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UPDATED: Man Shoots Self Outside Union Jack’s

by ARLnow.com — April 4, 2013 at 9:45 am 15,633 100 Comments

A man shot himself in the head outside Union Jack's in Ballston A man shot himself in the head outside Union Jack's in Ballston

(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) A 24-year-old Alexandria man shot himself outside Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Road) in Ballston last night.

The shooting happened around 1:00 a.m. According to police, the man was having “domestic dispute” with his girlfriend inside the restaurant. He then walked outside, took out a gun, fired several shots in the air, and then shot himself in the head, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

About 30 people witnessed the shooting, Sternbeck said. At least one bystander attempted CPR.

The man was rushed to the hospital and is currently alive and on life support, in very critical condition. He was not pronounced dead, as earlier reported.

This was at least the second time this year that a major police incident happened at the restaurant. Union Jack’s was the scene of a brawl that resulted in two arrests in February.

Photos courtesy Misty Alvarez

  • Jim

    Way to make the story about yourself. You are one of those people.

    • Adam

      See it as you will sir. It was just the first thing that popped into my head as I saw the story. In zero way was I attempting to make myself more important than the story.

    • Rob

      Really? He was just drawing a connection about the frailty of human life and that it can be taken anywhere. Your own egotism astounds.

    • CW

      I think Adam’s point was that he was close by to where the incident happened, albeit at a different time, and he was simply reflecting with shock/horror that he could have, if things were a bit different, been right there when this happened. So calm down.

  • kalashnikev

    1) Signage does not carry force of law in VA. They can ask you to leave, but you really shouldn’t be in a place that doesn’t respect your rights in the first place.

    2) The VA Tuck was silly and is gone now.

    • fatkidspecial

      your rights as a small business owner?

      what inalienable rights do you have to carry a firearm onto another person’s private property?

      • kalashnikev

        I think you’re reading into something that’s not there… any small business owner certainly has a right to put up a “NO GUNS” sign- and every consumer in the market has the right adjust their purchasing decisions accordingly. Maybe you like having lunch in an unarmed victim zone? Not me… even when I’m not carrying. The same would apply for a “NO FREE SPEECH” sign sign in the window.

        • fatkidspecial

          unarmed victim zone? if you need a concealed weapon to feel safe that’s your own problem. A lady next to me was mugged/accosted a year or so ago on a patio, I took two of the five kids down w/ bare hands while three others ran away (i ran out of hands). I don’t mind guns, i take mine out shooting in the woods all the time, but you’re a wuss and statistically illiterate if you think carrying one around makes you and your family safer.

          • kalashnikev

            Hey, if you want to duke it out “mano-a-mano” with some street criminal (or 5, apparently), be my guest. I know a guy who lived through a pretty serious car accident with no seat belt. I take reasonable precautions in my life though. I guess I’m not as tough as you or him…

          • fatkidspecial

            eh. yea that was a pretty stupid thing to do and not something i’d try again. but alas. point of the matter, what are the chances you come across someone who is armed and intent on hurting you in Arlington compared to the risk that you or someone you care about will be injured by the firearm you own? We’ve expanded gun ‘rights’ far beyond what is rational for self-protection and public safety but small business owners are well within their rights to ban guns on their property.

            Feel terrible for this kid but none of it’s surprising… not the location, not the method of the attempt and not the irrational exuberance with which the pro-gun folks continue to argue in favor of this firearm culture that has grown into something wildly irresponsible.

          • drax

            I personally would take measures to assure that the odds of my family being injured by my gun would be less. Kind of like I do with my power saws, knives, poisonous liquids, electrical outlets and equipment…I can handle the responsibility of a gun, even if others can’t.

            As for “gun culture” I agree, but that’s different from gun control. Gun culture isn’t about owning a gun, but it’s about taking it to a bar and getting in a fight with your girlfriend.

          • drax

            To paraphrase the old saying, you don’t bring bare hands to a gun fight.

  • kalashnikev

    Probably a lot more than you realize.

    • J

      or even think about… this really is an eye-opener.

  • Good taste

    You are an awesome person

    • Jesus Shuttlesworth

      Come on, lighten up. There’s no need to lose your head over it.

      • Scott

        This tool is Exhibit A, B, C…. why comments should have been closed

        • Jesus Shuttlesworth

          I hope calling me a “tool” makes you feel better about yourself. What are you, in middle school?

