A man was viciously punched in the hallway of a Columbia Pike-area apartment building early Wednesday morning, police say.
Two arrests were made in connection with the alleged crime. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 150415010, 1200 block of S. Courthouse Road. At 2:26 am on April 15, two subjects assaulted a victim in the hallway of an apartment building. The victim was repeatedly punched causing him to suffer a broken tooth that was embedded in his lip. Vannak Ki, 20, of Falls Church, VA and Joshua Hueston, 19, of Arlington, VA were arrested and charged with malicious wounding. They were held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump.
The man who killed a 24-year-old Alexandria resident last January in a drunk-driving collision in Rosslyn was sentenced to 12 years in prison this morning.
Aman Singh Lail was sentenced to 20 years, with nine suspended, for aggravated involuntary manslaughter, plus 12 months for driving under the influence. Lail pleaded guilty to the charges last summer.
The sentence was the maximum allowed upon the plea agreement, and Arlington Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo apologized to the family of the victim, Chowdhury Saqlain, saying no sentence could replace the son they lost.
“I don’t even know what to say to the family seated over here,” she said from the dais. “It’s completely unfair what’s happened to you. It’s wrong.”
Lail had previously been arrested twice and convicted once of DUI in Virginia. He had also been charged with multiple reckless driving and speeding charges, totaling more than 30 citations and arrests.
On Jan. 24, 2014, Lail was driving on Lee Highway at between 53 and 64 mph — the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Lail’s attorneys dispute the speed and blood-alcohol content of the case — when his Jeep Wrangler slammed into Saqlain’s sedan at the intersection of Ft. Myer Drive. Lail could not complete a field sobriety test and initially lied to detectives, telling them a friend “Moe” had been driving his SUV.
“He drove like a maniac, was outrageously drunk and displayed callousness after the fact,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jay Burkholder said during the hearing. Witnesses said he drank between four and five vodka and orange juice drinks and two tequila shots at a hookah bar in Fairfax County. “Because of perverted fate, the defendant is alive and [Saqlain] is dead.”
Lail’s mother testified that her son had been an alcoholic and told her the evening after the crash he didn’t remember what happened. In the 15 months since the crash, Lail’s attorney claimed he had grown up, and asked for leniency in the sentencing.
After the hearing, Saqlain’s family and their attorney, David Haynes of The Cochran Firm, held a press conference outside the courthouse and announced they would be pursuing a civil suit against Lail, asking for $20 million in damages.
Haynes said the family hopes Saqlain’s legacy is fewer drunk-driving deaths. They are also calling on state legislators to make bars and restaurants liable in drunk-driving accidents that occurred after over-serving their patrons.
“Without this law on the books, we are unable to hold these establishments responsible,” Haynes said.
During the sentencing hearing, Saqlain’s stepfather read testimony written by his wife — the victim’s mother — who was quietly sobbing in the front row.
“There will be no more birthdays, he will always be 24,” he read. “My heart aches knowing he had no warning, no ability to prepare. He couldn’t say goodbye.”
A woman told police that an SUV pulled up to her around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, on the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive. There were two women inside the SUV, who flashed a handgun and demanded that the victim get into the vehicle.
While inside, according a crime report, the suspects robbed the victim of a handbag containing cash, a cell phone and a passport. They drove a few blocks then let the victim out of the vehicle.
From the crime report:
Both suspects were described as Hispanic females, approximately 45 years old. One suspect wore a baseball cap and grey hoodie. The second suspect had bleached blonde hair. She was wearing a hoodie with floral print, ripped blue jeans and ankle-high snow boots. The suspect’s vehicle was described as a dark color SUV, unknown make, model or tags. The investigation remains on going at this time.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, the lockers in the men’s locker room were all locked with digital locks, and it’s unclear how the suspect was able to open them.
“We’re not sure if the suspect watched people in the locker room put in their codes, or if there’s a way of getting around the digital locks,” Sternbeck said.
One of the larceny victims said the robbery happened over the course of just a few minutes.
“I was working out for about 15 minutes, went back to my locker to change into my swimsuit and it was gone,” Mark Slobodien told ARLnow.com this morning. His wallet, ID and some jewelry were also stolen. “It feels like [the gym] was responsible, at least partly. I was using their locks to secure my property.”
Sternbeck said the department doesn’t keep statistics for thefts from gym lockers — they’re usually reported as larcenies — so he couldn’t say how frequent locker room thefts are. He did say, however, that most of the thefts are from lockers that were not secured by a lock.
There is no suspect description. All of the items stolen, Sternbeck said, appeared to be wallets, cash and other valuables that can easily be concealed.
Slobodien said L.A. Fitness staff told him similar larcenies had happened “once or twice” in the last couple of years. L.A. Fitness management did not return a request for comment.
