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The William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center (via City of Alexandria)

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and Alexandria Police Department are investigating an in-custody death at the jail.

Ahntais Lucas, 39, from Fairfax County, was found unresponsive and alone in his cell experiencing a medical emergency. The release said the jail’s medical staff tried to treat Lucas but he was pronounced deceased at 4:42 a.m.

According to a release from the City of Alexandria:

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department are investigating the in-custody death of a local inmate at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center.

This morning, February 26, just before 4 a.m., a deputy found an inmate unresponsive in his cell alone and experiencing an apparent medical emergency. A deputy immediately called for assistance from the jail’s medical staff, and both began life-saving measures. Medics from the Alexandria Fire Department responded and continued treatment, but the patient was pronounced deceased at 4:42 a.m.

The deceased is Ahntais Lucas, 39, of Fairfax County. He had been in custody since August 20, 2023.

Because this is an in-custody death, the Alexandria Police Department is conducting the death investigation. The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a review of the incident to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.

George Washington Middle School (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Twenty three Alexandria middle schoolers and eight Alexandria City High School students were arrested in the first two quarters of this school year, according to a report that the School Board will receive Thursday.

There were also 213 incidents requiring a police response, including five weapons-related incidents, 43 students needing EMS assistance, 56 fights/assaults and three reports of sexual assault.

Weapons seized include three stun guns/tasers, a pellet gun and a knife.

There were 17 students arrested in the first two quarters of the 2022-2023 school year (last year), and 41 arrested in the final two quarters, totaling 58 arrests and resulting in a 26% increase in students arrested over the previous school year.

Incidents, calls for service and arrests in Alexandria City Public Schools (via ACPS)

Of those arrested so far this year, 20 of them were Black students, making up 55%.

There were 95 incidents reported at the Alexandria City High School campuses, 70 incidents at the city’s two middle schools (Francis C Hammond and George Washington Middle Schools), 35 incidents at elementary schools and 13 incidents at K-8 schools.

There were also 118 police calls for service — 56 at the high school campuses, 46 at the middle schools, four at K-8 schools and 12 at elementary schools.

Racial or national origin composition of arrests within ACPS (via ACPS)

Incidents in the first semester of this school year include:

  • 57 incidents characterized as “other” (including two students discussing weapons, four cases of disorderly conduct, two reports of public intoxication, one fraudulent 911 call)
  • 56 fights/assaults
  • 43 injuries that required medical assistance
  • Five confiscated weapons
  • Nine controlled substances
  • Nine threats (verbal/cyber/social media)
  • Six missing student reports
  • Four reports of suspicious activity
  • Three alarms pulled
  • Three reports of sexual misconduct
  • Six thefts
  • Seven reports of possessing prohibited materials
Semester comparisons of crime incidents in ACPS (via ACPS)
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2312 Mount Vernon Avenue (image via Google Maps)

The Alexandria Police Department (APD) is investigating a sexual assault that occurred last night (Tuesday) in Del Ray.

Police said a woman was walking after midnight around Mount Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues when she was attacked and assaulted by a stranger.

Scanner traffic indicated she was walking home from Pork Barrel BBQ when she was assaulted in an alley. The woman said she was hit from behind and strangled, attacked by a white man on the heavier side. She said when she bit the man, he ran off.

APD said the woman is being treated at a hospital.

APD said the incident is unrelated to an attempted assault at Main Line Blvd earlier this month.

According to the release:

If anyone in this neighborhood has security cameras that may have footage for review or if anyone saw someone or something suspicious, please contact Detective Kristina Loerch at 703-746-6785. Tips can remain anonymous.

Interim Chief Raul Pedroso said, “We are committed to ensuring the safety of our community. The search for the sexual assault suspect is a top priority. We have implemented increased patrols in the area and are ensuring our detectives have all the resources needed for their investigation.

Image via Google Maps

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Alexandria’s annual George Washington Birthday Parade brought the usual pomp and circumstance befitting the country’s first president.

