Two wrecks, two friends, two deaths, one block apart. One friend died, and the other is now facing jail time for manslaughter.
Friday morning, police say Aman Singh Lail drove drunk and slammed into another car at the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and eastbound Lee Highway in Rosslyn, killing the 24-year-old driver. Amazingly, ten months prior, his friend Sami Ullah died when, after driving 90 miles per hour across the Key Bridge, he lost control of his 2008 BMW M5 and crashed just before the intersection of Fort Myer Drive and westbound Lee Highway.
The grim coincidence is tied together by a photo Lail posted in May on his Instagram account. “The last time I saw my brother Sami,” he wrote. Also posted on Instagram: a photo of what appears to be the tricked-out Jeep involved in the wreck.
Police have released few details about this morning’s accident, only saying that it occurred just after 2:00 a.m. when Lail’s Jeep Wrangler, which was traveling eastbound on Lee Highway, collided with Saqlain Chowhury’s Chrysler Crossfire at the Fort Myer Drive intersection. So far police are not saying how fast the vehicles were traveling, which had the green light at the intersection and whether Chowhury was wearing a seat belt.
Lail, a 24-year-old Baltimore resident, is now charged with DUI Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter, a felony punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison. Given Lail’s prior driving record, he might see the upper end of that range.
As pointed out in the comments section of our initial article, Lail has faced nearly three dozen vehicle-related charges since 2008, and that’s just in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties alone. Among them:
- One for disregarding traffic lights in Fairfax County on Aug. 16, 2009
- One for Driving While Intoxicated in Arlington on Nov. 7, 2009, which was later amended to a charge of reckless driving
- Nine speeding violations, including one for going 97 in a 55 in Fairfax on Jan. 7, 2012
- One DWI conviction in Fairfax County, on Feb. 5, 2012
Lail is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
Update at 2:15 p.m. on October 17 – Because Congress came to an agreement last night that re-opened the government, both the Army Ten-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon will proceed as originally planned.
The 10-Miler, which is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 20, starts and finishes near the Pentagon in Arlington. Originally slated to cross the Memorial Bridge into D.C., the course has been altered so that the race will cover more distance in Arlington, thus avoiding National Park Service territory impacted by the shutdown.
Runners will now double back on Route 110, heading southbound before crossing the 14th Street HOV bridge into D.C., according Lt. Dave Green, of the Arlington County Police Department Special Operations Section, which coordinates road closures for large events.
Shaunteh Kelly, media relations coordinator for the race, could not immediately confirm the route changes when reached by ARLnow.com.
The situation is more dire for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 27. The race may be postponed or canceled if Congress doesn’t act to reopen the government by the end of the week, we’re told exclusively.
“I don’t want to put people in panic mode, but if as of Friday evening the government is still closed, it’s probably not going to happen,” Lt. Green said of the race.
Green said police agencies are still “plowing ahead” on the assumption that the government shutdown will be lifted in time.
“As of right now all participating jurisdictions are moving forward as if it is going to take place,” he said.
Tami Faram, spokeswoman for the marathon, said that organizers were still planning for the race to go on. As reported by Runner’s World, Marine Corps Marathon staff is paid with non-appropriated funds, and thus not subject to furloughs.
“From our standpoint… we’re continuing to plan for Sunday, October 27,” said Faram.
“We’re waiting with everyone else,” she said of the shutdown. “We just don’t have a crystal ball.”
Faram would not confirm whether a cancellation or postponement is possible should the government remain shut down. She did note, however, that 60 percent of the race is run on National Park Service property.
According to Green, too much of the 26.2 mile race is on federal property to make changes in the route feasible. That includes the marathon’s iconic finish, at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn.
The marathon has never been canceled in its 37 year history. The race was run last year despite Hurricane Sandy barreling down on the East Coast. The storm hit Washington after the race finished.
Update at 8:55 p.m. — The Marine Corps Marathon released a statement tonight via Facebook.
