Newsletter

The big story in Alexandria this week was the murder of Luis Mejia Hernandez on Tuesday.

Hernandez was stabbed and killed in a brawl outside of the Mcdonald’s in the Bradlee Shopping Center.

Alexandria City High School went to asynchronous learning for the rest of the week to give students space and time to grieve. The Alexandria Police Department were at the scene when the stabbing occurred and friends of Hernandez say police didn’t do enough to stop the stabbing.

Another important story out of the week was power outages on Monday following a storm Sunday evening.

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Student killed after fight at Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s
  2. Wear masks, get tested and stay home, says Alexandria Health Department amid Covid surge
  3. Alexandria Police step up patrols in wake of homicide at Bradlee Shopping Center
  4. Police were at the Bradlee Shopping Center before teenager was fatally stabbed
  5. These Alexandrians just found a stash of baby formula and donated it to ALIVE!
  6. Police say they’re not at fault in response to fatal stabbing at Bradlee Shopping Center
  7. Dominion Energy warns power may not be restored in Alexandria until Tuesday morning
  8. Expanded King Street pedestrian zone to start this weekend
  9. Two Alexandria schools switch to remote learning due to ongoing power outages
  10. VDOT pitches I-495 express lanes expansion from Springfield to Maryland
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(Updated 2:30 p.m.) Friends of Luis Mejia Hernandez say he didn’t have to die.

More than a dozen of the Alexandria City High School senior’s friends paid tribute to him on Thursday night (May 26) with a candlelight vigil at the spot in the Bradlee Center parking lot where he was fatally stabbed on Tuesday afternoon. Many of them witnessed the fight, and say that police didn’t do enough to prevent the death.

“Police were literally walking right behind everyone before people started throwing punches,” said one student, who produced videos and photos of the incident on his phone. “They literally let everything happen.”

The Latino students said that they did not trust the police, and had not yet shared the information with them. One video showed a steadily escalating scene with police officers walking around groups of students along King Street — before the incident occurred.

No police sirens were used before and immediately after the stabbing, and police struggled to break up the fight, according to video obtained by ALXnow. There were about 30-50 Alexandria City High School students involved and no arrests have been made in connection to the incident.

“The police was here before everything started,” another witness said. “They didn’t do anything. They didn’t shoot a gun, they didn’t do anything.”

Police say that they responded appropriately, and are not at fault in their response. Police are also not currently investigating their response to the incident.

At the vigil, some of the students smoked weed and drank tequila — with police in cruisers observing but not engaging from a short distance away. Many of Hernandez’s friends burst into tears while talking about him. Some even left small plastic cups with tequila on the ground next to prayer candles and flowers.

The students did not respond when asked about what prompted the brawl.

“Something is always happening here (in the shopping center),” another friend of Hernandez said. “There was three police cars here. Why didn’t they call more officers? The police station is right there. This was unfair, this could have been prevented, no problem. It didn’t even have to happen.”

A GoFundMe for Hernandez has raised more than $20,000. His friends say that next week his father will take his body home to El Salvador, where his mother lives.

“He was a senior, like me,” one girl said. “He was going to graduate. He so looking forward to getting out of school this summer.”

Some of the kids involved were getting milkshakes at the Beeliner Diner in the shopping center. Owner Noelie Rickey said she provided police with security footage from the day of the incident, and that teenagers drive away her customers during lunch and after school hours.

“Our business has been down all week,” Rickey told ALXnow. “Obviously people are hesitant to come to the shopping center right now… And customers have learned to stay away when the kids are out and not in school.”

Alexandria City High School sent students home after the incident and transitioned to virtual learning for the rest of the week.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. says that police are providing additional high-visibility patrols in school zones, and that there will be support team members available for students when school reopens on Tuesday after Memorial Day.

Hernandez’s death marks the city’s third homicide of 2022 after a murder in the Foxchase neighborhood and a teenager killed in an alleged attempted carjacking in Potomac Yard earlier this month.