This year’s parade marshals were the recipients of the prestigious Living Legends of Alexandria award. The theme of this year’s parade was “George Washington: Alexandria’s Living Legend.”

A number of political candidates marched (or rode) in the parade, including mayoral candidates Vice Mayor Amy Jackson and Alyia Gaskins, as well as Sheriff Sean Casey and Clerk of Court Greg Parks. City Manager Jim Parajon also marched, as did his counterpart in the school system, Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg also marched in the parade with the “Coalition to Stop the Potomac Yard Arena.”

Alexandria’s next parade is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Old Town on Saturday, March 2.

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Four people were injured at a construction site at 6336 Stevenson Avenue on Feb. 19, 2024 (via Google Maps)

Four people are in stable condition after being injured in an electrical incident at a construction site in the West End on Monday, according to the Alexandria Police Department (APD).

APD said that at around 11 a.m. they responded to 6336 Stevenson Avenue for a “reported industrial incident involving four males who were working at the construction site.”

“Three victims were transported for medical treatment, two with life-threatening injuries and one with non-life-threatening injuries,” APD said in a news release. “A fourth victim was treated and released on-site. All are currently stable.”

Police at the scene told a dispatcher that the injured workers were erecting scaffolding that hit power lines, resulting in the high-voltage exposures.

APD said that the power was shut off for the entire block to investigate the incident. No official cause has been disclosed.

Via Google Maps

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APD’s Assistant Chief Raul Pedroso swearing in as Interim Chief of Police (image via APD/Twitter)

There’s a new leader at the top of the Alexandria Police Department (APD).

On Friday, Feb. 9, Assistant Chief Raul Pedroso was sworn into office.

Pedroso replaces Police Chief Don Hayes, who stepped down to take a job as chief of the law enforcement unit at the Federal Reserve Board.

Hayes had been police chief since 2022 and was acting chief for one year after former chief Michael Brown left.

Pedroso joined the department last fall as assistant chief and commander of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, coming to the department from the Coral Gables Police Department in Florida.

“During his 30-year tenure there, he held various commands and strived to foster cohesive working relationships where everyone would collaborate and develop problem-solving initiatives,” a release said. “He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a master’s degree in criminal justice.”

Pedroso will serve as interim police chief until a replacement is hired in a national search.

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A 33-year-old Alexandria man was arrested for allegedly brandishing a firearm and assaulting his neighbor in the 1200 block of Wythe Street in the Braddock neighborhood (via Google Maps)

An Alexandria man is out on bond after allegedly assaulting a male neighbor and brandishing a handgun in the Braddock neighborhood of Alexandria.

The incident allegedly occurred at around 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22 outside the suspect’s home in the 1200 block of Wythe Street. Perry Ellis Barmore, 33, was arrested after allegedly punching the victim in the face during a dispute and brandishing a handgun.

The victim was treated at the scene and was not seriously injured, according to the police scanner.

The area had multiple shots fired incidents in the past.

Barmore was arrested and charged with assault and battery and pointing/holding/brandishing a firearm, which are both Class 1 misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. He was released that same day on a $1,500 unsecured bond and goes to court on April 19.

Via Google Maps

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Crime scene tape around the Speedway station south of Old Town, scene of a reported shooting (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria experienced a nearly 30% increase in Part 1 crime in 2023, and Mayor Justin Wilson says new initiatives will help stem the flow.

Part 1 crimes, or crimes against people, include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. There were 4,410 total Part I incidents in 2023, an increase of 31% over the 3,361 incidents reported in 2022, according to the Alexandria Police Department Crime Dashboard.

Aggravated assaults are up 50%, with 258 incidents reported in 2023. Aggravated assaults jumped nearly 30%, robberies are up 31%, larcenies are up 30% and auto thefts rose 53%.

In his monthly newsletter, Wilson said that the increase in violent crime, in particular, is unacceptable.

