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UPDATED: Homeless Man Attacked in Cherrydale

by ARLnow.com April 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm 6,609 51 Comments

(Updated at 5:45 p.m. on 4/9/12) A man has been arrested after a bizarre, alleged attack on a homeless man in Cherrydale on Sunday.

Police originally received a call around 2:00 a.m. for a fight in progress in the 2000 block of N. Kenmore Street, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The victim, a homeless man who had been living in his car in the neighborhood for the past five years, said an adult Asian male had jumped on his car and started attacking him. During the struggle, the suspect — who was drunk — was able to get into the driver’s seat of the car and hit the victim with the vehicle, according to Sternbeck. The suspect then started to drive off but wrecked the car 100 feet away. Undeterred, the suspect ran back at the victim to continue assaulting him.

At that point, Sternbeck said, the victim pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed his attacker in the chest. The suspect ran off and, after arriving at the scene of the fight, police called in a helicopter to search for him. The suspect was not initially located by police but, later, a woman called police to report her boyfriend missing. The boyfriend matched the description of the suspect, and police were then able to locate the suspect in his residence, suffering from a serious chest wound, according to Sternbeck.

The suspect, identified by police as 24-year-old Andrew Lee of North Carolina, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. After an investigation, Lee was charged Monday with attempted malicious wounding and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He’s currently being held without bond at the Arlington County jail. The motive for the attack is unknown at this time, Sternbeck said.

The victim did not require transport to the hospital, according to Sternbeck.

Arlington County Police also issued the following crime report item about the incident:

On April 8 at 2 am, a homeless man was sleeping in his car when a drunk subject began jumping on his vehicle.  The victim attempted to drive away but the subject blocked the road.  The victim exited his vehicle and a physical altercation ensued, causing both men to fall into a roadside ditch.  The suspect was able to climb back to the road and attempted to flee the scene in the victims vehicle, striking him with the vehicle and crashing a short distance away. They began to fight once again and the victim pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed the suspect in his chest.  The suspect fled the scene on foot and was located at his residence a short time later.  He was transported to an area hospital for treatment.  The investigation is ongoing.

  • JD

    I wonder if this is the guy in a old mini-van. He parks at the end of my street fairly often. If it really was a “car” then we have two guys living in their cars in the neighborhood.

    • dirty biker

      You wouldn’t be talking about a re/maroon Astro Van with roof vents would you? That one parked for awhile right off Wilson. Never bothered anyone but was intercepted having a sponge-bath a bit too close to a school bus stop one morning (not in a lewd way, but still in a largely nekked dude way). Now I see him parked at the CVS on Lee & Spout Run (early in the am).

      • JD

        No, this one is “bluish” and parks on 15th between Quincy and Randolph. I think it is an old Chrysler but never really paid all that close attention.

    • It was a car, not a van.

    • Padraigin

      It is a car. See my detailed comment below.

  • Sikudhani

    If that homeless man weren’t living in the neighborhood, that (presumably) drunk man’s psychotic rage might have been directed towards someone’s fresh Spring landscaping!

    • Padraigin

      Yes, exactly. The victim took the brunt of the assailant’s rage that could easily have been applied to someone else — someone who could not defend themself.

  • nunya

    I heard those copters last night…first cursing them for waking me up…then thanking them for protecting n serving. Thanks ACPD.

    I’m glad the homeless man got his licks in.

    • Jason S.

      I don’t think those were ACPD helicopters.

  • courthound

    There was a guy living in his car near us several years ago. He would park his car on 14th Street. It was an older Plymouth sedan. He was an elderly hispanic gentleman. Never bothered anyone.

  • porkchop_milkshake

    I was wondering about the helicopter noise. That’d explain it.

  • Cherrydaler

    The story, as reported, doesn’t make any sense. (A guy from the neighborhood tries, at 2:00 am, to steal a homeless guy’s car – to go where?, wrecks it, then comes back to attack the homeless guy, who stabs the neighborhood guy, who then runs off and is reported missing). I would not be surprised to find out that the “suspect” actually was the victim who went out to find that the homeless guy had wrecked his own car, not to disparage folks living in cars. If it is true, it is really weird and sad.

    • Sikudhani

      Violent outbursts are supposed to make perfect sense to you?
      If the story didn’t involve a homeless man, would you raise such a vigilante justice theory (that attempts to justify the suspect in his offense), or would you simply accept it as some sort of carjacking gone wrong?