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A 15-year-old Alexandria male was charged with felonious assault after allegedly stabbing a man twice in the parking lot in the Landmark area of the West End.

The incident occurred Monday, October 11, at around 10 p.m. in the parking lot of 101 S. Whiting Street.

Security footage from a nearby gas station showed the suspect walking toward the apartment complex minutes before the incident, police said in a search warrant affidavit. Surveillance footage from the apartment complex then captured the suspect allegedly walking from car to car and pulling on door handles.

“The first few handles he pulled, the doors did not open and (it) appeared the vehicles were locked,” police said in the affidavit. “Once the subject found an unlocked door, he immediately entered the vehicle and sat in the drivers seat… Approximately 10-15 seconds later, the victim walked up to his vehicle and attempted to open the door.”

The affidavit continued, “At this time, I observed the suspect leap from the vehicle and start a physical altercation with the victim. During this time the victim was attempting to restrain the suspect and hold him until help arrived. Once the suspect was controlled, I observed him strike the victim two times in the shoulder and torso area.”

The victim’s lung was punctured, and one of his arms was stabbed.

“The victim received serious but non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the encounter,” Alexandria Police Captain Chris Wemple III told ALXnow. “Alexandria Police detectives were able to later identify the suspect as a 15-year-old juvenile and charge him with felonious assault.”

On October 16, the suspect’s father listed him as a runaway. He later returned home — nearly two miles away from the scene of the incident — and was interviewed by police on October 28.

Via Google Maps

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The 100 block of South Whiting Street, via Google Maps

Police are searching the Landmark area near the 100 block of S. Whiting Street after a stabbing occurred in the area tonight.

On social media, police said the stabbing occurred around 10:45 p.m. and the adult male victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

A helicopter has also been called in and is assisting the investigation.

Anyone with more information about the stabbing is asked to call 703 746 4444.

Via Google Maps

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A juvenile male was stabbed in the West End on Sunday evening, according to Alexandria Police.

The juvenile was found with a non-life threatening injury in the 5700 block of Drake Court, which is near Dora Kelley Nature Park.

The juvenile was transported to the hospital. No information has been released on the suspect.

Via Google Maps

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An adult man was stabbed in Old Town late Monday morning.

The incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. in the intersection of Wolfe Street and S. Alfred Streets in Old Town, which is just blocks from the Alexandria Courthouse and City Hall.

“It’s an active investigation,” Alexandria Police Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “A male victim was stabbed by the suspect and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”

Police said that nothing was stolen in the incident, and did not provide a suspect description.

Alexandria Police recently reported an increase in aggravated assaults.

Map via Google Maps

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(Updated 1:30 p.m.) A woman was allegedly stabbed in the head by the father of her child after he allegedly forced his way into her apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria.

The incident occurred on September 26 at around 9:15 p.m. in the 700 block of Tennessee Avenue.

“After assaulting her with the knife, (the suspect) then took his three-year-old son and left the area in an unknown direction,” according to a police search warrant affidavit that was issued last month.

Police pinged the suspect’s phone, and found that it was in the apartment where the incident occurred. Police answered the suspect’s ringing phone from a contact listed as “Carlos trabajo” (Carlos work), and the caller said he’d been watching the suspect’s son and was wondering when he was going to pick him up.

The boy was soon reunited with his family.

The suspect, 36-year-old Miguel Moreno, has not been apprehended and is wanted for statutory burglary, abuse or neglect of children and malicious wounding.

Map via Google Maps

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An Alexandria man is in good condition after being stabbed in Arlandria on Wednesday afternoon (March 3).

Police tweeted at 4 p.m. Wednesday that four men were in a fight and that one of them was stabbed in the leg in the 3800 block of Old Dominion Blvd. They are now searching for three male suspects.

Police would not disclose details of the incident except to say that the victim did not suffer life threatening injuries. The incident occurred near the Presidential Greens apartment complex that are a block away from Mount Vernon Avenue.