          • Scott

            The troll is offended. I hope you feel better about yourself making lame & inappropriate jokes about a tragedy. What are you…. pot, black and so forth

          • Captain_Obvious

            but you actually are a tool and suck at life.

  • Dannie

    Lame

  • Grammar Police

    Nice grammar. You must be from PG County.

  • Pun Police

    Second attempt. Same result as your other post. Extremely offensive, mildly funny.

  • Dumbness

    Arlnow needs to work on their system before they release anything they might want to…the back work it’s sad how this “awesome” website loves to glorify something that is not in their control and a sad situation just to glorify themselves….not once or twice or 3 times has this site made out a bar or a restaurant to look bad maybe if the “writers” get te full story then maybe these “journalist” know what the hell they are talking about

    • Dannie

      Do I need more coffee?? What?

    • fatkidspecial

      i’m usually one of the first to criticize arlnow for gray area reporting… but don’t really understand anything you’re saying here.

  • EBarnes

    …by shooting him? Isn’t that a bit contradictory?

    • Jesus Shuttlesworth

      If he’s shooting a gun in the air, he’s a public safety liability. Thusly, a danger to the rest of the patrons.

      • EBarnes

        Yeah I suppose that part of it could make sense…I guess I was focusing on the whole “someone could have stopped him before he shot himself” by shooting him aspect.

        • John Fontain

          As Mary-Austin posted below, I was, in fact, pointing out ridiculous NRA “logic” and wasn’t seriously suggesting that someone else with a firearm would have helped the situation.

          • EBarnes

            Sadly it wasn’t very clear because it would be something posted seriously by many people…

  • OX4

    I’m sorry I kind of chuckled at this. But I’m down voting you to make myself feel better about it.

  • squidgod

    If only his head had a gun, this tragedy could have been avoided.

  • Scott

    Update: our first story was completely wrong.

  • Daveypike

    Union Jacks has been nothing but trouble since it entered the neighborhood. They constantly over serve patrons and then have disturbances and brawls, and now this tragedy. . The Poorly trained staff and management are culpable in many of the cases. I dont know about this one, but its sad and par for the course. Incidents dont just consistently happen at a place for no reason. There are many other establishments in the area and none of the have the “bad luck” that union jacks has because they are run in a more responsible manor. I hope something good came come of this.

    • Arlingtonvirginia

      Never have been to this one, but went to the one in Bethesda the night Michigan was playing Ohio State where MI won in overtime, and it was very time. And much smaller than I had expected. However I haven’t heard much positive about the one here in Ballston. Not like I’d go to anything other than Bailey’s anyways. Apparently it’s not safe to be outside doing you know what, whereas I can be indoors at Baileys.

    • Jesus Shuttlesworth

      Hey, Arlington needs a rodent trap.

    • To Be Fair

      I’ve been to Union Jack’s at Ballston a few times for lunch and for happy hour. I’ve always had a good experience. It has never been wild, and the service and food were pretty good. But I imagine that a lot of bars/restaurants get a lot more lively after midnight, which is way past my bedtime. There have been a couple of unfortunate incidents there lately, but we’re talking small number statistics.

    • tired

      Really? you mean that despite people open carrying in there it is not the safest place in Arlington? How can this be true?

  • Mary-Austin

    Some good old NRA logic for ya

  • Arlingtonvirginia

    Maybe they can aspire to be as safe as Chicago is?

    • Todd

      Chicago murder rate drops to lowest rate since 1959.

      http://www.npr.org/2013/04/02/175997137/chicagos-murder-rate-begins-year-lower

      • Arlingtonvirginia

        Todd: The “murder” rate is probably lower because fewer people are dying from the gunshots, but more people are getting shot. Medical advances mean that fewer people die from gu nshots they would ahve died from in the past.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/chicago-shootings-25-woun_n_2991974.html

        25 people were shot in chicago last weekend. Strictest gun control in the nation. Hows’ that working out?

        • Captain_Obvious

          how do you know more people are getting shot if crimes rates are going down?

        • Scott

          So you think laxer gun laws in Chicago would help bring down the instances of crime? How so?

          • Arlingtonvirginia

            Well the strict gun laws aren’t working either. Why is it that we don’t have 25 people getting shot on a weekend here in Virginia despite the “lax” gun rules?