    • GWVet

      You’re right, it doesn’t make any sense, the violent outbursts of drunk people rarely do. Which is why it’s described as being bizarre. Do you honestly believe that ACPD relayed a completely inaccurate account of events? Not to mention you clearly didn’t do a diligent job of reading the article. It said the suspect struck the victim with the vehicle and then drove off (presumably to try and get away, not to steal the car), which he then crashed because he was drunk or whatever else at the time (presumably). Now, I’ve gone and made two assumptions there, but they’re rooted in the facts as reported, not in illogical speculation as you’ve done. If the suspect were the victim as you presume, why wouldn’t he have reported the incident or sought help? Why did the police instead find him bleeding out in his home? If he was in condition enough to get home, he certainly would’ve been in condition enough to seek help if he were the victim, but it would seem instead he would he was trying to avoid drawing attention to himself.

    • knowitall

      It may make sense if the suspect thought the car was his, and he thought the homeless man was trying to steal “his” car. How many folks out there have walked up to a car thinking it is theirs, and it wasn’t. Just a car that looks like theirs.

    • Padraigin

      You are way off! Read my post below. It reveals the facts. The Hispanic Marine was acting like he was crazy (on drugs) more than as though he were drunk.

  • Bard

    NovaSteve finally snapped, huh?

    • Louise

      HA HA HA HA! Well done, Bard.

  • Cherrydaler

    I’m sorry, Sikudhani and GWVet; didn’t mean to offend you. I didn’t espose a vigilante theory, just noted that the story, as reported, doesn’t make sense. There is nothing in the story stating that the suspect was drunk, just that he is presumed to have randomly attacked a homeless man at 2:00 am. If he was trying to get away in the homeless man’s car, why would he return and re-start the scuffle after he wrecked the car – why not just keep running away, since he lived in the neighborhood? The fact that the stabbed man went home after he was stabbed rather than wait around for the police to arrive (assuming that he knew they were coming) or try to contact help (don’t know if he had a cell phone) doesn’t seem all that strange to me. As far as I can tell, the only version that the police have is from the homeless victim; we haven’t heard the stabbed suspect’s version or anything as to his motive. I agree that we should not presume criminal intent on the part of the homeless man. Obviously, the police find it confusing, as no charges had been filed. It very well may be just as reported in the article, but, as I said (and I said nothing more): “If is is true, it is weird and sad.”

    • Josh S

      I’m not sure there was any offense.

      • Zoning Victim

        Haha – I’m certainly not a lawyer, but a man was attacked, a car was stolen, the car was wrecked, a man was attacked, again, and then a man was stabbed. I’m guessing there’s an offense in there somewhere.


          Josh S was referring to the offense the previous commenters might have inferred based on Cherrydaler’s initial comment. However, Josh does not agree with Stand Your Comment Section Ground comment defense laws enacted in several states, so it’s nice to see him interpret Cherrydaler’s actions in such a liberal way.

    • Southeast Jerome

      I’d definitely like to hear a follow-up on this to see whats going on…. very strange indeed.

    • GWVet

      No offense to me, and you’re right there is nothing in the story about his being intoxicated, that was an assumption made on my part. But, more often than not random acts of violence occurring at 2am involve at least one individual who is under the influence of some substance.

      Either way, I suppose logic shouldn’t be applied to an illogical situation. Why would he return the scuffle? Well, why would he attack someone at random in the the first place? You can’t assume that this person was acting rationally at all. So I suppose his returning home rather than seeking help shouldn’t be considered out of the realm of possibility either. That being said if I am truly the victim of a stabbing, I may go home (though not likely), but I’m at least going to contact somebody about it when I get there, not just sit there and bleed until the police track me down. That part raises a big red flag of suspicion for me, but then it is weird and said either way.

      • It’s not in the article, but police confirmed this morning that the suspect was intoxicated.

        • Cherrydaler

          Well, now the story is starting to make some sense (though it is still weird and sad). Any other updates to report? As of 11:00 a.m. today, Arlington Police have not issued either a press release or crime report on this event, so it seems they are still investigating.

  • CW

    Maybe the Pinkberry founder was out to check up on the Clarendon location?

