p.m.) A T.C. Williams student was arrested at the school today (Thursday) and charged in the killing of two people on a rural Virginia Highway, NBC 4 first reported.

Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Maryland, were found shot to death along Route 58 in southern Virginia over the weekend.

The Alexandria Police Department confirmed to ALXnow that its officers were on scene at the high school for the arrest of a T.C. student. The case is being investigated by Virginia State Police, an APD spokesman said.

State police released the following press release about the arrest late Thursday afternoon.

An 18-year-old Alexandria male has been arrested and charged in Saturday’s double homicide in Halifax County. On Thursday (Feb. 13, 2020) morning, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office took Mohamed A. Aly into custody without incident in Alexandria, Va. Aly has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Aly will be held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Halifax, Va.

At 2:51 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 8), Virginia State Police responded to Route 58 in Halifax County near Melon Road. A silver 2009 Nissan Maxima was located in the median with Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., found deceased and lying in the grass nearby. Both had suffered gunshot wounds.

“State police personnel have been working around the clock pursuing multiple leads related to this homicide investigation,” said Capt. David O. Cooper II, Commander of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office. “We cannot thank the public enough for providing the tips and information necessary to aid our special agents with effecting an arrest so quickly.”

Since Saturday, the FBI Richmond Field Office, ATF and several other local law enforcement agencies have been assisting state police with the homicide investigation. State police has also been assisted with various evidentiary searches in Halifax County by K9 teams from the Virginia Department of Corrections and Bedford County Sheriff’s Office.

As the investigation remains ongoing at this time, the Virginia State Police is still encouraging anyone with information about this incident or individuals involved to contact us at 434-352-7128 or #77 on a cell phone or to email [email protected]. Anonymous calls are welcome.

A student at T.C. Williams tells ALXnow that the suspect, Mohamed Aly, “was telling all his friends” about the slaying. That account could not be immediately confirmed by police.

Aly was a popular student and a player on the varsity football team, and a few of his T.C. classmates expressed support for him on Snapchat Thursday night.

Via Twitter, T.C.’s athletic director discouraged players from speaking to members of the media.

Just after 5 p.m., principal Peter Balas sent the following email to T.C. Williams families, acknowledging the arrest and saying that counselors will be available at the school “over the next few days.”

Dear T.C. Williams Parents and Guardians,

We are writing to inform you that a T.C. Williams High School student was arrested today for his alleged involvement in a crime that occurred outside of the City of Alexandria and our community. We are complying with authorities as they conduct their ongoing investigation, and we are referring all questions to Virginia State Police. It is ACPS policy to not comment on an active police investigation.

This situation was handled today according to protocol, and the safety and security of our students and staff were never at risk. Protecting members of our school community is always our top priority, and we take any matter relating to the safety of our schools very seriously. As a precautionary measure, additional security will be in place at the school tomorrow.

We should expect that there will be a variety of reactions to what has occurred, and the most important thing we can do is to be supportive and encourage an open expression of emotions. Counselors will be available for students and staff members at the school over the next few days. We encourage your child to reach out for support as needed. We will be monitoring students carefully over the next few weeks. If you feel that your child or family needs assistance, please contact the school administration at 703-824-6800, and we will do everything we can to help you.

Sincerely,

Peter Balas
Principal
T.C. Williams High School

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Bianda’s memorial fund. So far it has raised just over $7,000.

James Cullum contributed to this report

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Man Killed in Southern Va. — “A man and a woman from the Washington area were found dead Saturday on a road in a quiet part of southern Virginia, and state police said the two were homicide victims. Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Germantown, Md., were found at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday.” [Washington Post, WSET]

APD Crosswalk Enforcement in Del Ray — “APD’s Traffic Safety Officers successfully completed a crosswalk enforcement operation in the 400 block of E. Monroe Ave. today. This resulted in 23 citations being issued in 4 hours.” [Twitter]

Bus Barn Work Starts — “Demolition has officially started on the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) ‘bus barn’ to make room for a large new residential development. That development of 286 apartments will include 12 affordable units.” [Alexandria Living]

Local Resident Stands Up to Cancer — “The man with the open heart and time for hundreds of community causes can now use a boost to help him with his passion for cancer research. He needs pledges. Starting at 4:26 p.m. on Monday, February 10, [Pat] Malone will ‘Stand Up to Cancer’ for 24-hours straight at Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar in Arlington.” [Zebra]

Naturalization Ceremony in Alexandria — “For nearly two decades, Vinod Krishnkumar had been waiting for this day to come. It was a day his father in India dreamed about but never got to experience for himself: On Jan. 31, Krishnkumar was among 170 individuals from around the world to take the Oath of Citizenship during the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.” [Gazette Packet]

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Morning Notes

Financing for Wegmans Development — “The developers behind Carlyle Crossing, the Wegmans-anchored mixed-use development going up near the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station in Alexandria, have lined up $253 million in financing for the project. ” [Washington Business Journal]

Five-Year-Old Found Wandering in Cold — “Authorities in Alexandria say a young child who was found out in the cold early Friday will be reunited with her mother… The 5-year-old was found near a Taco Bell location at the intersection of South Van Dorn Street and Edsall Road before 4 a.m.” [Fox 5]

Alexandria Man Found Murdered — “A City of Alexandria resident has been identified as the victim of a homicide in Mount Vernon, Fairfax County Police say. The body of Micale Kebede, 31, was found near a bridge at Old Mill Road and Gateshead Road Wednesday evening.” [Patch]

School Board Approved Ten-Year Plan — “The Alexandria City School Board has approved a $530.7 million ten-year plan to continue to modernize ACPS schools while also funding facilities repairs to the school infrastructure needed.” [ACPS]

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Morning Notes

Carpenter’s Shelter Getting Amazon Donation — “A nonprofit that is building a $2 million facility for the homeless in Old Town Alexandria says it has reached its fundraising goal after receiving $300,000 from Amazon, Inc… The donation from Amazon is the latest example of how the retail giant is trying to be a good corporate citizen in Northern Virginia.” [Washington Post, Patch]

Digital Plaudits for City — “Alexandria has been ranked the fourth top digital city of its size in the United States, according to the 2019 Digital Cities Survey… This is the 15th consecutive year Alexandria has been ranked in the top 10, including two years in first place.” [City of Alexandria]

MacArthur Students to Relocate to Henry — “Alexandria City Council has given the green light to Alexandria City Public Schools to use the old Patrick Henry Elementary School facility as temporary swing space for Douglas MacArthur Elementary School students, potentially reallocating $60 million dollars and speeding up the delivery of the new school.” [ACPS]

Closures Planned for Thanksgiving — “All City of Alexandria government offices will be closed on Thursday, November 28, and Friday, November 29, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.” [City of Alexandria]

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