Police say a male suspect put the victim in a chokehold while a female suspect went through his pockets and stole a cell phone.
From the ACPD:
ROBBERY, 150325003, 5100 block of Columbia Pike. At 12:38 am on March 25, an unknown male suspect placed the victim into a choke hold while a female suspect went through his pockets and stole his T-mobile cell phone. The male suspect was described as a black male in his 20′s, approximately 6’0 and 230 lbs. He was wearing a dark color baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and dark color pants. The second suspect was described as a black female in her 20′s. The suspects fled the scene on foot prior to officers arrival.
Last weekend, police found a man who had been knocked out, lying on the ground in Clarendon. A 49-year-old Woodbridge man was arrested and charged with malicious wounding.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 150322006, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At 12:30 am on March 22, officers located a 26 year old male victim on the ground and unresponsive. The victim was transported to George Washington Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Investigation revealed that the suspect assaulted the victim. Ivan Deloria, 49, of Woodbridge, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. The suspect was held with not bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Arlington’s rate of Part I offenses (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) dropped 8.22 percent from 2013 to 2014, and the total of 3,863 Part I offenses was the lowest in the county since 1961, ACPD said.
“The historically low crime rate is a true testament to the partnership among the community and Police Department,” Police Chief Doug Scott said in a press release, his last as ACPD chief before his retirement became official this week. “We will continue make these partnerships even stronger as it has made our community safer.”
Arlington had one homicide last year — a domestic murder-suicide in December — and rape incidents increased from 26 in 2013 to 27 in 2014. Other crime categories all fell year-over-year:
- Robberies decreased 12.7 percent
- Burglaries decreased 14.17 percent
- Larcenies decreased about 7 percent
- Motor vehicle thefts decreased about 7 percent
- Aggravated assaults decreased 19.4 percent
“Even with crime rates at historic lows, the Arlington County Police Department will continue to actively patrol and maintain safety, and will attempt to identify causes for crimes so that they may be addressed,” ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said in the release.
Police say the man ran off with the store’s cash register and, a short distance away, smashed it on the ground to open it. He then fled in a getaway vehicle with his pilfered cash.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 150219028, 4100 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 2 pm on February 19, a male subject entered the Dollar Up store and brandished a knife at an employee. The subject grabbed the cash register and fled the store on foot. A short distance later the suspect is seen slamming the register on the ground and taking an undisclosed amount of money before driving off in a getaway vehicle. The suspect is described as a black male in his fifties. He was wearing a dark colored winter coat and brown beanie.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Reward Paid for Bank Robbery Tip — Arlington County Crime Solvers has paid a reward for a tip received that led to the arrest of a bank robbery suspect. The tipster called a 1-800 number to leave a tip after seeing a press release about the Dec. 6 robbery at Capital One Bank in Ballston Common Mall. [Arlington County]
Williamsburg Middle School Closed Monday — Williamsburg Middle School was closed Monday due to a pipe that burst over the weekend, damaging part of the school. [WUSA 9]
‘CoworkCafe’ Launches in Clarendon — A new coworking space concept called CoworkCafe has launched in the lounge next to Boccato Gelato in Clarendon. For $150-200 per month, those seeking to get work done can access the lounge as often as they like. They also get a $50 credit toward food and beverage. [Washington Business Journal]
Solar Co-Op Launching in Arlington — A group of Arlington residents is banding together to form a solar co-op, which will allow members to obtain bulk discounts on the purchase and installation of home solar power equipment. [Sun Gazette, Virginia Sun]
‘Soulless’ Tweeter Spotted in Arlington — Byron Tau, the Wall Street Journal reporter who asked last week if Arlington was the “most soulless place in the United States,” was photographed over the weekend smiling widely at Courthouse’s Fire Works Pizza. “No comment on the record,” Tau tweeted in response to the photo. [Twitter]
Reminder: Pothole, Water Main Break Reporting – As the freeze, thaw, refreeze cycle continues during the month of February, numerous water main breaks and large potholes have been reported around Arlington. If you spot one that needs to be fixed, you can quickly file a report about it via the following “report a problem” online form. [Arlington County]
The incident happened just after noon, at the Safeway on the 3700 block of Lee Highway. Police say a man implied that he had a weapon and demanded cash. The store’s manager was able to subdue the suspect and hold him until police arrived.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 150217009, 3700 block of Lee Highway. On February 17 at 12:03 pm, a male suspect entered the Safeway and attempted to rob the store demanding money and assaulting the store manager and implied he had a weapon. The manager was able to detain the suspect until police arrived. Enkhamar Tserenorj, 19, of McLean, VA, was arrested and charged with robbery and assault & battery. He was held without bond.
Last Friday, just before Valentine’s Day, a man allegedly used a master key and bolt cutters to break into his ex-wife’s apartment in the Columbia Heights West community.
