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WSJ: Amazon HQ2 Announcement ‘Imminent’

(Updated at 9:45 p.m.) Amazon will be announcing its “HQ2” plans as soon as Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday night.

The paper says New York City and Crystal City will be chosen. Per the WSJ:

Amazon is dividing the second headquarters evenly between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington County’s Crystal City neighborhoods, which are both located directly across from the major city centers… Amazon executives concluded it could recruit more of the best tech talent if it spread the office over two locations. And by halving the size, Amazon would help ease potential issues with housing, transit and other areas where adding tens of thousands of workers could cause problems.

Citing anonymous sources, the New York Times, NPR and others have also previously reported that Crystal City will be one of two destinations for Amazon, as the company splits HQ2 between two cities.

Thus far no Amazon-related press conferences have been scheduled in Arlington.

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Freeze Warning Issued for Arlington

Arlington, D.C. and other points east will be under a Freeze Warning Saturday and Sunday.

The National Weather Service says a mass of cold air will bring freezing temperatures to the area, potentially damaging or killing sensitive plants.

More from NWS:

…FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM SATURDAY TO 9 AM EST SUNDAY… THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A FREEZE WARNING, WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM SATURDAY TO 9 AM EST SUNDAY. * TEMPERATURES…THE UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S. * IMPACTS…FREEZING TEMPERATURES WILL LIKELY DAMAGE OR KILL SENSITIVE VEGETATION. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A FREEZE WARNING MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE IMMINENT OR HIGHLY LIKELY. THESE CONDITIONS WILL KILL CROPS AND OTHER SENSITIVE VEGETATION. &&

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Ballston Shake Shack to Open This Weekend

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 2018, the new Ballston Shake Shack will open its doors.

The company says it’s planning to open its new location at Ballston Exchange (4201 Wilson Blvd) at 11 a.m. on Sunday, which only coincidentally coincides with the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.

Shake Shack is donating proceeds from its soft opening and a portion of sales of one of its desserts to Arlington’s Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the company said in a press release. A t-shirt giveaway will also be held on opening day.

More from the press release:

Spreading the Shack love! Shake Shack® is thrilled to announce it will open the doors to a new location in the heart of Ballston on Sunday, November 11th at 11 a.m. The Shack will be located at 4201 Wilson Blvd Suite 0180, Arlington, Virginia 22203 in the prominent Ballston Exchange development.

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and griddled flat-top dogs (no hormones or antibiotics – ever), fresh-made frozen custard, crispy crinkle cut fries and more. A fun and lively community gathering place with widespread appeal, Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following around the world.

In addition to the classics, the Ballston Shack will be spinning up a unique selection of frozen custard concretes:

  • Pie Oh My: Vanillas custard with a slice of Livin’ the Pie Life seasonal pie
  • Short & Sweet: Vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, banana and shortbread cookie
  • Shack Attack: Chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles

Guests can wash their burgers down with local brews from Port City Brewing Company and DC Brau, plus Shake Shack’s exclusive Brooklyn Brewery ShackMeister® Ale. Wine lovers can enjoy a glass of Shack RedTM and Shack WhiteTM wine from the Gotham Project.

As part of Shake Shack’s mission to Stand For Something Good®, The Ballston Shack will donate all proceeds from soft opening, as well 5% of sales from the Pie Oh My concrete throughout the life of the shack to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes.

The 2,803 square-foot Shack will feature an outdoor covered patio and ample seating for guests. In keeping with Shake Shack’s commitment to green architecture and eco-friendly construction, the Ballston Shack’s tabletops will be made by CounterEvolution using reclaimed bowling alley lanes; chairs will be designed by Uhuru using sustainable materials; and booths will be crafted by Staach using lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Snag some swag! The first 100 people in line when doors open at 11AM will receive a custom T-shirt — on us!

