Armed Man Turns Out to Be Art Student

by ARLnow.com March 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm 3,702 51 Comments

Arlington County Police Department badgeThere was a tense moment for Arlington County Police today as officers confronted a man dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun near Rosslyn.

The incident happened just before noon on the 2100 block of N. Scott Street, in the North Highlands neighborhood. A resident called police, reporting a man dressed in camouflage in the woods of Dawson Terrace Park. The man was pointing a shotgun at something, the caller said.

Officers located the man, ordered him to drop the weapon and then took him into custody. Upon further questioning, officers determined that the man was an Art Institute student videotaping himself for a school project, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The man was informed that possessing a firearm is prohibited in county parks, then released without charges.

“He was not aware that he was in the wrong,” Sternbeck said. “No charges were filed. He just packed up his truck and left.”

  • BallstonMike

    When you make shotguns illegal, pretty soon only the artists will have shotguns. Or something like that

  • Ian L

    Bravo to the ACPD for not arresting him or filing charges. In today’s world of hyper-paranoia about gun violence, it is nice to see the authorities being rational for a change.

    • ARL

      Yeah, if he had been in first grade in a school with a gun made from a PopTart he’d be in jail right now.

    • Aaron L

      Except the cops lied to him, it is NOT prohibited to keep and bear arms in Virginia county owned/run parks. (If Arlington has an ordnance against it then it is an illegal one since Virginia has state preemption that prohibits localities from having stricter laws than what the state has. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+15.2-915 )

      THAT is why there were no charges, because he did nothing wrong.

      • N Glebe

        Depends on the type of shotgun, right? Doesn’t Virginia prohibit shotguns in Arlington parks if the shotgun can hold 7 rounds? http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-287.4

      • SomeGuy

        Genuinely curious: if this is true, why can I not carry a firearm (or a cell phone, for that matter) into the county courthouse?

      • Libertarian

        Darn right. Next time they should wait until he shoots someone. These cops all like to jump the gun, pardon the pun.

      • Old Fogey

        Thanks. It’s refreshing to have someone in these comments say something, and then back it up with a reference that’s easy to access.

  • im not afraid watching someone holding a gun but if he aims at me i will..

    • Waiting

      Will what? Don’t leave us in suspense! I’m dying to find out!

      • my guesses

        …run screaming like a terrified monkey?
        …go get some lunch at Pho 75?
        …read a good book?

        • FunnyGuy

          eat FroYo?

    • AuroraHighlands


  • Louise

    Did he not realize he would arouse suspicion? Sheesh.

    • novasteve

      Do you think the guys who run around nake realize they will arouse suspicion or the guy pleasuring himself at the gyms around here?

    • not suspicion

      when suspicion gets aroused, lookout.

      • ClarendonSkank

        Where can I meet up with this suspicion guy?

        • kalashnikev

          Gold’s Gym in Rosslyn after 7PM.

    • Trev

      Especially in North Arlington…

  • AL

    I’m guessing it wasn’t loaded. Otherwise they might not have let him off so easily.

  • SomeGuy

    “The carrying or discharge of any handgun, firearm…except as any of the above may be specifically allowed by law.”

    That language is a little ambiguous. I.e., suppose the state “specifically allows” me to carry a concealed weapon. Shouldn’t that trump the local law? Apparently not, but I could see how someone might misunderstand which regulations take precedence. I’d echo Ian’s positive sentiment about the ACPD not overreacting to an honest mistake.

    • David

      Yeah – I’m pretty sure you can “possess” a firearm in county parks. I don’t know about openly carrying a shotgun (although you can do so in Va., generally). Either way, this guy sounds a little stupid.

      • Let_Them_Eat_Cake

        At the end of the year, Arlnow needs to issue Darwin awards.

        • He didn’t die.

          • Let_Them_Eat_Cake

            Good point.

      • Marlington

        Also, according to the report he was brandishing not openly carrying and brandishing does not necessarily mean pointing at someone.

        • Marlington

          Correction: according to the report he MIGHT have been brandishing….

          • kalashnikev

            I don’t see any indication that he was brandishing.

  • Hiram

    ACPD knew that his punishment will start within the next four years when he starts looking for a job.

  • Really

    Save your rage for when you realize your art degree is worthless.

  • Hank

    It’s a good thing Kev and Steve weren’t there… they mighta shot him. For being a hippie. Not for brandishing a weapon.

  • Wayne Lapierre

    OK guys this is a sign the gun grabbers are coming…hurry! buy more guns!

  • Roo

    Think I saw him at Woodstock park last Saturday – looked to be filming an Indiana Jones movie – had a small (fake?) pistol – creeped everyone out

  • Guest

    Possessing firearms in county parks is NOT prohibited, sounds like ACPD needs to brush up on Virginia Gun Laws!

  • Firearms are not Prohibited in county parks, sounds like the ACPD need to familiarize themselves with Virginia Law. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+15.2-915

  • novasteve

    Well there was a shooting of 6 people in Herkimer, NY today for you guys to focus on while you ignore the daily shootings in Newark, Camden, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, DC, etc..

    • Wayne LaPierre

      Just remember…guns save lives…keep saying it over and and over until you rationalize it in your brain.

      • kalashnikev

        Guns do save lives… no need to say it more than once.

    • Let_Them_Eat_Cake

      I wonder what type of anti-psychotic or anti-depressant drug the shooter was on?

  • Legal

    I am pretty sure what he did was legal under Virginia law that preempt s any local ordinance.

    • Slither

      Except that is a Virginia law that prohibits it.

  • Rosslyn guy

    It seems odd to be arrested for doing something legal. I am not trying to make a joke out of it but something here is disconnected.

    • Formerly Oz

      He wasn’t arrested. He was detained until they could figure out what was going on. When ACPD learned he was an art student filming a project, they let him go. Taking someone into custody is not the same as placing someone under arrest.

      • kalashnikev

        Yes, but he could have said, “I’m just chillin’, bro.”

        He did nothing wrong.

  • Jesus Shuttlesworth

    I bet every cop in Northern Virginia came running like there was a buy one, get one sale at Krispy Kreme. Those cowboys savor every chance they get to ventilate someone.

    • Let_Them_Eat_Cake

      Until it comes time to save your a$$, right?

      • Jesus Shuttlesworth

        Please, if you saw how well these guys shoot, you wouldn’t trust them with a water pistol.

  • Biden told me to buy a shotgun

    So when will we all be able to see his work at the Artisphere?


    ACPD let him go because he wasnt a minority!! no guns in parks? let me get help from google maps so I can see where the regulations end


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