Once inside, police say the man assaulted the woman and her boyfriend.
BURGLARY/ASSAULT, 150214003, 700 block of S. Florida Street. At 11:53 pm on February 13, a male subject gained entry to his ex-wife’s apartment by using a master key and bolt cutters. The suspect forced his way into the bedroom and physically assaulted the 44 year-old female victim and her boyfriend. The suspect fled and was located by police at a relative’s house. Gonzalo Cruz, 45, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with burglary, possession of burglarious tools, destruction of property and assault. He was held without bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) A convicted felon put a knife to the throat of a 7-Eleven clerk in Lyon Park early this morning, then tried to carjack a delivery truck at gunpoint before ditching the gun and running off into the neighborhood, according to police.
The incident happened around 2:15 a.m., in the midst of this morning’s snow storm, at the 7-Eleven store at 2704 Washington Blvd.
Police say Antonius Sallis, 33, held up the store, putting a knife to the throat of a clerk with one hand while holding a handgun in his other hand. Sallis demanded Newport cigarettes and cash, then slashed the clerk’s neck before leaving the store, Arlington County Police said in a press release.
A delivery truck driver witnessed the robbery, police said, then was robbed himself. The driver told investigators that Sallis demanded his wallet and tried to steal the truck.
Police say the getaway was foiled when Sallis could not disengage the truck’s airbrake, at which point he took off running into the neighborhood.
Officers tracked him down and after a brief foot chase, Sallis was arrested, ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm said. He’s charged with two counts of armed robbery, malicious wounding, abduction, carjacking and being felon in possession of a firearm.
Police and canine units searched for hours after the robbery to find the gun. Just before 3:00 p.m., an officer found it, along with “some other evidence” in the backyard of a house on the 300 block of N. Fillmore Street, Malcolm said.
“Officers during their evening shift briefing were told the suspected path the suspect traveled,” Malcolm said. “About two blocks behind the 7-Eleven, an officer spotted it.”
Sallis, who police say is homeless, is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Center.
Earlier, police said Sallis — who has retained a lawyer — was being uncooperative as officers searched for the weapon.
“We did searches with canines, patrolled the area… We’ve looked everywhere we can, but we’re only 360 police officers and not all of us are in,” Malcolm told ARLnow.com earlier today. “We’re asking the community to be mindful and look for the firearm. It could be in the snow, in a trash can, in a storm sewer.
“We’re most concerned about kids finding the firearm,” Malcolm said. “We really need to find this.”
Police recovered the knife and other evidence when they apprehended Sallis, Malcolm noted.
Photo courtesy Arlington County Police Department
Two masked men held up the McDonald’s at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway early this morning and stole cash.
The two men caught on surveillance cameras entered the fast-food joint about 4:40 a.m. and jumped over the front counter, police said. One man pointed a handgun at employees while the other man served as a lookout. The thieves stuffed cash into a backpack and drove off in a dark sedan. No injuries were reported.
Police described the first suspect as a black man in his 20s who stands about 5-foot-3, weighs 125 pounds and was last seen wearing ripped jeans and construction boots. The other man was described as black, about 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds. He was wearing dark jeans and a black North Face coat.
Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to contact Det. Mulvaney of the ACPD’s robbery/homicide unit at 703-228-4239 or at email@example.com, or submit a tip anonymously at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
The incident happened on the 4000 block of 5th Street N., near Ballston. Police say the man was peering into the bedroom window of a woman’s ground floor apartment.
From the crime report:
PEEPING, 150208012, 4000 block of N. 5th Street. At 1:29 am on February 8, a suspect was seen looking through a bedroom window of a ground floor apartment at a female victim. Police arrived and took the subject into custody outside of the apartment. Cesar Augusto Muz-Moya, 53, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with peeping and drunk in public. He was held without bond.
The rest of this week’s crime report, after the jump.
Noormustafa “Noor” Shaikh, a 40 year old Stafford, Va. resident, was still in critical condition as of Friday afternoon, we’re told. He suffered numerous injuries last Tuesday when a Fairfax woman allegedly ran him over with her SUV, as he tried to prevent her from leaving the parking lot of his automotive business on the 3600 block of Columbia Pike.
Alexandra Mendez, 39, was arrested the next morning and charged with aggravated malicious wounding. She was also charged with hit and run for allegedly striking two cars in the parking lot, which prompted Shaikh — a co-owner of MK Auto Sales and Service — to try to stop her from leaving.
Shaikh was run over by the SUV’s tires and suffered at least eight significant injuries — including multiple rib fractures, liver laceration, bruised lungs, a leg fracture, spine fractures and facial fractures — according to a family friend who contacted ARLnow.com but did not wish to be identified by name.
