Police say the suspect, 53-year-old Southeast D.C. resident James Sylvester Caroline, was arrested yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. He’s being held at the Arlington County jail for a probation violation, but charges are expected to be filed against him in Wong’s death.
(Update on 8/3/12: Caroline has been formally charged with murder.)
A law enforcement source tells ARLnow.com that Caroline was arrested during a traffic stop on the 4300 block of King Street, on the Arlington/Alexandria line. The arrest, we’re told, was the result of “round the clock” work by numerous Arlington detectives and police officers.
Caroline’s long criminal record in Virginia includes charges of grand larceny and probation violation in 1994, failure to appear in court in 1998 and 1999, and credit card theft and fraud in 2005. Caroline is also currently being investigated for a jewelry store robbery in D.C., in which the suspect was caught on surveillance video wearing the same yellow vest as the suspect in the Columbia Pike homicide.
Police issued the following press release about Caroline’s arrest:
Charges are expected to be brought forward on a 52 year-old DC man for his role in a recent jewelry store homicide in Arlington County.
Wednesday afternoon, the Arlington County Police Department arrested James Sylvester Caroline, 52, of Washington, D.C. for probation violation. He is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility. Additional charges are expected to be brought forward on Caroline in relation to the July 27, 2012 jewelry store homicide that resulted in the death of 52 year-old Tommy Wong.
Details on the arrest and the investigation will not be released at this time.
The Arlington County Police Department would like to recognize the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Metropolitan Police Department for their assistance that led to capture of Caroline. Additionally, Arlington County Police want to extend an appreciation to the community for their support and efforts by providing numerous tips over the past several days.
Virginia’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday starts tomorrow (Friday).
From Aug. 3-5, certain school supplies, clothing and footwear will be exempt from Virginia’s 5 percent sales tax. The exemption only applies to school supplies priced $20 or less and clothing and shoes priced $100 or less.
A complete list of qualifying items is available on the Virginia Department of Taxation website.
(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) An SUV overturned on eastbound I-66 between Glebe Road and Quincy Street this afternoon.
The accident happened just after 1:00 p.m. Initial reports suggest the driver of the overturned vehicle got spooked by a merging vehicle and swerved into the median. The SUV then flipped on its side.
A second vehicle that was reported to have been involved in the wreck didn’t stay on scene, but stopped further down I-66, according to scanner traffic.
Only one lane of EB I-66 is getting by the wreck at this time. No word yet on any injuries, but an ambulance was called to the scene.
Wednesday’s “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” brought record nationwide sales to the fast food chicken chain, CNN reported today (Thursday).
The event, organized on Facebook to demonstrate support for the restaurant after its CEO came under fire for remarks critical of same-sex marriage, drew large crowds across the country, including in Arlington.
Natalie Yang, owner of the Crystal City franchise at 2200 Crystal Drive, said her store had one of its busiest days in memory. She added her staff “treated it just like any other busy day.”
A reader sent in the photos above, which show a long lunchtime line stretching down the sidewalk on Crystal Drive.
The Ballston Common Mall Chick-fil-A also reportedly had a larger than normal lunchtime turnout. Franchise owner Andrea Hevia said Wednesday morning that her store hadn’t made any special plans to accommodate the rush, but one tipster said an ‘Appreciation’ crowd showed up anyway.
“This was one of the biggest expressions of support for free speech and free enterprise in recent Arlington memory,” the tipster wrote.
Yang said the line at her store reached Ted’s Montana Grill, about a half-block distance.
“We were too busy to even take pictures,” Yang said.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee promoted “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” on Facebook to counter a boycott of the Atlanta-based chain by same-sex marriage activists. The boycott came after Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy spoke publicly about his company’s opposition to gay marriage.
In July, the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco made clear their distaste with Cathy’s remarks, and discouraged the company from placing franchises in their cities. Huckabee praised the company, which doesn’t operate on Sundays, as a “true American success story.”
“Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant,” Huckabee wrote on Facebook.
There were reportedly no counter-protests or demonstrations on Wednesday at the Crystal City Chick-fil-A location. Yang said her staff was too wrapped up with serving customers to notice anything past the long line.
“We treat every one here with honor, integrity and respect,” Yang said. “We appreciate their support. And we didn’t run out of food.”
A U.S. Postal Service van collided with a car at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and N. Glebe Road in Ballston just before 9:30 this morning.
Initial reports suggested the accident might have been a hit-and-run, with the postal vehicle fleeing the scene. In actuality, the accident apparently disabled the brakes on the minivan and it ended up rolling down a small hill before coming to rest on Washington Boulevard between Glebe Road and N. Buchanan Street, about 1 or 2 blocks away, according to scanner traffic.
The driver of the car was evaluated by paramedics for minor injuries. The postal employee was not reported to be injured.
Update at 4:10 p.m. — A suspect has been arrested in the case.