Since the government shutdown occurred, the Marine Corps Marathon continues its coordination with hopes of a conclusion in time to host the event without impact. Without a resolution to the government shutdown this week, the MCM as planned is in jeopardy of being cancelled.
While still considering and exploring all possible options, the MCM has targeted this Saturday, October 19 as the date to officially notify runners of the status of the event. It is sincerely the hope of everyone associated with the organization of this event that MCM participants can run as planned.
Flickr photo (bottom) by Wolfkann
The man was in a rental car with his wife and kids when he drove northbound onto the trail at Columbia Pike, according to Arlington police spokesman Lt. Mike Watson. After receiving numerous calls from trail users, a police officer on a motorcycle caught up with the vehicle, a Chrysler 300 sedan, in Glencarlyn Park.
According to Watson, the man claimed that a GPS navigation system on his phone directed him to use the trail. The Florida resident was issued a court summons for reckless driving and was escorted off the trail and back onto local roads, Watson told ARLnow.com.
While trying to catch up with the errant driver, police officers marveled at the fact that he didn’t realize he was driving on a bike trail.
“He must think it’s the world’s smallest two-lane highway,” one said on a police radio channel. No one was hurt during the incident.
Also last month, gates were installed on the Capital Crescent Trail in Northwest D.C. to prevent drivers from mistaking it for a road. No such gate was in place where the man entered the W&OD trail yesterday.
Photo via Google Maps
In April, the Arlington County Board quietly approved a site plan amendment for the vacant National Gateway building at 3500 and 3550 S. Clark Street, along Jefferson Davis Highway near Potomac Yard. The amendment was granted to allow the office building to be used for educational purposes.
Specifically, the building was to be occupied by a new 1,300-student law school, complete with 22 classrooms, a law library, a bookstore, a moot courtroom and a cafe.
Since April, however, no construction permits have been issued for the building. InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium of independent law schools that was planning to open the new school, now says that plans have fallen through, at least for now.
“The InfiLaw System was exploring opening a law school in Arlington, Virginia,” confirmed Kathy Heldman, the organization’s vice president of marketing, via email last night. “We have decided to put the initiative on hold.”
No word yet on whether InfiLaw might revive the law school plans at some point in the near future. The decision is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is reeling from the National Science Foundation’s decision to move to Alexandria and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s expected decision to move to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.
Photo via nationalgatewayarlington.com
The incident happened at the cemetery’s parking lot around 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half before President Obama was scheduled to lay a wreath at the cemetery.
According to a spokeswoman for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH), which has jurisdiction over the incident, a cemetery visitor returned to his car in the parking garage after visiting the gravesite of a friend. The man reportedly opened the door to his vehicle and tried moving a handgun from under the seat.
The privately-owned gun fell out of its holster and underneath the vehicle, however, and fired once as the man attempted to retrieve it. The discharged bullet hit the leg of a vehicle passenger — the man’s mother — who then had to be transported to George Washington University Hospital with a non-life threatening injury. Nobody else was injured.
Visitors are prohibited from bringing a gun to the cemetery, according to JBMHH spokeswoman Sharon Walker.
“Weapons of any type are not authorized on military installations or reservations such as [Arlington National Cemetery],” said Walker. “Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Police and Arlington National Cemetery security personnel responded to the call.”
The Ft. Myer Fire Department and the Arlington County Fire Department also responded to the incident.
The owner of the gun was an active duty military service member, according to JBMHH spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba, and the charges are pending under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to Walker.
Photo via Google Maps
Update — Krusinski was acquitted by an Arlington County jury on Nov. 13, 2013.
FIRST REPORTED BY ARLNOW.COM: The chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch of the U.S. Air Force was arrested and charged with sexual battery in Arlington over the weekend.
Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski is accused of fondling a woman in a Crystal City parking lot early Sunday morning.
“A drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks,” according to a Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police.”
“Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with sexual battery,” police said. “He was held on a $5,000 unsecured bond.”
An Air Force spokeswoman confirmed Krusinski’s rank, job title and the fact that he works at the Pentagon to ARLnow.com, but had no further comment.
The victim did not know Krusinski, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Police were unable to say how Krusinski sustained cuts on his face that appeared in his booking photo. He did not require medical treatment.
Update at 5:05 p.m. — Lt. Col. Krusinski has been removed from his position pending an investigation, NBC News reports.
One county employee was fired and three others were disciplined after financial irregularities were discovered at Arlington’s Senior Adult Travel Program, but no criminal charges were brought after a months-long investigation that one source says was “botched.”
The investigation started in fall 2011, after four improperly-opened bank accounts were discovered, but only came to light this month after one of disciplined employees appealed her punishment at a public Civil Service Commission hearing, which was attended by ARLnow.com.
The four accounts were opened, unbeknownst to county officials, at an Arlington PNC Bank branch in 2010. They were opened by an Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) employee who coordinated the Senior Adult Travel program, we’re told by a source with knowledge of the investigation.
The county-run senior travel program organizes dozens of trips per year for Arlington residents over the age of 55. The activities range from day trips to cultural performance, casinos and historic sites — on a new county-owned bus — to overnight trips to Europe and elsewhere. The program has two employees, an annual budget of $134,046 and recorded 2,738 trip reservations in Fiscal Year 2012, according to DPR Director Jane Rudolph.
The four accounts were used to deposit fees paid by travelers and to pay for senior travel program expenses, but were outside of the county’s direct control. By personally opening and controlling the account, the employee (who has not been officially identified) was able to conduct transactions — like paying for meals and other expenses on the trips — without the restrictions and hassle of the county’s internal financial controls.
“It was well-meaning employees who thought they were enhancing the experience of seniors,” Arlington County Director of Human Resources Marcy Foster told ARLnow.com. “They were delivering quick and efficient services, and they thought that was the way to do it.”
But operating the accounts, and cashing checks written out to Arlington County in accounts not controlled by the county, was a serious violation of county policy. After one of the accounts was discovered by an audit in late 2010, DPR management and budget analyst Celia Wong-Walsh was directed by then-DPR Director Dinesh Tiwari to close it.
For nearly a year, however, the account remained open. Wong-Walsh, the employee who appealed her punishment this month, told the Civil Service Commission that she could not force the bank to close the rogue account. She says the bank told her that the account could only be closed by the employee that opened it.
Wong-Walsh, who has since retired, had some of her unpaid leave stripped for failing to proactively work with the employee to close the account. She appealed the punishment, saying she did not have the legal authority to close the account and didn’t even know that more than one rogue account had been opened.
(The commission upheld the county’s disciplinary action but reduced the amount of leave that was taken away.)
The accounts were finally closed in September 2011, after the Arlington County Treasurer’s Office discovered them independently. The discovery was made when a $200 check written from one of the accounts bounced in August 2011, and the woman who it was written to contacted the treasurer.
A police investigation followed, but no criminal wrongdoing was found.
“We didn’t find any money missing,” said Foster. “There was no criminal activity.”
That point was disputed by a source with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke to ARLnow.com on the condition of anonymity. The source said up to $17,000 might have been missing from the accounts, but any solid evidence of that was lost because it took too long to investigate.
“The case was so screwed up that they couldn’t prosecute,” the source said.
(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A 60-year-old male real estate agent has been accused of stealing women’s clothing from a house that’s for sale in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Va. The alleged incident was caught on the homeowner’s video surveillance system.
Stephen Brumme, of Silver Spring, Md., was arrested and charged with burglary and possession of burglarious tools after a homeowner on the 4100 block of 11th Street N. approached police with the video. The homeowner — we’ll call him William (not his real name) — spoke exclusively to ARLnow.com last month on the condition of anonymity.