          • Arlingtonvirginia

            Hasn’t the murder rate in DC declined since the Heller decision?

      • DCBuff

        Don’t let facts get in the way!

      • Skippy Johnson

        Over the 3-month period of Jan-March . . . there’s a lot of the year left to go

  • AL

    My GOD Arlnow. How can you report him as having died on the scene without confirming that? Terrible reporting.

    • J

      When the story broke he was reported as dead on the scene. Hence, the update. Did you read it??

      • AL

        Yes, I read it. But isn’t it standard practice not to report details that haven’t been confirmed? Or is it Arlnow’s policy to be the first one to break the news and not worry about whether or not it’s actually true?!

        • J

          HE WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE. THAT *IS* TRUE.

          • Scott

            Arlnow article above reads
            “He was not pronounced dead, as earlier reported.”

            but it is not in all caps so I’m not sure who to believe..

          • J

            oop. I misread.

            Touche.

        • ARL

          The detail that a police spokesman said he was dead was confirmed when he said he was dead.

          Should ArlNow go to the morgue every time the police report a death just to make sure?

          Mistakes happen, and it wasn’t ArlNow’s fault.

    • CrystalMikey

      My GOD, this is not a major news organization.

    • OX4

      My GOD you are dramatic.

      • Scott

        Reporting that someone has died –when they didn’t actually is dramatic particularly to anyone with ties to this person

        • Guest

          I guess I have a bit more sympathy for people that run a local news blog for free. I’m sure the AP has a news feed you can monitor if you want professional journalism. Cut the guy some slack and relax.

          • But…

            Except the guy running this thing posting local news stories (which some consider journalism) here does so as his profession. See those ads to the left and right and those open house postings. I recall some being miffed that arlnow was not credited with their first bite on the super stops when picked up by the Post. Sometimes it is journalism except when its not I guess

    • http://www.arlnow.com/ ARLnow.com

      A police spokesman told us he had died. Then we were told by police that he was not dead. There’s not much else we could have done here… we corrected as soon as possible.

  • Mary-Austin

    You don’t know that. For all we know this was another law abiding citizen.

    • B_Lee_D

      Possible, but unlikely since the incident reportedly occurred at 1:00am. That piece of circumstantial evidence indicates that he was likely drinking.

  • Qubler

    A gunowner is more likely to kill themselves or a relative with a gun, than to kill a criminal.

    • kalashnikev

      Wrong.

    • Wayne LaPierre

      Don’t let facts get in the way man. You should be afraid!! Shut up and buy the guns!

    • kalashnikev

      That is an oft-repeated lie.

      • drax

        Okay, time for both of you to post some, you know, sources. Primary sources – actual studies – not unsupported quotes.

        And neither of you probably will.

  • Mary-Austin

    Oh ok so now sensible gun law cause poverty…riiiight

    • kalashnikev

      Gun laws are an essential part of the equation.

  • Captain_Obvious

    because its unnecessary. Guns in bars does not equal a winning formula.

    • Captain_Obvious

      What world do you live in? How often is your life threatened…honestly?

  • SomeGuy

    Why not? I assume you’re asking that question in the general sense and not about this specific situation. And if the gun toter is responsible and not also drinking, it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Captain_Obvious

      because guns and alcohol do not mix no matter the situation. Drunk guy could find gun on non-drunk guy…etc.

      • SomeGuy

        Well then, I hope someone disarmed those officers before they entered the establishment to ask questions. Because as you say, “guns and alcohol do not mix no matter the situation.” Right?

        • Captain_Obvious

          right, you got it exactly, except that police officers are trained in dealing with this crap, trained in firearms, etc., way more so than the average gun-toting citizen. I think you’re done now.

          • SomeGuy

            So there are exceptions to the gross generalization in which you engaged? Would retired police officers also meet the exceptions you’re making since they’ve had this training? I can be done whenever. My challenge to your blanket statement remains valid, so I’m merely encouraging you to consider that just because YOU can’t think of a reason why YOU would want to carry into a restaurant, there might be others who have their own perfectly valid and legal reasons to do so.
            Why would you respond with an attitude to my pointing that out?