“He’s awake and aware but can’t talk because he’s on a respirator full time,” the friend said of Shaikh’s condition. “He still has to undergo more surgeries.”
A group of friends and coworkers have set up an online fundraising campaign for Shaikh, who is better known by his nickname, Noor. So far the “For Noor” GoFundMe campaign has raised $895, but it is seeking more money to help provide for Noor’s wife and three sons.
Said the friend: “His wife, Durdana, is trying to keep his spirits up. She tough and hanging in there. She [is] with him all day… always keeping a watchful eye on him. As for the kids they are aware he was hurt, but they do not the extent for his injuries. Makes it easier for them. They all keep asking when their dad is coming home.”
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) A jury has sentenced a man to life in prison without parole for the June 2013 machete attack on two homeless brothers outside Arlington Central Library.
Derrick Sutherland, 30, was convicted of aggravated malicious wounding for attacking twins Brian and Tim Kern while they were sleeping outside on June 24, 2013, sending both to the hospital with serious injuries. Sutherland was also homeless at the time, and he was “known to carry a machete,” according to police.
Arlington Circuit Court Chief Judge William T. Newman will hand down Sutherland’s final sentencing in an April 17 hearing, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Lynch, who tried the case along with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Lindsay Brooker.
“What broke this case open was some great police work,” Lynch told ARLnow.com this morning. “Officer Stephanie Rodriguez was on the ball that night, she went to where Brian was. She remembered that 48 hours earlier, she went to that very same place and encountered a guy with dreadlocks, a Jamaican accent and a pink shirt, and he was homeless.”
After searching for several hours, police located Sutherland near Wilson Blvd and N. Piedmont Street, a few blocks from where the attack took place. Within the previous six months, Sutherland had been convicted twice on weapons charges, once for carrying a concealed Bowie knife and once for brandishing a machete or Bowie knife, Lynch said.
Just days before the attack, three officers had encountered Sutherland and confiscated a machete, which Sutherland said he needed to protect himself. At two separate points since the attack, Lynch said, Sutherland was ruled mentally incompetent and had to be treated at a state mental facility in Staunton.
According to the Washington Post, Tim Kern suffered a broken collarbone and an injured knee during the attack. He also required staples in his shoulder and stitches in his arm. Tim also suffered a cut on the back of his neck that went through “his skin, his fat, his muscle all the way to the muscle surrounding the spinal cord,” Lynch said. “It was deep and it was long. I categorized it as an attempt to decapitate him.”
Brian Kern lost the vision in one of his eyes, and both of his wrists and three fingers were broken in the attacks. He also suffered large wounds to both of his hands, and Lynch said he had to learn how to write left-handed because of the injuries to his right hand.
Tim Kern died in a homeless shelter two months after he was attacked, but the machete wounds he suffered “did not contribute directly to his death.” He and his brother were 26 at the time. Brian, now 28 and living with a family friend, testified against Sutherland during the trial.
“The victim showed a lot of patience,” Lynch said. “June 24, 2013, was a long time ago. He showed courage throughout. Just surviving and getting up and testifying showed a lot of courage.”
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested a 39-year-old Fairfax woman for allegedly running over a man in a Columbia Pike parking lot yesterday evening.
Alexandra Mendez was arrested at her home at 6:00 this morning, police have announced. She is charged with aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding, two counts of hit-and-run and driving on a suspended license. The 40-year-old victim, a Stafford resident, remains at George Washington University Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.
The man was lying on the ground when police and witnesses say Mendez drove her SUV over him, dragging him several feet before speeding off westbound on Columbia Pike. Mendez also allegedly rolled over another man’s foot in her Toyota Highlander, in the parking lot behind a car dealership and beauty salon on the 3600 block of Columbia Pike.
Mendez is being held at the Arlington County jail without bond. Police also recovered the SUV when making the arrest this morning.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has taken into custody and charged Alexandra Mendez, 39, of Fairfax, VA, following yesterday evening’s accident in the 3600 block of Columbia Pike. Mendez was denied bond and is currently being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility. She has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding, two counts of hit & run and driving on a suspended license.
On January 27, 2015, at approximately 4:44 p.m., the suspect struck a male victim with her vehicle in a parking lot, knocking him to the ground. Numerous witnesses attempted to prevent her from driving away from the scene as the victim lay on the ground in front of her Toyota Highlander. After ignoring their requests to stop, Mendez proceeded forward over top of the victim and fled the scene. She remained at large until officers took her into custody at her residence at 6:00 a.m. this morning.
Emergency personnel transported the victim, a 40 year-old Stafford, VA man, to GW Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he remains in critical condition.
The United States Marshal Service, Fairfax City Police Department and Fairfax County Police Department assisted Arlington County officers in taking the female suspect into custody this morning. The vehicle was recovered outside of the suspect’s residence.