According to William, the incident took place on Saturday, Feb. 9, while he and his wife were out of town, participating at an out-of-state athletic competition.
Brumme entered the house legally and signed in as a real estate agent, in advance of a client showing up to tour the home, but is seen on a surveillance camera going through what William said is his wife’s clothing, in a bedroom closet and a dresser. According to William, Brumme pocketed three of his wife’s shirts before the client showed up and Brumme is seen leaving the bedroom to answer the door.
William said he and his wife were “creeped out” by the video when they watched it.
“Our reaction was a feeling of being violated by a creep who wanted to go through our things,” he said. “I like to think that people are good, but often times they’re not.”
The video was recorded using a Dropcam, a camera that transmits and records video online via Wi-fi. William said the camera was in plain sight in the bedroom. He said the video also assisted him after he found a razor blade in his garbage disposal following some showings by other real estate agents.
Brumme was released on bail following his arrest. Police say his real estate license was “immediately suspended.” Cops are now asking other home sellers to come forward if they believe they might have been burglarized.
“His behavior leads us to believe there are additional victims,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “He went straight to the closet and the drawers. He knew exactly what he was looking for.”
Amy homeowner who believes they might also have been a burglary victim is encouraged to contact ACPD at (703) 558-2222, or Det. Timothy Parsons at (703) 228-4172 or email@example.com.
Video and mugshot courtesy ACPD. Note: Sound might not be synced with video.
Clarence Stukes, the Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations at Arlington Public Schools, is retiring at the end of January, an APS spokesman confirmed Monday evening.
Stukes has announced his retirement and his last day at the school system will be at some point later this month, APS spokesman Frank Bellavia told ARLnow.com. Bellavia said he did not know whether Stukes was taking a job with another school system.
As the top administrator in the Department of Facilities and Operations, Stukes is responsible for overseeing facilities planning, capital improvement programs, aquatics, building and grounds maintenance, custodial services, energy management, and transportation. In August, Stukes was caught up in a wave of parent anger over changes to enforcement of the school system’s busing policy.
Stukes defended the busing policy, but also pointed out that this was the first time in his tenure that the school system did not add buses to make up for growth in enrollment.
Stukes joins a long list of principals and senior administrators who have left Arlington Public Schools since 2010. While the departures have concerned some school watchers, APS officials attribute the phenomenon to the fact that a “senior corps” of school staffers have been approaching retirement.
“It is something we have been watching for a number of years now,” APS spokeswoman Linda Erdos said in September.
After he leaves, Stukes will likely be replaced with an interim Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Operations while APS advertises to full the position on a permanent basis, Bellavia said.
By law, restaurants collect a 4 percent food and beverage (“meals”) tax in Arlington on top of the 5 percent state sales tax. The meals tax is then to be remitted to the county. But some restaurants — especially restaurants experiencing financial difficulties — simply pocket the money and accrue a debt to the county.
Frustrated by weak enforcement measures, O’Leary is seeking the power to seize and shut down restaurants that continue to accrue large meals tax debts, with no end to the delinquency in sight.
“What we would like to do is get the power to close down restaurants that are going deeper and deeper into debt,” he told ARLnow.com. “What they’re doing is essentially criminal. You can’t charge people tax on their meals and keep it for yourself, no matter how pressing your problems are. That money belongs to the county.”
O’Leary said he has been meeting with members of Arlington’s delegation to Richmond and is hoping to get a law passed in the state legislature’s upcoming session.
The effort is an uphill battle, however; the Republican majority in the state legislature has been reluctant to pass tax-related bills, especially those sought by Arlington County. O’Leary says he plans to argue that the measure could benefit the state’s coffers. He says restaurants that aren’t paying their meals taxes might be skimping on their state sales taxes, too.
Part of the challenge of enforcing the meals tax is the nature of the restaurant business itself. The county can seize property from tax cheats, but restaurants often operate in rented spaces with rented furniture and rented kitchen equipment.