“While the year ended with positive trendlines in several areas, the overall increase for 2023, and particularly the increase in violent crime, is unacceptable,” Wilson wrote. “Protecting the safety of our community is the most important obligation of local government. If our residents are not safe, nothing else matters.”

Last year, APD put mobile camera units in high crime areas after a number of shooting incidents in the city’s Braddock neighborhood. APD also told city council that it would combat the crime surge by increasing foot patrols.

Wilson’s comments follow the recent announcement that Police Chief Don Hayes is retiring this month and that the city will be conducting a search for his replacement.

Not all the Part 1 numbers increased, as there were four homicides in 2023, versus six homicides in 2022, and four rape incidents in 2023, down from eight rape incidents in 2022.

According to Wilson:

The underlying causes of the increases in violence (not just in Alexandria, but around the region and our nation) are so varied, that there is no single answer to this issue. However, the City is approaching this uptick in violence using multiple approaches:

  • Restoring Police Staffing/Reducing Attrition
  • Expanding “upstream” investments (family supports, mental/behavioral health, housing, re-entry programs, etc) proven to reduce violence
  • Expanding community policing
  • Continue advocacy for new laws in Washington and Richmond to slow the flow of dangerous firearms into our community

In recent budget decisions, we have included new funding for investigatory capacity focused on those responsible for homicides, felony sex offenses and crimes driven by weapons. We have continued to see mental health and behavioral health incidents driving emergency response. The City’s ACORP program, a co-response program pairing a sworn police officer with a mental health practitioner, has seen considerable success. The City Council chose to build on the success of this effort by expanding ACORP by adding two new ACORP pairs, for a total of 3.

The City has hired two of the largest classes of new police officers entering the Academy. As those officers conclude their training, we will make large progress on some of the staffing challenges the Police Department has experienced for the past few years.

Alexandria’s Part 1 crime data (via City of Alexandria)
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A man was robbed in the 4500 block of Ford Avenue on Jan. 29, 2024 (via Google Maps)

A man was robbed of personal property by two suspects in the West End just off King Street on Monday morning, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The incident occurred in an underground parking garage in the 4500 block of Ford Avenue, a little more than a week after an automobile was reported stolen from that same garage, according to the city’s crime database.

APD reported on Twitter that it responded to a carjacking call for service and that two suspects robbed the victim of personal items and fled the scene. One suspect brandished a weapon, but just what kind was not released by police. The incident remains under investigation, according to APD.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police Chief Don Hayes is stepping down to take a new federal job, the city announced today. His last day is Feb. 9, and Assistant Chief Raul Pedroso will be interim police chief until a replacement is hired in a national search.

Hayes has been police chief since 2022, before which he was acting chief for a year after the departure of former Chief Michael Brown. He started his career with the Alexandria Police Department in 1981.

“It’s been an honor to dedicate my life to this community,” Hayes said. “I truly believe there is no greater calling than to serve on behalf of the people. Doing so alongside the men and women of this department for the past four decades has been my greatest accomplishment.”

Hayes’ new position has not been publicly announced. City Manager Jim Parajon called him a “capable” leader and “committed public servant.”

“He built upon years of experience to lead APD through some challenging times including ever-increasing demand for services,” Parajon said. “We wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Hayes restructured the department to resemble how it looked before his predecessor Chief Brown took over, by hiring three assistant chiefs and replacing a civilian assistant chief. The city also experienced a crime surge under his watch, and the department suffered diversity and morale issues.

According to the city:

Hayes joined the Alexandria Police Department in March 1981, and achieved the rank of sergeant in 1996, overseeing the community-oriented policing and internal investigations sections. In 1999, Hayes was promoted to lieutenant and led the special operations, information services, and public services divisions. He was promoted to captain in 2013 and served as patrol commander, in addition to heading the parking enforcement, traffic, special events, and community relations divisions. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2019 and has since used his diverse experience to oversee all parts of the Police Department. In December 2021, he was named acting Chief, and made Chief in April 2022.

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