  • pharma-assisted


  • R

    Without having all the facts and assuming that police have already made this determination, I am glad that the victim here was able to properly defend himself against further harm and use potentially deadly force against his attacker without the fear of being charged criminally. Had he not been able to do so, we could very easily be reading a story about a man living out of his car in Cherrydale being murdered over the weekend and I’m certainly glad that isn’t the case

    That part of the story aside, based on people’s comments that there are seemingly quite a few people living in their cars on the streets of Arlington, this made me think of several questions/comments regarding those situations.

    1) If you live in your car on an Arlington street, then your car would be garaged in Arlington County, so I hope that these people pay the appropriate tax if the vehicle value requires it and/or sticker fee as all vehicles in Arlington are required to have.

    2) Is the car properly registered and up to date with the DMV and all fees paid accordingly and have the inspection/emissions tests been done?

    3) Has the owner had the car properly insured or paid the required uninsured fee to the DMV?

    4) Does the owner have a valid drivers license? Which of course makes me wonder if you are homeless, what address are you using on your license? Is it a shelter address? If you no longer go to that shelter have you changed your license address with the DMV in the required 30 day time limit?

    All four of these have a direct impact on all the residents of Arlington Country, with the last 3 of them being directly related to public safety and well-being, and the first one being that these people could be freeloaders to the system while the rest of us pick up the tab (seems to get people fired up around here with all the out of state plate comments pertaining to property tax, so this is no different). All this said then, I would hope that the authorities properly enforce these laws on any of these people living in their vehicles.

    • Southeast Jerome

      I am going to hazard a guess for these:

    • red

      I think it’s extremely sad that the 4 questions you ask about “quite a few people living in their cars around Arlington” pertain to whether these unfortunate people have paid their taxes and fees in full.

      • R

        Why is it sad to contemplate whether these people obey the law? Laws are there for a reason, perhaps the most imporant of which is public safety and these issues I raised are a matter of public safety. And quite frankly, without knowing the circumstances of how they ended up living in their cars, I will withhold judgement as to whether they are “unfortunate people” or not. If they are a abused woman who had to flee a horrible domestic situation with or without children in tow…then yes, that is an “unfortunate” situation and we should do what we can to help them. If they are someone who could have been a perfectly fine functioning member of society, but instead chose to use drugs, drink, or just be lazy…well, sorry, but I have got pretty much zero sympathy for their plight and do not see them as “unfortunate people”. I’ve talked to several of the people on the street corners around Arlington before that were just not wanting to be a part of what “society” expected and didn’t want a job even thought they were mentally capable of holding one…they were LAZY and I don’t owe them anything.

        • Pete

          R: You’re welcome to your thoughts, but really, they are sad. And repugnant.

          Why? A person is viciously attacked, and your response is to contemplate at length how the victim MIGHT just be one of many “freeloaders” benefitting from YOUR tax dollars. Never mind a violent attack. You’re a victim here too, right?

          Seems like you think zero-tolerance county tax enforcement might be a good way to get rid of homeless people. Seems like getting rid of homeless people is what that drunk yuppie had on his mind when he attacked one.

          • Southie

            I don’t know, in reading R’s first comment it seems like he expressed that he was glad it didn’t become something worse than it was. I doubt he is pleased that this guy was attacked because he might not pay his taxes! The victim didn’t even need hospitalization, so turns out the suspect got the worst of it which is awesome and I’m happy he is ok. So some crazy drunk guy attacked the guy…pretty disturbing, but it doesn’t preclude R from contemplating a secondary circumstance. My thought in reading R’s questions he proposed were that it is a shame this guy lived in his car, but if he didn’t this attack on him wouldn’t have happened and maybe R had some points that enforcing the laws might get him off the street and inhibit him being a victim in such a brazen attack. But also come on, he had been living in his car for 5 years in this neighborhood! I actually do hope he paid his property taxes or whatever else since at five years he is a longer resident than plenty of others!

          • Sikudhani

            My problem with R’s honing in on the man’s homelessness is that it’s really of little consequence to the main issue; the drunk guy could just as easily have attacked someone who was stopped at a red light or was out for a walk, or he could have forced his way into someone’s home.

            I suppose if the victim were someone out for a late-night stroll, R would spend 1/4 of his post attempting to care before spending the other 3/4 questioning whether or not the man was in the wrong to be out for a walk at 2:00am?

