Alexandria, VA

It was another busy week in Alexandria.

Our readers overwhelmingly responded to Sunday’s protest at the Alexandria home of acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and the story has more than 380 comments. This week also saw its first homicide, which occurred in the West End, in addition to a number of crime events in the Braddock area.

Not included in our weekly list is late-breaking news on Friday that Alexandria City Public Schools want a virtual-only school year starting in September. Residents have been waiting throughout the summer for the school system to make up its mind, and ACPS has conducted numerous virtual chats with students, parents and staff over the last several weeks.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Activists Protest at Alexandria Home of Acting DHS Chief Chad Wolf
  2. BREAKING: Police Investigating Homicide in West End Residential Community
  3. Former APD Officer Peter Laboy Gets His Driver’s License Seven Years After Being Shot in the Head
  4. Just Listed in Alexandria
  5. Students and Residents Putting Daily Cover Over T.C. Williams High School Name
  6. BREAKING: Flooding Reported in Parts of City, AFD Responding to Multiple Emergency Calls
  7. Shots Fired Tuesday Night in Braddock Neighborhood
  8. Alexandria Delegate Wants City to Fire Officials or Police Who Espouse QAnon Theories
  9. Save the Tree Petition at T.C. Williams High School Garners Nearly 1,000 Signatures
  10. Man Injured in Violent Carjacking in Old Town
  11. COVID-19 Update: Deaths at 57, Case Count at 2,735 in Alexandria

Have a safe and fun weekend!

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

City Official Dies in Car Crash — “The City of Alexandria is devastated by the loss of Robert Bloom, Public Safety Systems Administrator in the Department of Emergency and Customer Communications (DECC), in a vehicle crash on the morning of July 20, 2020.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria Man Dies in D.C. Shooting — “Homicide detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the fatal shooting of an Alexandria man that occurred Sunday night in the Shipley area of the city, according to a police release… MPD identified the decedent as Rayfone Gassaway, 37, of Alexandria, Virginia.” [Patch]

COVID-19 Cases Jump by 23 in Alexandria — “Positive tests up 23 to 2,582 in the City… Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Beyer Calls Out Trump Directive to Census Bureau — “A clear violation of the United States Constitution, which spells out in the 14th Amendment that ‘Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States.. counting the whole number of persons in each State..'” [Twitter]

National Coin Shortage Hits Alexandria — “At Alexandria stores like The Home Depot in West End Village and dozens of grocery and other retailers, customers are starting to see signs at checkout (like the one below) pleading with them to use a credit or debit card, or use exact change.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Youth Soccer Coach — “Prior soccer experience is not required. We only require the passion for positively impacting children’s lives through the love of sports and fitness. Valid driver’s license and access to personal vehicle Must be at least 18 years of age.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria had quite a week, and it’s time to look back as it comes to a close.

In addition to moving into the second phase of its economic recovery, there were a number of important events of interest, including the city council’s passage of an ordinance prohibiting firearms on city property, approved the creation of a police review boardcontinued expressions of support for the black community in the wake of the George Floyd Murder, and a renewed effort to rename T.C. Williams High School.

Here are the top 11 most-read articles this week in Alexandria.

  1. BREAKING: Barricade Situation, Suspect Firing on Police on Main Line Boulevard
  2. What Changes When Alexandria Moves Into Phase 2 of Reopening
  3. T.C. Williams High School Renaming Question Resurfaces in Alexandria
  4. Man Wounded in Late Night Old Town Shooting, No Arrests
  5. Photos: Vigils and Protests Against Police Brutality Held in Alexandria
  6. Protests and Vigils for Racial Justice Planned in Alexandria
  7. Old Town Property Once Owned by George Washington For Sale at $4.1 Million
  8. Mayor: Alexandria Could Move into Phase 2 of Reopening Next Week
  9. Morning Notes
  10. Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats Plans to Open Late This Summer in Old Town
  11. Just In: Alexandria Tow Truck Driver Killed on I-495

Feel free to discuss those or other topics in the comments. Have a safe weekend!

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An Alexandria man was shot late Monday night in the 700 block of North Fayette Street. The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and drove himself to the hospital, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

“There were a couple of cars that got damaged and hit with bullets holes damaged,” Ballantine told ALXnow. “The male subject took himself to Alexandria Hospital with a gunshot wound that was non-life-threatening.”

No one has been arrested for the incident and no suspect description is available.

The incident occurred before midnight near the Andrew Adkins property managed by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which is near Richmond Highway and the Braddock Road Metro station.

Last month, police responded to multiple calls for shots fired in Old Town. In one incident in the 1000 block of Madison Street, shots were fired at a building and cars. No suspects have been arrested in connection with that incident.

The area where the incident occurred is less than a mile from where a 17-year-old resident was shot on a basketball court on March 31 near the Charles Houston Recreation CenterMason Social and Lost Dog Cafe. Police are investigating that incident as a targeted attack and no one has been arrested.