“There’s very little to actually confiscate,” O’Leary said.
Restaurant owners are also able to keep the tax man at bay by offloading their personal property to others. His proverbial white whale, chef and restaurateur Roberto Donna, managed to get away with pocketing some $140,000 in meals taxes — for awhile, at least — in part because most of his personal property, like his McLean mansion, was in his wife’s name. O’Leary took the extraordinary step of having Donna prosecuted, but he avoided jail time and is now paying off his debt at a rate of a mere $500 per month.
O’Leary said he even considered having Donna extradited back to Italy, but decided he’d rather have the famous chef make his paltry debt payments than no payments at all.
Should O’Leary get his way, sheriff’s deputies would be dispatched to a severely delinquent restaurant to post closure notices on the doors and change the locks, so restaurant owners aren’t able to remove any property.
“Nothing else seems to work,” he said. “What we really need to do is stop them from operating. That’s the only thing I can think of to solve the problem.”
Even if his lobbying efforts prove unsuccessful, though, O’Leary has another trick up his sleeve: public shaming.
This month, the treasurer’s office is sending a mailing to tax delinquent restaurants, warning the owners that their tax delinquencies will be publicized in the media and on the county’s web site should they not agree to a repayment plan. Should any restaurants continue to flout the tax laws, O’Leary says he hopes Arlington residents will take note and do as he does: not dine there.
The long-awaited process of demolishing the Navy Annex and its surrounding parking lots is scheduled to begin within the next month or two, officials tell ARLnow.com.
The 1 million square foot military office complex, first built in 1941 and located on the eastern end of Columbia Pike, will be torn down to make way for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. The entire 42-acre Navy Annex site, which includes a large surface parking lot on the other side of Columbia Pike, will be turned into a grass field in advance of an official transfer from the Department of the Army to Arlington National Cemetery in late 2013.
Demolition on the eastern wing of the Navy Annex is scheduled to start in November or December. The process will include abatement of asbestos and other hazardous materials. Demolition, site grading and seeding is expected to be complete by August 2013.
Columbia Pike should only experience “minimal” traffic impacts from the project; Southgate Road, which runs parallel to the Pike on the other side of the Navy Annex, is expected to see the majority of traffic disruptions.
The Navy Annex site is not expected to be used for burials for at least a couple of years. First, Arlington County and the federal government must come to a land swap agreement. The entities are still working on a deal to swap the county’s 4.23 acre Southgate Road right of way, and perhaps some other land, in exchange for a portion of the Navy Annex site.
The most recent land swap agreement — which has since fallen through, according to Arlington County federal liaison Brian Stout — called for construction of an Arlington County heritage museum on the site. At least a portion of the proposed museum would be used to commemorate the Civil War-era Freedman’s Village, which was once located on the site.
The county is also working with the federal government and VDOT to reach an agreement for a realignment of Columbia Pike. Currently, the Pike curves around the Air Force Memorial — located adjacent to the Navy Annex — and toward the cemetery before the intersection with S. Joyce Street.
Stout says the county is proposing that the Pike be straightened and run through the current Navy Annex parking lot, before making an L-shaped intersection with Joyce Street. That would make for an easier drive up the Pike and would make for a contiguous burial area that’s not divided by the busy road. The project has been discussed but so far no engineering plans are in place, Stout said.
Another point of discussion deals with parking for the Air Force Memorial. Stout said the current demolition plan seems to call for the demolition of a portion of the parking lot used by memorial visitors. If that’s removed, visitors may need to park on Southgate Road.
Takis Karantonis, Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, says the demolition presents an opportunity to improve the “eastern gateway” to the Pike. He said CPRO would like to see up to five stories of mixed use development along the Columbia Pike frontage of the tiny Foxcroft Heights neighborhood, located between the Navy Annex and the Sheraton National hotel.