Some 200 people gathered in front of the Capital Jewelers store at 3219 Columbia Pike last night (Wednesday) for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of slain shopkeeper Tommy Wong.
The Herndon resident was killed at his store during a robbery on the afternoon of Friday, July 27. Police are currently working leads in an effort to catch the killer, who was seen on surveillance footage entering the store while wearing a yellow traffic vest.
Among the crowd at the vigil last night were Mr. Wong’s family members — wife Elizabeth, daughter Vivian and son Desmond — plus friends, former co-workers, local residents, fellow Columbia Pike business owners, and a number of police officers and detectives.
Those who knew Mr. Wong described him as a friendly, industrious man who went the extra mile for customers and who worked hard to provide for his family.
“We are here to celebrate Tommy’s life,” said Lindsey Nguonly, owner of Princess Jewelers in Rockville, Md. Nguonly said Wong, a Hong Kong native, worked at his store for 15 years after he helped sponsor his emigration to the United States.
“Tommy came here to live the American Dream,” Nguonly said. “He never said no to anybody who asked for help. It is unfortunate and inconceivable to believe his life has been cut short like this.”
Robert Beverly, a Skyline resident and frequent customer of Capital Jewelers, said Wong had “a gentleness that we don’t see in this society very often.”
“You don’t stand alone here,” he said, addressing Mr. Wong’s family. “We feel your pain and we stand with you. We’re hoping and praying that the detectives will catch this culprit.”
Amid tears, family members thanked those in attendance and spoke briefly, but lovingly of Mr. Wong.
“My husband was a good man,” said Elizabeth Wong.
“My father has been a perfect role model,” said his 25-year-old son, Desmond. “I couldn’t have asked for more from my father.”
Vivian Wong said the turnout at the vigil — which was large enough to prompt police to block one lane of westbound Columbia Pike — was “amazing.”
“It makes it a lot easier to know we have so many people here to help us through this tough time,” she said. “I know if my father was here, he would be really touched.”
Among those in attendance was County Board member Chris Zimmerman, who lives in the nearby Douglas Park neighborhood. Zimmerman didn’t speak at the vigil, but said he came out in solidarity.
“It’s a loss to our Columbia Pike community,” he told ARLnow.com. “It’s something that shakes you. It’s terrible.”
Zimmerman’s sentiment was echoed by a customer who described Mr. Wong as a man of integrity who had a “great sense of honor.”
“We all love [Tommy] and we are going to miss him,” she told the gathered crowd. “We are not going to ever, ever forget.”
The 22nd annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 8 at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway).
This year’s event, co-sponsored by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) and the Arlington Cultural Affairs division, will run from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. The festival will feature “Afro Blue,” the Howard University a cappella group that made the 2011 finals of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”
From the press release:
Afro Blue was named be The Washington City Paper as 2011 Jazz Artist of the Year, received a WAMMIE for best A Cappella Group and best video (Nature Boy), and an honorable mention in the Critics Poll, a professional vocal group category by JAZZ TIMES.
Warrenton native Rene Marie will also perform:
Rene Marie, the award-winning, Warrenton, VA-born singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, is a heroine to many. Given an ultimatum by an abusive husband, she began her professional career after 40, leaving a 23-year marriage. Since her debut recording, Renaissance, the singer has evolved into one of the most intriguing vocalists of our time. With her latest release Voice of My Beautiful County (Motema Music), listeners will hear her trademark vocals but will also be struck by the wide variety of songs that she interprets — from Motown to Tin Pan Alley to “America the Beautiful.” The CD is a celebration of America’s cultural diversity.
The lineup also includes clarinetist and saxophonist Don Byron and two-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist Joshua Redman.
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
Close Call at Reagan National — Three commuter jets nearly collided at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday afternoon due to a communications failure among air traffic control personnel. The planes were about 12 seconds away from a collision when a tower controller corrected her mistake. [Washington Post]
Ebbin Endorses Krupicka — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has endorsed Alexandria Councilman Rob Krupicka (D) in the Sept. 4 special election to fill Del. David Englin’s former 45th District House of Delegates Seat. “[Krupicka] has been a steadfast ally in the fight for true equality, world-class education system, a cleaner environment, smart transportation solutions, and innovative policies that keep our economy strong,” Ebbin said.
Kaine to Visit Arlington Business Today — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine will be visiting Clarendon-based business GridPoint this afternoon. Kaine, who will be joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), will highlight his “Strengthening Our Economy Through Energy Innovation” plan.
Extreme Weather on the Rise in Va.? — Extreme downpours and snowstorms are happening 33 percent more frequently in Virginia compared to 65 years ago, according to a new report by Environment Virginia. The group says the finding supports the idea that global warming is changing weather patterns. “We need to heed scientists’ warnings that this dangerous trend is linked to global warming, and do everything we can to cut carbon pollution today,” said Environment Virginia Field Organizer Laura Kate Anderson. [Environment Virginia]