          • Captain_Obvious

            yes, of course there are exceptions. Not everything is black and white, especially comments on here. And I’ve made a pretty clear distinction between police officers (fine, retired or not) and the average gun-toting citizen. I’m sorry, but valid and legal reasons are not the same. And I actually cannot think of a VALID reason why an average citizen would want to bring a gun to a bar.

          • kalashnikev

            So… if a person was trained, and in possession of some kind of… I don’t know Certificate of Competency, passed a background check and was issued some kind of… I don’t know License to Carry a Concealed Weapon… would that meet your strict requirements?

          • Captain_Obvious

            no, police officers.
            Do you have a VALID reason why you need to bring your gun to a bar? Please don’t say 2nd amendment…you’re smarter than that right ?

          • genius alert

            I think you already know the answer to that question

          • SomeGuy

            I’m not typically armed. But yes, I have a VALID reason why I’d legally bring a gun somewhere that people of your mindset say I shouldn’t. And the cool part is that I don’t even need to justify to anyone why my reasons are VALID. When making a perfectly legal personal decision, I get to be my own arbiter of VALID.

            Likewise, you don’t need to tell me the “VALID” reasons why, for example, you prefer wine coolers over beer. If it’s your preference and you’re responsible about it and your stray pinkie doesn’t hit me while you’re sipping, it’s you’re business, and I’m okay with it.

          • Captain_Obvious

            Fair enough, but what do you call valid, please enlighten me? If I actually knew what gun owners thought about this, it would help me understand the mentality more instead of always hearing “2nd amendment, blah, blah”.
            By the way, typical comment at the end there about the pinkie from someone with your afraid mentality.

          • drax

            Because other people bring guns to bars?

            But if we make a law that they can’t, it will never happen, right?

          • Captain_Obvious

            Im just trying to get a straight answer that doesn’t have anything to do with 2nd amendment.

          • kalashnikev

            Why do I need a valid reason to exercise a constitutionally protected freedom? Should women show a valid reason to be able to vote?

            Do I not need my CCW in an alcohol-serving-establishment because nothing bad ever happens there?

          • Scott

            Great corollary with the women voting thing… With freedoms does not necessarily come common sense or decency. There are a lot of things you can do or say in the great US of A, but for which many /most would agree that you should not do i.e. people who take offense to Arlington’s non-binding attempts to get folks to not smoke around kids at parks. Sure its your right to smoke where ever the hell you want but its others’ right to judge you and think less of you.

          • Captain_Obvious

            I knew you didn’t and would just fall back on the constitution reason. No surprise there. I’m not saying that I have to find it valid, but it’d be nice to know what you find valid so I can try to understand your thought process on why you think you need to carry a gun. Just say it already, you’re afraid that something could happen and you want to be prepared. If that’s it, how did you become so paranoid ?

          • drax

            Maybe he was planning to walk home on the Custis Trail.

  • Jason

    He didn’t drink.

  • squidgod

    Because FREEDOM!

  • Joe Hoya

    Except that he fired two shots in the air first. Every year, people are seriously injured or killed this way.

  • nerdalert2

    This isn’t actually true. In VA you can technically open carry a pistol and drink a beer legally. I’ve never seen anyone do it, and I would never do it, but it is legal.

  • Arlingtonvirginia

    Now its revealed he’s still alive, on life support, and fired shots into the air, which put other people’s lives at severe risk.

  • roquer

    To Joe Hoya, please tell us how many people have been killed by someone shooting in the air. The man fired a couple rounds to make sure the gun worked and draw attentiong before shooting himself.

    • fatkidspecial

      surprising at it sounds, this does actually happen.

    • Skippy Johnson

      The number of people killed by free-falling bullets is too numerous to count. A few instances:

      The CDC estimates that in Puerto Rico, two people die and about 25 more are injured each year from gunshots fired into the air on New Year’s Eve.

      http://web.archive.org/web/20070208230620/http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=381365

      Over a seven year period (1985 and 1992), doctors at a Los Angeles hospital treated 118 people for random falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of them died.

      Kuwaitis celebrating in 1991 at the end of the Gulf War by firing weapons into the air caused 20 deaths from falling bullets.

      http://ats.ctsnetjournals.org/cgi/content/full/83/1/283

  • ARL

    He attempted suicide.

  • LP

    I wonder if he had a concealed weapons permit. Thank god he picked himself and not anyone else.

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