“This is not the sightliest of places,” he said of the aging military building and the parking lots that line that section of the Pike. “Getting this redeveloped… is for us a welcome development. We think that the neighborhood will develop very nicely with that.”
Most of Foxcroft Heights is slated to remain single family homes under the recently-approved Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan.
A neighborhood information meeting about the demolition process is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Galaxy Room of the Sheraton National (900 S. Orme Street).
Police responded to the store, in the Pentagon City mall, around 5:45 p.m. after getting a call from Macy’s about two female shoplifters who were taken into custody by security officers. The women were accused of collectively trying to steal more than $600 worth of clothing.
When police arrived, both suspects claimed to have diplomatic immunity, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. After checking with the State Department, it was determined that one suspect, a 35-year-old woman, was indeed a diplomat from Jordan and had diplomatic immunity. She was released on a court summons, accused of trying to steal $205 worth of merchandise.
Sternbeck declined to release the name of the woman. The embassy of Jordan was contacted about the incident, he said.
The second suspect, identified as 48-year-old Entaser Alsmady, did not have diplomatic immunity and was charged with grand larceny, according to Sternbeck. Alsmady is accused of trying to steal $427 worth of merchandise. She is currently being held in the Arlington County jail, Sternbeck said.
Alleged crimes by individuals with diplomatic immunity are not unheard of in Arlington. Sternbeck said he could recall at least one other diplomat accused of a crime in the past year.
Around lunchtime on Friday, Aug. 24, five Arlington County police officers, including three undercover officers in plainclothes, were assigned to enforce mobile vending regulations along the county’s Metro corridors. By the time lunchgoers had returned to their offices, police had issued seven court summonses to four different food trucks for a variety of violations.
The operation was one of two such coordinated enforcement actions against food trucks this summer — operations that have become necessary due to repeated violations, according to police.
As the number of food trucks in Arlington continues to rise, complaints against improperly licensed or illegally parked food trucks have risen — with many of those complaints coming from the brick and mortar restaurants that compete with food trucks for customers. In response, Arlington County Police say they came up with a plan of action earlier this year that included a vendor education campaign.
“[Police] determined that based on the number of complaints, we needed to at least assess the situation,” Arlington County Police second district commander Capt. Andy Penn told ARLnow.com. “We looked to see what was going on and noted that there were some violations were occurring. [We] then got together and decided that the best approach is going to be an educational campaign, certainly in the beginning, just trying to make sure people are informed and seek compliance.”
Penn said police met with vendors, inspected vending licenses, and handed out a small booklet listing relevant county ordinances. They also distributed a one-page handout of the most commonly-violated mobile food vending rules, including requirements for each vendor and employee to be licensed and — the perhaps most controversial rule — that food trucks can only remain parked in one spot for 60 minutes at a time. Finally, officers issued warnings when vendors were not in compliance, Penn said.
With the warnings distributed and the violations continuing, police began enforcement, issuing summonses that require the vendors to appear in court, in person, and pay a fine.
“The goal was not to give anybody a summons until they’ve been warned at least one time, if not more,” Penn said. “To my knowledge, the people charged have been previously warned.”
On July 25, a coordinated “district team” of officers observed how long food trucks were parked in various areas and issued summonses to three vendors, all for parking more than 60 minutes, Penn said. On Aug. 24, five officers — including two uniformed officers and three plainclothes officers — issued seven summonses to four different vendors.
The plainclothes officers were only detailed to the district team on Aug. 24 for a “limited amount of time,” Penn noted, and were in plainclothes “for a different issue.”
“The initial intent for the plainclothes had nothing to do with vendors,” he said. “They just happened to be in plainclothes that day.”
Food truck operators, meanwhile, have been voicing their discontent, calling the rules — in place since 2010 — “unfair,” and suggesting the fines and required court appearances are heavy-handed.
