Alexandria, VA

Alexandria Police are investigating a report that an object that was thrown at a vehicle just outside the city Courthouse.

The victim, who knows the suspect, called 911 and mistakenly reported that a gun was fired at their vehicle, according to police.

“The victim knew the person who threw something at their vehicle,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “The victim called initially thinking that whatever it was was loud enough to think that there was something (gunfire).”

Alexandria police initially responded to the incident as a call for shots fired. No one was injured.

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It was a historic week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

President Joe Biden visited the Neighborhood Health COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, just before announcing that the date for adults to get access to the vaccine has been moved to April 19.

The Alexandria School Board, on Thursday night, voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.

The School Board also voted unanimously to reduce the distancing requirement in ACPS schools from six feet to three feet, all the while community support is growing to expand in-person instruction to more than the current two days a week. Summer school is currently planned to begin in July and will be four days a week, and ACPS is planning on reopening to five days a week at the beginning of the next school year.

Our top story was on the T.C. Williams Titans junior varsity football team walking off the field after an incident with the Robinson Rams on Monday night. Robinson Rams players allegedly spit at and made a racial slur against T.C. players. The incident has prompted Fairfax County Public Schools to announce a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches to discuss “appropriate behaviors required to play sports in FCPS.”

Additionally, six Alexandria Police officers were placed on administrative duties after a chase suspect died while in custody. Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street, and multiple buildings and vehicles were struck. The driver of the vehicle crashed on Interstate 295, and then jumped over an overpass barrier and fell more than 20 feet and was tased by police, arrested and later died.

Important Stories

Top Stories

  1. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
  2. BREAKING: Shots fired in Old Town leads to chase that ends in D.C.
  3. JUST IN: President Biden set to visit Alexandria vaccination site Tuesday
  4. National Park Service announces George Washington Parkway to go on a diet
  5. Neighborhood Health vaccinating thousands at sites in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
  6. JUST IN: Woman arrested after fight on King Street Metro station platform
  7. UPDATE: $8,500 reported stolen in terrifying West End robbery
  8. JUST IN: President Biden visits COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary
  9. COVID-19 update: Alexandria moves into vaccination phase 1C
  10. JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
  11. Fairfax County man arrested for three burglaries, released three days later

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via T.C. Williams Football Boosters/Facebook

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(Updated at 11 a.m. on April 12) Alexandria Police Department employees have mixed reviews whether they feel valued.

Roughly half of APD staff (153-155 employees) recently participated in an annual citywide employee engagement survey. APD says that Chief Michael L. Brown and other Department heads were encouraged by the city to release the survey results to employees, and that the findings are being included in the APD High Performance Organization Plan.

“The department is in rapid decline,” one of the respondents wrote. “Many are leaving for higher paying careers. Once proud employees are being beaten down emotionally by the constant lack of support.”

About 43% of APD employees participating in the survey felt engaged with the organization, while 33% remained neutral and 24% were unfavorable. Additionally, 49 out of 155 employees (32%) recommended APD as a great place to work.

“With all the craziness going on today I feel you are being held accountable for the failures of others,” an APD employee wrote of Brown. “I know you (have been) often placed in difficult situations but I want you to stay positive. Keep your people first but always take care of your family.”

One employee criticized APD for not responding to the siege at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and said the department bungled getting vaccines for officers.

“We are the closest agency and we stood by with our hands in our pockets,” the employee wrote. “We’ve heard all the reasons, we just aren’t buying. The handling of the Covid vaccine distribution is another travesty. The fact that there was no pod of doses set aside for the police is embarrassing. A website where we had to fight with the general public to get appointments that didn’t even work half the time.”

Another APD staffer said that Brown has helped change a long-existing toxic work culture.

“He has opened the window for all members of the department to develop and advance their careers,” the employee wrote. “From the start, he has made every effort to address the systemic racism that some members of the police department are not willing to admit exists.”

Another officer said that there should not be a community police review board.

“This department is different th(a)n the current media likes to portray police and lumping this department in with the media hysteria will just hurt the department and make good officers unhappy and leave,” the employee said.

Below the jump are a few statistics from the survey. Read More

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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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A 58-year-old Fairfax County man was arrested and charged with three counts of burglary and three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary against businesses in Alexandria.

