Police confirmed last week that roughly one-third of the the shootings last year were connected.
In 2020, Alexandria experienced an increase in shots fired calls with a total of 55 confirmed cases as compared to 37 in 2019. One-third of those occurred last fall, between September and December.
So far this year there have been three confirmed shots fired incidents, with two of them taking place a block apart.
Police said in a press release that they are working with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on the case and have made 20 arrests.
Anyone who hears gunfire is asked to call Alexandria Police Sgt. William Taylor at 703-746-6271. Callers can remain anonymous.
In an update to the City Council, Police Chief Michael Brown said many of the recent shots fired incidents in Alexandria are related.
It wasn’t exactly surprising news, given that many of the shootings took place in the same concentrated areas — two this month took place less than a block apart — but it was a rare glimpse into investigations where local police are keeping their cards close to their chest.
“These are active investigations [that are] currently going on, so I have to be careful not to disclose too much information,” Brown said.
There were 55 confirmed cases of shots fired in 2020, Brown said, adding that roughly one third of them were related to a particular criminal activity — he wouldn’t specify which — and one-third of the shootings took place between September and December.
The types of shootings are often unalike, though. Brown said one of the three shootings earlier this month involved a car pulling alongside another and the driver of one shooting into the other vehicle.
One of the most high-profile incidents was a shootout in the West End in September as drivers and passengers in multiple vehicles exchanged fire. At least one person, Adham Heiba, was arrested in connection to the shooting and police have been investigating others.
In total, Brown said police have made 20 arrests, executed 90 search warrants, and removed 17 guns and other weapons.
A heat map showed that the majority of the shootings were in North Old Town.
Map via City of Alexandria
Police are investigating another shots fired call at 5700 Eliot Court — barely a block away from a shooting last week — even as the police department prepares for a presentation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Police said on social media that the police responded to a shots fired call at Eliot Court in the West End at around 11 p.m. last night (Thursday). Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow that multiple shell casings were found at the scene but there was no property damage.
There is no info on how many shots were fired or suspects.
An update on the shots fired investigation is docketed for the city manager update at the Tuesday, Jan. 12, City Council meeting.
NOTIFICATION:: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a “shots fired” call for service in the 5700 block of Eliot Court that occurred just after 11:00 pm. Multiple shell casings were recovered, but no injuries were reported. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) January 8, 2021
Image via Google Maps
Police say there was another “shots fired” call in the city’s West End last night; the latest in a series of shootings in Alexandria this year.
The shots came from the 200 block of Century Drive, near Landmark Mall. Police say they found no victims or damage at the scene, but found spent shell casings.
My goodness. I was driving south on Van Dorn and heard 9 pops. Was wondering if they were a gun discharging.
Thanks for posting this and taking care of our community
— NatsFan416⚾ (@DrooooClip) December 1, 2020
There have been injuries in other shootings around town, though it’s unclear how many, if any, of the shootings are related.
So far, there have been 46 confirmed cases of shots fired in Alexandria, an increase over last year’s 37 cases.
Image via Google Maps
A 23-year-old man was shot in Old Town early Tuesday evening, as Alexandria Police continue to investigate an uptick in shots fired calls for service.
At around 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 24), police announced they were responding to a call for shots fired in the 1200 block of Wythe Street in Old Town — not far from a police shootout that killed one man last month.
The victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police provided no suspect description and no arrests were made.
NOTIFICATION :: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a “shots fired” call for service in the 1200 block of Wythe Street. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) November 25, 2020
“The Alexandria Police Department continues to actively investigate the increase in weapons offenses involving shots fired this fall and has increased targeted patrol coverage, following an unusual spike in incidents in September and October,” police said in a press release. “Following is additional information since the previous update.”
APD noted that the police have executed 50 search warrants in connection to the recent incidents, made over 14 arrests and recovered over 14 weapons, though the police declined to provide additional details. Consequently, police will increase patrols over affected areas.
“Investigating weapons offenses and preventing future incidents is a major priority for the Alexandria Police Department,” said Police Chief Michael Brown in the release. “While the number of incidents is returning to previous levels, we urge the public to provide any available information about those who may be involved.”
Police said there were seven incidents in October. One incident on Oct. 24 involved a security guard at a restaurant shooting a suspect in self defense and another where police exchanged gunshots with two armed robbery suspects, the release said.
“The three November incidents to date include two illegal firearm discharges without injuries and the November 7 homicide of Yousef Tarek Omar,” the release said. “Residents are urged to call or text 911 immediately if gunfire is heard. All reports will be promptly investigated.”
Police also noted that some of the calls were found to be fireworks or gunshots from police training at the firing range on Eisenhower Avenue.
Below is a list of confirmed shots fired incidents, showing the increase in 2020 compared to 2019.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
What a week full of news in Alexandria.
With city offices closed due to Veterans Day on Wednesday, there were still a number of big stories.
For the second week in a row, our top story was on a fraudulent mailer that was sent out to a number of residents before election day. In the story, households with Joe Biden signs posted in front yards were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile.