“The victim is in good condition,” APD Senior Public Information Officer Amanda Paga told ALXnow. “Our team is still working through the details of this active investigation.”

Map via Google Maps

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Even though it’s just three blocks away, Heather Lesley doesn’t let her teenage daughter walk to the Braddock Road Metro station to meet her when she gets back from work.

“I don’t feel comfortable letting her do that anymore,” Lesley told ALXnow. “My neighbor has bullet holes in the brick wall of their home.”

Ever since the pandemic started, Lesley has noticed an uptick in violent crimes in her neighborhood in the Parker Gray section of the city, and it was only three weeks ago that she called the police after hearing four gunshots. She’s a U.S. Air Force veteran with two kids and her husband is deployed overseas with the Army until next year and is now considering moving from the area.

“I was in bed watching a movie, with two teenagers downstairs,” Lesley said. “I went to my back window and I couldn’t see anything, because last summer a man got shot and made his way to our mailbox area in our homeowners association, and that’s where EMTs found him, so I knew to look for something.”

The Alexandria Police Department’s strategy to combat the uptick in violent activity is to increase their presence in the area, and Lesley and her neighbors have noticed more APD cruisers parked at the Post Office at 1100 Wythe Street. Police are also asking for information from those who have witnessed some of these incidents to call 703-746-4444 or 911 in an emergency.

“Clearly we are concerned about the uptick in firearm-related incidents in Parker Gray/Old Town, and around the City,” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow. “The Police Department has had increased presence, both marked and unmarked in the neighborhoods for the past several weeks and that will continue.”

According to a community crime map, there have been five aggravated assaults in Old Town this month alone, dozens of “other” assaults, and two residential burglaries. Also this month, Wilson appealed to the police to do something about an increase in vehicle thefts.

There have been reports of four shootings in Old Town since July 9. There was also a stabbing in the area on July 17 and a violent carjacking on Euille Street on July 14One suspect was arrested after a July 11 shooting, although police would not release their identity since it would impede the investigation. In June, a man drove himself to the hospital after being shot in the 700 block of North Fayette Street.

As previously reported, there was also a crime spree in the city during the height of the pandemic during a reduction of police presence. Additionally, on March 31, a 17-year-old was shot in what police suspect was a targeted attack. The victim was playing basketball on Tancil Court and his mother later refused to let him talk to police out of fear for his safety, according to police records.

Many of these incidents have occurred within a mile of each other, sometimes within blocks.

On July 30, Police Chief Michael L. Brown conducted an in-person community meeting at Charles Houston Recreation Center to talk about the incidents. He was joined by Wilson and City Manager Mark Jinks.

“The other difficult thing about these shootings is that they’re not happening on a regular basis, or a scheduled basis, they’re happening at a variety of times,” Brown said. “We’re trying to stop this trend.”

Many of the incidents are occurring around Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority public housing, and for the last several months the ARHA board of directors has had special virtual meetings every week to discuss developments during the pandemic.

“It’s unfortunate that these things are happening but we have increased policing that we feel will make a huge difference,” said ARHA Board Member Willie Bailey, who is also a former city councilman. “We have stepped up security at the properties by installing more cameras. We have also started an ARHA Resident Safety Committee where the residents can discuss their issues and have a say in the safety and well-being of their community.”

Lesley’s husband comes home next summer from his deployment, and she says she will make up her mind to move between now and then.

“We love this area, we love this neighborhood and Old Town,” she said. “We love our neighbors, but it’s beginning to be too much.”

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A man was stabbed in the Braddock area on Friday night, adding to a number of violent incidents to occur in the area in recent days.

The incident took place around the 800 block of N Patrick Street, near the Braddock Road Metro station and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority public housing units.

The victim is a white male who was stabbed in the upper body, ALXnow observed. No other suspect information was available. There were a number of witnesses and no one has yet been arrested.

There have also been two reports of gunshots in the area since July 9.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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