The suspect was booked into the Alexandria jail on Feb. 26 and released on personal recognizance on March 1.

According to police, on Feb. 3, police responded to an alarm call just after midnight at the Exxon gas station at 501 South Washington Street. A windowpane to a service bay garage door and another interior glass door were shattered. Security footage captured two suspects forcing their way into the business and attempting to break into the cash register, although nothing was stolen.

That same morning at around 2:30 a.m., the cash register was stolen from the Bloomers undergarments store in Old Town, according to a search warrant. A window was smashed and the cash register was stolen. Security camera footage showed two suspects committing the crime, and their descriptions matched the suspects from the Exxon station incident.

Also on Feb. 3, the owner of Charlene’s Kitchen reported that there was a burglary at her business just before 2 a.m. The suspects were captured on video entering the business through an open window. A number of items were placed in a truck and the suspects drove away.

Police determined that the suspect is the owner of the truck, and found that he has a number of previous charges for burglary and had made multiple pawn transactions.

The other suspect was not arrested.

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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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A 35-year-old Washington, D.C. man was sentenced to 21 years behind bars on Tuesday for a Northern Virginia crime spree at a number Alexandria banks and area businesses in 2018 and 2019.

Freddie Lee McRae robbed a Wells Fargo bank branch on Nov. 13, 2018, and reportedly told the teller in a note that he had a gun and would “kill all the bankers” in the bank unless they paid up. He pointed a gun at the teller and then fled the scene with $8,750.

Less than a month later, McRae robbed a Burke & Herbert bank branch in the city and pointed a gun at the teller. He then racked the slide, demanded large bills and fled with $1,366. He also robbed a BB&T branch in the city A week later, and later admitted to robbing a Bank of America in Springfield in October 2018, a Capital One in Bowie, Maryland, in Jan. 2019 and a Capitol One in Arlington on Feb. 11, 2019.

On April 21, 2019, McRae stole $2,160 from the Legend Kicks & Apparel store in Arlington. He pointed a gun at employees and told them to empty their pockets and lie on the ground. Police ended up chasing him on the George Washington Parkway, and he ended up jumping out of his car before it crashed into the Potomac River. He then tried to escape by jumping in the river.

“This case involved a chilling armed robbery spree during which innocent community members were threatened with serious injury or death if they did not comply with repeated demands for money,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are thankful to our law enforcement partners for their thorough investigation across multiple jurisdictions to bring the defendant to justice, including apprehending him after he jumped out of a moving vehicle prior to it crashing and sinking into the Potomac River.”

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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.

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A 35-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond after allegedly threatening to burn down city hall.

Michael Drexel was booked in jail on March 12 and charged with threats to bomb or damage buildings or means of transportation.

On March 8, Drexel allegedly “made threats to harm city employees and law enforcement officers,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

Police called Drexel on his phone and spoke with him for about an hour.

“During that conversation, Mr. Drexel stated, ‘If City Hall was open, I’d walk inside and burn it down right now,'” police reported in the search warrant. “Mr. Drexel made numerous other threatening statements during the phone conversation.”

Warrants for Drexel’s arrest were granted on March 9.

“When officers attempted to serve the Emergency Custody Oder on Mr. Drexel, he fled the scene heading northbound on (Interstate) 395,” police said.

The offense is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

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More details have emerged after a West End robbery at gunpoint that left three men beaten and tied up with phone charging cords.

The incident was reported at around 11:30 p.m. on March 19 at an apartment in the 5000 block of Seminary Road. Police also reported that one of the victims’ cars was stolen.

One victim told police that there was a knock on the apartment door, and he blacked out after being pistol-whipped as soon as it opened.

The resident of the apartment told police that he fell asleep on his bed and woke to find an unknown suspect with their hand over his mouth. The victim said that two of his friends were also in the apartment at the time, and that four masked men entered and held them at gunpoint, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The resident told police that one of the suspects reached into his pockets, took his wallet and stole $8,000.

The third victim told police that he, too, was pistol-whipped and regained consciousness as his friends untied his bonds. He told police that $500 was stolen and that he had no idea why they were targeted.

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