(Updated on 9/12/14) A man suspected of a knifepoint robbery on Columbia Pike was taken into custody early this morning (Wednesday) after police say he evaded arrest and barricaded himself in his girlfriend’s apartment.
Rattana Mora Long, a 29-year-old Ashburn 26-year-old Sterling resident, was captured by SWAT team members and charged with assault on a police officer. Robbery charges are pending.
Arlington County Police say a man fitting Long’s description robbed a store on the 5000 block of Columbia Pike around 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Despite a search, police were not able to locate him after he fled.
“A subject brandished a knife and stole cash from a register in a store in Columbia Pike Plaza,” according to the police report. “The subject fled through a rear door.”
Last night, a plainclothes ACPD officer spotted Long near the original robbery scene. The officer called for backup, but Long resisted arrest, assaulted a police officer and fled the area, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Long was tracked to the 4500 block of Four Mile Run Drive, where he allegedly barricaded himself and hid in his girlfriend’s apartment. Police negotiators and the county’s SWAT team responded, closing part of Four Mile Run Drive in the process.
Witnesses tell ARLnow.com that police used a loudspeaker in an effort to get Long to answer the phone and lure him out of the apartment. When that didn’t work, shortly after 2:00 a.m., SWAT team members entered the apartment and were able to take him into custody without further incident, Sternbeck said.
Photos courtesy @annddayy and ACPD
Cpl. Albert Kim has been with ACPD for about 13 years. He’s part of the department’s Tactical Training Unit, which holds the dual purpose of serving as a member of the SWAT team and providing training to other officers.
Kim doesn’t consider himself a marathon runner, he considers himself a triathlete. He was recently selected to compete in the International Triathlon Union championships in London this fall. Occasionally, he participates in marathons because they’re a “lower stress” form of training for him. After having been a spectator at the Boston Marathon last year, this year he decided to run it.
Kim had finished the race before the bombings and was already back in Cambridge, where he was staying, and just about to sit down for dinner at a restaurant. The person he was supposed to dine with is a nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where nearly three dozen of the bombing victims were taken for treatment, and immediately was called back to the hospital. Kim said his instinct as a first responder was to do as his dinner partner had done, and head back into the city to assist. But he fought the urge and instead heeded the pleas of local law enforcement officials who asked residents and visitors alike to stay off the streets.
“Being a law enforcement officer, you want to help as much as you can. But at the same time, me not knowing the area, not being familiar with what needs to be done, I would be more of a hindrance,” said Kim. “The best thing I could do was stay out of everyone’s way, not go out, not see what’s going on at the scene, but follow directions. Everyone was being told to stay in place, to not leave their hotel rooms or congregate in groups.”
Like the others in the restaurant, Kim says he stared in disbelief at the scene playing out in front of him on the television.
“Everyone was glued to the television and the first thing I saw on the big screen was a replay of the explosion at the finish line. I was just watching the news and reading the updates. No one’s talking inside the place, everyone’s kind of staring at the television,” said Kim. “I was saddened by what I saw. It was a little bit of confusion too because I think initially everyone was speculating as to what had taken place. My first reaction is, who does something like that? What possess someone to do something like that on such a wonderful day with everyone watching? It’s very disheartening.”
The exercise is expected to involve officers using paintball guns and flash grenades. Residents in the area should expect some loud noises and the presence of numerous police vehicles.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s (ACPD) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team will be conducting a training exercise at 3963 N. 26th Street on Tuesday, October 23rd between 6:00 am – 3:00pm. The purpose of the training is to simulate real life situation and a coordinated response in your neighborhood.
There will be no live ammunition used in this exercise. However, realistic looking training weapons that shoot paint projectiles will be utilized. Noise flash diversionary devices may also be utilized during this exercise. These devices will make considerable noise but do not dispense any munitions. The noise may be upsetting to small children, pets or those with sensitive hearing. If someone in your household falls into one of those categories we ask you take precautions you believe are appropriate.
Numerous Police vehicles will be parked in the area. These vehicles will not block any driveways or the right of way on the road. Should a vehicle need to be relocated because it is blocking your access, please contact one of the on-scene control officers for assistance. The control officers can be identified by the bright yellow traffic control vests they will be wearing.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Realistic training is critical to enhancing our capabilities to serve and protect you to the best of our ability. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.
A newly-released video shows the Arlington County Police Department at work during a dramatized hostage situation.
The video, which is just under a minute long, shows ACPD officers negotiating with an armed man who took two people hostage. Then, after the hostages are released, the department’s SWAT team moves into take the fictional suspect into custody without incident.
ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the video is at least a year old and is used for recruitment purposes. It will be featured on an ACPD jobs website that’s expected to launch “shortly,” Sternbeck said.
Arlington Assists With Falls Church Barricade — The Arlington County Police Department’s SWAT team relieved the Fairfax County SWAT team overnight at the scene of a barricade situation on Hillwood Avenue in Falls Church. Despite efforts to coax him out, an armed man remains in a Hillwood Avenue house, in a standoff with police. Alexandria’s SWAT team is now relieving Arlington’s team, ARLnow.com is told. Paramedics from the Arlington County Fire Department are also on the scene. [WTOP]
Survey: More Residents Will Ride Streetcar — According to a survey cited by Arlington County officials, 60 percent of area residents say they will never take the bus, while 60 percent of residents say they’re willing to try a streetcar. In an ARLnow.com survey on Friday, just over 50 percent of respondents said they would prefer a streetcar on Columbia Pike, versus bus options. [Washington Post]
Citizen Seating at Bus Stops — A local resident has added plastic chairs to 10 bus stops along major thoroughfares in Arlington and Falls Church. The chairs demonstrate “a latent need for dignified seating at the region’s bus stops,” according to writer Matt Caywood. [Greater Greater Washington]
Leonsis on Kettler Iceplex — At the inaugural annual meeting of the new Ballston Business Improvement District, Washington Capitals owner and former top AOL executive Ted Leonsis said Ballston’s Kettler Capitals Iceplex is essential to the team. “I’m not sure if we [the Washington Capitals] would be able to keep MVP-caliber players, like [Alex] Ovechkin, without a facility like the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston,” Leonsis said.
About 25 police officers and SWAT team members invaded a quiet North Arlington neighborhood Thursday night for what was thought to be a barricade situation.
It started when a man who recently split with his girlfriend posted something to Facebook that made her think he might be suicidal, police said.
The man has a law enforcement background and owns numerous guns. When police were unable to reach the man on the phone, they began preparing for a possible standoff at his home, near Marymount University and Washington Golf and Country Club.
As residents returning from work drove by slowly to see what was going on, sharpshooters and SWAT team members in camouflage tactical gear began to gather at North 25th Road and Vermont Street to go over a plan for making entry into the house. An unmarked mobile command center was also brought in for the operation.
With the road closed and all personnel in place, police finally moved in toward the house. Once inside, they discovered the man was not there.