Map via Google Maps

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Update at 11 a.m. — Police arrested a 32-year-old suspect who barricaded herself into her one-bedroom apartment in the Notch 8 apartments in Potomac Yard, at around 3 a.m. after she fell asleep, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

“During the overnight hours the suspect was taken into custody after she appeared to fall asleep,” Ballantine told ALXnow.

The Fairfax County Police special operations unit took over for the night shift and made the arrest, Ballantine said. He added that the suspect was not physically injured, has not been charged with a crime and was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated.

The suspect, who allegedly fired shots at police twice, was confirmed as a resident of the apartment and was found to be alone when she was arrested, Ballantine said. Her identity has not yet been released.

Update at 12:00 a.m. — Alexandria police have breached the door of an apartment where a woman has barricaded herself in, although no contact with the woman has been initiated, according to police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.

The woman, who has allegedly fired a weapon three times since police responded to a domestic violence call for service in the area, is apparently alone, Ballantine said, and is not responding to police.

“We have not been in the apartment,” Ballantine told residents at a nearby apartment building who were sheltering in place. ” If we did it was only to unlock it and then that’s as far as we got. It’s a very fluid situation and very dangerous. And we’re trying to get as many people not in there as possible.”

Ballantine added that an explosion outside of the apartment building earlier today was a controlled detonation of a police flash grenade. An officer pulled the pin on one while inside the apartment building, and it was later detonated outside.

“They didn’t use it so they had to come out and dispose of it,” Ballantine told ALXnow. “They did it outside and it was a controlled disposal of it.”

The woman also allegedly fired a single shot on Friday afternoon — but not at police, Ballantine said. This morning, Alexandria police were fired upon this morning after knocking on her door, and then again at the special operations team. The identity of the woman has not yet been released, and the city’s hostage negotiation team has been trying to reach out to her all day, Ballantine said.

Ballantine said that the department will continue updating the public on its Twitter page.

Update at 2:35 p.m. — A hostage negotiation team is trying to communicate with an armed woman who allegedly fired several shots at police and is in her fourth-floor apartment in the 2900 block of Main Line Boulevard in the Potomac Yard area, according to police.

Police responded to a domestic violence service call at 9:23 a.m. after a neighbor reported a man and a woman arguing, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine. When two police officers knocked on the door of the apartment, they were fired on and retreated, then called for backup.

Ballantine said that the Special Operations Team then knocked on the door and more shots were fired “in all directions.”

Earlier: A woman has barricaded herself in an apartment in the 2900 block of Main Line Boulevard and fired gunshots at police

The barricade situation is at the Notch 8 apartments, and residents have been evacuated. Residents told ALXnow that they heard “an explosion” and multiple shots fired on the fourth floor of the apartment building.

A video sent anonymously to ALXnow showed police outside the building setting off a device that could have been responsible for the explosion residents heard.

The Target at Potomac Yard (3101 Richmond Highway) near the building is closed

The situation is currently stable, as police are attempting to contact the woman.

“At this point, an unknown person has barricaded themselves in and they are shooting at police,” Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “This is an active incident.”

Police have warned residents to avoid the area. Firefighters and paramedics are staging in the area as a precaution.

The apartment is above the Giant grocery store, near Route 1.

Jay Westcott contributed to this story

Map via Google Maps / Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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An Alexandria teenager was arrested on May 13 for illegal possession of a firearm and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

On May 13, Alexandria Police were called to the 300 block of Tancil Court in Old Town after receiving multiple drug complaints. Officers observed a group of known and unknown individuals “loitering in the area,” noted a search warrant affidavit.

One of the young men is a minor known to police, and police saw him with a group “repeatedly using his right elbow and forearm to tap his right hip,” according to the affidavit.

Police confiscated the firearm and a Ziploc bag containing “11 individually wrapped baggies of marijuana weighing 51.1 grams (1.8 ounces),” in addition to $150, a digital scale and an iPhone, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The minor told police that he was under 18 years of age, and admitted to “trading marijuana to an individual in exchange for the firearm,” according to the affidavit.

The incident occurred less than a mile from where a 17-year-old was shot in the back while playing basketball on the evening of March 31. That incident is still under investigation, and police believe it was a targeted attack.

Map via Google Maps

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The 1200 block of Wythe Street is closed as police are responding to a shots fired call, with one person reported injured with non-life threatening wounds.

Police Spokesperson Lt. Courtney Ballantine said officers have closed the street after responding to a call around 2:30 p.m.

A male was reportedly taken to a local hospital by a family member with a gunshot wound to his upper-body, but Ballantine said the injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.

A suspect in the shooting was last seen driving away, though Ballantine said there was no description or other information available.

The shooting is one block away from a shots fired call on Saturday night and less than a mile from where a teenager was shot on April 2.

Image via Google Maps

 

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Alexandria Police have apprehended no suspects after answering a call for shots fired on Saturday night in the 1000 block of Madison Street in Old Town.