On Monday, we reported the third murder in the city this year. Yousef Tarek Omar, a 23-year-old Texas man, was shot to death in the West End on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 7. Police have released few details of the incident, except the victim’s name, the general time of the incident and that it occurred in the 4800 block of W. Braddock Road.
City Councilwoman Del Pepper announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection. Pepper has been on the Alexandria City Council since 1985.
“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”
We also covered the city’s recovery plan for parts of the city devastated by the pandemic, and it lists a number of programs and strategies for impacted residents and businesses.
On the coronavirus front, Alexandria surpassed 4,500 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The number of fatalities is still 76, and Latino residents have the highest number of infections.
Additionally, our weekly poll got a lot of attention this week. This week we asked about Thanksgiving plans, and 60% of respondents said they were eating at home with their household, 30% are planning a small gathering with at least one guest, and 10% are planning a large gathering of family/friends.
- Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
- BREAKING: 23-Year-Old Shot to Death in City’s Third Murder of the Year
- ‘Clyde’s at Mark Center’ and Other Businesses for Sale in Alexandria
- Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
- The Waypoint at Fairlington to Break Ground Next Month
- Councilwoman Del Pepper Announces She’s Not Running for Reelection
- City Council to Consider Publishing Names of Delinquent Real Estate Taxpayers
- Upcoming Signage Plan Could Subtly Shape New Potomac Yard Skyline
- One Person Injured in West End Carjacking
- Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
- Alexandria Surpasses 4,500 Cases of COVID-19, Counts Now Rising at Summer Pace
Have a safe weekend!
Alexandria Man Shot to Death in Georgetown — “Officers from the Second District responded around 2:56 a.m., to the 3300 block of Water St., N.W., for the sound of gunshots. They found Franklin Hernandez Arevalo, 19, of Alexandria, Virginia suffering from a gunshot wound. D.C. Fire and EMS determined Arevalo had died and transported him later to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.” [Patch]
Beyer Says Trump Trying to Steal Election — “This is simple: Donald Trump is openly trying to steal an election he lost. He will not succeed, but we will remember who went along with it. ‘I was just following orders’ will not be accepted as an excuse for attempting to overthrow the results of an American election.” [Twitter]
ALIVE! Free Food Distribution is this Saturday — “On Sat, Nov 14, 8:30-10:30 am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot (3600 Commonwealth Ave) and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (3320 Bisdorf Drive; map at alive-inc.org).” [Twitter]
Free Flu Shots This Wednesday — “Now is the time to get a flu shot! The next Alexandria Inova Cares Clinic for Families FREE flu shot clinic for uninsured people is Wednesday, Nov. 11, 3-5 p.m.” [Twitter]
Virtual Alexandria Film Festival Kicks Off Nov. 12 — “There are about 50 films in this year’s festival.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). Areas of patchy fog. High around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Partly cloudy skies during the evening will give way to cloudy skies overnight. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 62F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Juvenile Detention Specialist — “The Detention Specialist work involves providing direct care to detainees in the custody of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. The primary responsibilities for the position are to provide security, safety and care for juveniles. The Detention Specialist shall receive direct supervision by the Assistant Shift Supervisor and Shift Supervisor.” [Indeed]
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:
- BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
- BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
- School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
- Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
- Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
- BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
- Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
- Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
- Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
- The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
- Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End
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.
The man wanted in connection to a series of shootings in North Old Town early Monday morning is now in custody.
Virginia State Police say Mitchell D. Thompson, a 26-year-old Alexandria resident, turned himself in.
“He is in police custody and being processed on the felony warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon,” said VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller. “Additional charges are pending, as the investigation remains ongoing at this time.”
State police released additional information Monday night about incidents that led authorities to urge residents to lock themselves in their homes and eventually resulted in a shootout in which one suspect died.
The series of events started with an armed robbery at the Holiday Inn on First Street around 5 a.m. Almost an hour later, two suspects, including Thompson, were spotted, ran from police, and engaged in a shootout during which an officer was shot, VSP said. Just before 6:30 a.m., following a K9 search, one of the suspects was located and a second shootout between the suspect and police ensued, after which the suspect was found dead.
More from a state police press release:
The incident began Monday at approximately 5:01 a.m. when the Alexandria Police Department received a 911 call for shots being fired at a hotel in the 600 block of First Street in Old Town Alexandria. As officers were responding to the scene, two individuals involved in the shooting had fled the hotel on foot. A perimeter was immediately established and search efforts were underway. Further investigation at the hotel determined that an armed robbery had taken place inside the hotel. No one inside the hotel was injured.
At approximately 5:50 a.m., an Alexandria Police Officer located two suspects – one of them Thompson – and a foot pursuit was initiated. 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. 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.
The search perimeter was expanded and police K9 teams located, at approximately 6:24 a.m., one of the suspects near the intersection of Montgomery Street and North Fairfax Street. As Alexandria police officers engaged with the adult male suspect, shots were fired by both the suspect and officers on scene. The male suspect died at the scene. A stolen firearm was recovered in the male suspect’s possession. No law enforcement at this location were injured.
The man’s remains have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy. Next of kin notification is still pending.
The investigation remains ongoing at this time into all three incidents by state police, with the assistance of the Alexandria Police Department and the ATF.