“Law enforcement has stepped up efforts in major areas like Crystal Drive, N. Lynn Street and N, Stuart Street in Ballston to enforce the rule,” Bada Bing food truck owner Nicholas Terzella told ARLnow.com via email on Aug. 24. “Police have been staking trucks out. When I was parked in Crystal City a few weeks ago, an Arlington County police officer sat across from Chic fil A for over an hour. In this time, multiple cars pulled up to 2200 Crystal Drive and double parked (this happens daily). None of these cars are EVER ticketed. The officer sat there for 1.5 hours and ticketed us.”
“This is the first time in my 2 years of business that I have ever received a ticket,” he continued. “I admit, parking in those particular locations is AWFUL!! That’s why we can’t just leave after the 60 minutes and just grab another spot. This rule ends our lunch service early and makes staying in Arlington impossible. We have to change it now or Arlington will soon be a food truck wasteland.”
(Updated at 10:00 p.m.) The suspect in a shooting at the Family Research Council in D.C. might have parked at the East Falls Church Metro station, ARLnow.com has learned.
FBI agents and Metro Police officers blocked off part of the parking lot at the East Falls Church Metro station with crime tape this afternoon. When we photographed the scene, investigators were still in the process of obtaining a warrant to search a car in the parking lot that they believe belongs to the shooting suspect, according to FBI Washington Field Office spokeswoman Rebecca Callahan. Later, news footage showed a silver Dodge Neon being searched and photographed.
The shooting happened around 10:45 this morning at the Family Research Council building at 801 G Street NW, in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood. A guard was shot in the arm while confronting a gunman in the building’s lobby, according to various news reports. The gunman was arrested, placed in FBI custody, and charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
In a statement, the FBI has identified the suspect as Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, of Herndon, Va.
The Family Research Council is a conservative Christian lobbying organization that opposes gay rights, abortion, pornography and stem cell research.
Photos by Katie Pyzyk
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A group of bystanders helped out a Metro rider last night (Tuesday) by tracking down and detaining three men who allegedly tried stealing a woman’s cell phone.
Springfield resident Jonathan Jackson says he was riding the Blue Line home around 7:00 p.m., when he noticed a man acting suspiciously. When the doors opened at Arlington Cemetery, the situation grew weirder.
“All of a sudden we saw this guy weaving in and out of the train cars,” Jackson said. “He ran into our car and then ran into the next car down.”
Just as the chimes were ringing for the doors to close, Jackson says a woman ran out of the train yelling that the man had stolen her phone. That’s when Jackson ran off the train and onto the platform trying to find the accused thief. He saw that farther down the platform, several people had tackled the man.
“At that point, I thought the best thing I can do is call the cops,” said Jackson.
Jackson called 911 while others detained the alleged thief.
“It really was a team effort, but nobody even knew each other,” said Jackson.
Jackson says for a while, two other men, who appeared to be the alleged thief’s friends, tried freeing him while he was being held on the ground. After a few minutes, however, they took off. Jackson believes bystanders followed the friends and pointed them out to police, because they were detained along with the accused thief.
Metro Transit Police were the arresting officers, and they were assisted by Arlington County Police. According to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel, the accused thief is 17 -years-old, and has been charged with robbery. Police talked to the other two people who were detained because they matched witness descriptions, but both were released.
“We’ve had a few snatch robbery events this year where witnesses or victims chased after the criminal,” Stessel said. “But it’s not something we encourage because of the potential of injury. It’s always best to let the property go. This one has a happy ending, we’re certainly happy for that.”
Jackson believes the train driver must have seen what was going on, because he kept the doors open while bystanders ran down the platform to catch the alleged thief. The train reportedly ended up holding at the station for about 10 minutes, until police arrived and were able to make arrests.
Although he has heard of people having their electronic devices stolen on the Metro, Jackson said it was far different to witness it. While he obviously can’t say for certain, he said it didn’t seem like this was a one time incident.
“It seemed like it was pretty well coordinated,” Jackson said. “But they just didn’t anticipate a group of people stepping in.”
There are no reports of injuries from the incident.