Police were called at 10:22 p.m. and found that a building and a vehicle were struck by bullets. They also recovered and a number of spent shell casings from a handgun, Alexandria Police Spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

No one has been arrested for the incident and no suspect description is available.

The area where the incident occurred is less than a mile from where a 17-year-old resident was shot on a basketball court earlier this month. It is near the Charles Houston Recreation Center, Mason Social and Lost Dog Cafe.

The last report of shots fired in the city occurred last month near Taney Avenue Park in the city’s West End. Before that, police responded to two report of shots fired in January, in a S. Reynolds Street Parking Lot and near Bishop Ireton High School.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Police Shooter Bashir Takes Insanity Defense for Alleged Stalking/Arson — “[Kashif] Bashir is charged with felony counts of arson, attempted arson, and making a false statement on a consent form to purchase a firearm, as well as nine counts of misdemeanor stalking, unauthorized use of an electronic tracking device, and possession of a firearm by a person acquitted by reason of insanity.” [WTOP]

Residents Cope With Cabin Fever — “Next week puts a little more pressure on me, because when my kids don’t have structure, then they do a lot of fighting.” [Alex Times]

Del Ray Restaurant Status Update — Among the closed restaurants are Los Tios Grill, Nectar Coffee and Wine Bistro, The Garden, and Live Oak Restaurant. Here’s a list of local eateries that are open for carryout and delivery. [Facebook]

Visit Alexandria Provides Updated Citywide Eatery List — “In case you need a quick reference, here’s a list of Alexandria restaurants open for takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery. For details, go to ALXatHome.com.” [Twitter]

ICYMI: Torpedo Factory Art Center Closed Until Mid May — “Hoping everyone is staying safe and healthy during this time. The Torpedo Factory will be closed till mid May. Please visit our artists through their fb pages, Instagram and websites.” [Facebook]

Bag Tax Bills on Bubble as General Assembly Revisits Budget — “Legislators are currently concerned with the immediate threat of the Coronavirus, its impact on Virginians and on the state budget. The implementation of the bills could take a back seat, for now, to the more immediate healthcare and economic problems stemming from the crisis.” [Gazette]

SCAN of Northern Virginia Gets Grant to Combat Child Abuse — “Unfortunately, we anticipate that incidences of child abuse and neglect will skyrocket because of the COVID-19 epidemic… But we have an opportunity this month–during National Child Abuse Prevention Month–to make sure our community is aware of this threat and empowered to protect children and support parents when they need it most.” [Zebra]

Alexandria Times Raises $975 in FOIA Fund — “During the first quarter of 2020, eight people donated a total of $975 to the Alexandria Times FOIA Fund. The Times made three FOIA requests of the City of Alexandria in the first quarter of 2020.” [Alex Times]

Center for Alexandria’s Children Recognizes ‘National Go Blue Day’ — “Don’t forget to #WearBlue for Child Abuse Prevention Month — and please post your photos and tag The Center for Alexandria’s Children, Inc. Raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention by showing your BLUE all over social media!” [Facebook]

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A 17-year-old Alexandria male was shot in the upper body on Tuesday evening on a basketball court in the 300 block of Tancil Court in Old Town, according to police.

“We got there and found a male subject with a gunshot wound and he was transported to a local hospital and suffered non-life threatening injuries,” police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow.

Police were called at 7:18 p.m. after the victim was short in the upper torso, according to police.

The victim was accompanied by other people when he was shot, and the suspect was reportedly not known to them. The suspect fled the scene on foot and no description is available.

Police would not release any more information since the investigation is ongoing.

 Map via Google Maps
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(Updated at 9 a.m.) There are no reported victims of a Tuesday afternoon shooting in a parking lot in the Landmark area, according to Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown.

“It appears that nobody was hit,” Brown told ALXnow on Tuesday night. “There may be a vehicle involved, but we’re still investigating,”

Shortly after 4 p.m., police received numerous 911 calls reporting shots fired. Investigators found shell casings in a parking lot on S. Reynolds Street near Duke Street, and there was reportedly one bullet hole found on a vehicle.

The shooting occurred near a number of apartment and condo buildings, as well as some businesses, including a 7-Eleven, Landmark Auto Group and a Sunoco Ultra Service Center.

George Alexis, the bartender at Reynolds Street Bar and Grill (34 S Reynolds St.), arrived at work to find police combing the area. He said that the shooting occurred outside an apartment building.

“I actually rolled up after all the cops showed up. A few customers couldn’t get into the building where the shooting was — they lived there,” Alexis said. “We saw cops digging through dumpsters and stuff. I saw a guy walk out of the woods, but he didn’t look suspicious.”

Image via Google Maps

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No injuries were reported after gunshots were apparently fired near Bishop Ireton High School over the weekend.

The Alexandria Police Department said Sunday night that it was investigating shots fired on the 200 block of Ellsworth Ave., in the West End.

There were three calls for service resulting from the incident, police told ALXnow. Officers recovered spent shell casings from a firearm, but no there were no reported injuries or property damaged.

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