          • Padraigin

            The victim DID INDEED need hospitalization! I know him personally. See my post below.

          • Cherrydaler

            “Yuppie”? Where did that come from?
            Pete, you seem to be naive, but maybe I’m wrong. In Arlington, there are, unfortunately, desparate folks who need help because they are unemployed (and can’t actually get a job), ill (mentally or otherwise), or recently cast out of their familial situations. Arlingtonians help them.
            However, there are a lot of folks in Arlington who would rather not work or who do not want to stay in County-provided facilities. Arlingtonians have tolerated these folks for a long time (I’ve only been here 33 years, but I hear it started to increase in the 1990’s as DC’s drug wars escalated).
            That, I think, is the genesis of R’s comments (if folks should pay taxes/fees, then they should pay), not the violent act that brought this situation to our attention.
            As to this situation: it seems that Arlington has it’s own “Stand Your Ground” rule – homeless man uses deadly force to defend his “home”, though here the “home” was wrecked and he’s defending himself on the street. No charges, no grand jury, no media frenzy (I won’t even mention their names).

      • Padraigin


    • Padraigin

      The answers to your four questions are YES, YES, YES, and YES. See my post below. As I wrote, I KNOW this “homeless” man personally.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Stop putting “homeless” in quotes! If he lives in his car, he’s homeless. Not saying there is anything wrong with it, but a fact is a fact.

        • Padraigin


          • The Market Will Bare All

            Please refer to the street where he “lives” as “mixed-income” going forward.

  • JD

    I have to assume that the guy in the van near me did pay at least fees 1 and 2. Otherwise I would expect him to move around a bit more. That said, next time I drive by I will check his windshield out of curiosity.

  • Just Me

    I do like that when people commit a violent act in Arlington they are held without bond.

    • Cherrydaler

      I agree and I like that if you defend yourself, wherever it may be, and even if it requires lethal force, in what the legal authorities recognize as an appropriate situation, you don’t get thrown into jail with the person who assaulted you or required to spend thousands of dollars to defend yourself (for simply defending yourself) against criminal charges as a result of the assault. Can you imagine the cost to this homeless man (or the public defender’s office) to defend against an attempted murder/voluntary manslaughter charge?

      • Padraigin

        I agree!

      • KalashniKEV

        Actually, we do not have Castle Doctrine or a Stand Your Ground law in VA. It’s a wild and crazy roll of the dice whether or not you’ll get charged… based on the whims of the on scene investigators and the CA.

  • Padraigin

    I personally know the “homeless” man involved, and he is a quiet law-abiding citizen. He has even been of help in the neighborhood where he parks his car, having called the police a few times when he saw obvious suspicious activity… I need to add that some of the facts in this report are not quite right. This 62 year old man WAS taken to the hospital in an ambulance at the police’s insistence. He suffered numerous skin lacerations on his body, from his face down to his legs, as well as internal and external bruising, including his ribs. His leg which was hit by his own car when the assailant ran it at him is still lacerated, bruised and quite swollen. He only pulled out the pocketknife when he became convinced by the assailant’s actions (who acted more crazy than “drunk” — he kept coming back at the victim) that his own life was in danger. He did not stab the assailant “in the chest” but in the ribs, the knife entering in about one inch…. In addition to the victim’s ongoing physical ailments from this, his car (“home”) is in need of extensive repair. Facts.

  • NotBuyingIt

    I’m just not buying this story. Somehow a quiet suburban neighborhood enjoys having a homeless man living in his car on their street? Are you inviting him in to babysit? And where are you getting your facts? I’d really like to know whether someone else actually saw this, or if there’s any actual evidence beyond what this homeless man says.
    And yes, he’s homeless. Living in a car, even a properly registered and insured car, make one homeless.

  • My sources tell me that the individual who was arrested is a Marine who was admittedly drunk after attending a birthday party for his girlfriend. I am told there are no fingerpints of his in the car. There is no doubt that he was stabbed. He is of Asian, not HIspanic, ancestry. It may well be that he was a victim, not an assailant. If there has been bias in handling this case, it may not be bias against the hometown homeless man, but against an Asian-American “outsider.”

  • James

    I don’t buy it. Sounds like a fanciful story on the part of the homeless man to avoid an attempted murder charge.


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