Shake Shack is now hiring full-time and part-time team members – no previous experience required! Apply online at ShackCareers.com

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Morning Notes

WWI Commemoration Sunday — “At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended with the signing of the armistice. One hundred years later, we are gathering to commemorate the end of the Great War with a ceremony at the Clarendon War Memorial to mark the hour and day the armistice was signed.” [Arlington County, Arlington County]

County Board Election Map — In Tuesday Arlington County Board election, John Vihstadt captured most of the precincts in residential North Arlington, as well as few in South Arlington — including Aurora Hills and Fairlington — but Matt de Ferranti won by capturing the precincts along the Metro corridors and around Columbia Pike. [Blue Virginia]

De Ferranti Says Economic Development is Top Priority — “My top priority will be to work on bringing down the office-vacancy rate so that we can afford to invest in our schools and Arlington’s future,” de Ferranti told the Sun Gazette. “The other priorities – housing affordability, renewable energy and child hunger – will also be areas I will work on, but the majority of my time preparing to serve will be thinking about how we can grow and attract businesses to help us grow and afford the investments we need for our future.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Spots Make ’50 Best Restaurants’ List — Half a dozen Arlington establishments made Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2018. They are: Ambar, Green Pig Bistro, Nam-Viet, Peter Chang, Ray’s the Steaks and SER. None, however, cracked the top 10. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Arlington Ranks No. 2 on ‘Hardest Working’ List — Arlington is the No. 2 hardest-working “city” in America, second only to the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, according to a new study. Arlington residents spend an average of 41.8 hours per week working and another 4.9 hours commuting, with 16.3 percent of the population leaving work before 7 a.m., the study found. [Haven Life]

ACPD Participates in Alzheimer’s Awareness — “Each year, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) encounters memory-impaired individuals, including regular contact with those enrolled in the Project Lifesaver program… Recognizing the importance of education and awareness about this disease for both officers and the community, ACPD is joining the many landmarks, cities and agencies who are members of Project Lifesaver around the globe taking part in Light the World Teal Day by wearing teal ribbons on their uniforms on November 8.” [Arlington County]

Demonstration at Courthouse Plaza — Activists planned a demonstration at 5 p.m. last night in Courthouse Plaza “in support of protecting the Mueller investigation” [Twitter, Twitter]

HQ2 in Crystal City Would Benefit Tysons, Too — The Tysons area is expected to see increased demand for housing and commercial real estate should Amazon open a large new office complex in Crystal City.  “I think Tysons will reap the benefits without having to suffer from the traffic issues that may come as a result,” said one university professor. [Tysons Reporter]

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Morning Notes

Suspect and Murdered Wife Both Marines — “A woman found dead in [an Arlington] hotel room on Saturday and the man arrested in connection with her murder are both U.S. Marines… The two were seen earlier in the evening at the Marriott while attending their unit’s military ball to commemorate the Marine Corps’ 243rd birthday.” [Newsweek, Task and Purpose]

Arlingtonian Named ABC 7’s Hero of the Week — “In his dedication to the community, Aaron Codispoti switches gears constantly — in the truest sense of the word. He manages a team of more than a thousand people within the State Department, volunteers as an auxiliary police officer with Arlington County — often on bike patrol — and organizes blood drives twice a year.” [WJLA]

Crafthouse Going National — Ballston restaurant Crafthouse is taking its craft beer and elevated pub food formula national. The company, which also has locations in Fairfax and Reston, is preparing for rapid expansion via franchising. [Reston Now]

Local Entrepreneurs Mostly Looking Forward to Amazon — Though Amazon’s anticipated arrival in Crystal City could come with rent and hiring challenges, local entrepreneurs are mostly looking forward to the excitement and amenities the tech giant will bring to the area. [Forbes]

Amazon May Make Defense Hiring Harder — “If Amazon.com Inc. puts part of its second headquarters in Crystal City — as signs are pointing to this week — it could make defense hiring in the region even more competitive. The Seattle-based e-commerce and cloud computing company is already pursuing new deals in the defense and intelligence sectors, industry execs tell The Wall Street Journal, and an expanded presence in Greater Washington — home to thousands of government contractors — would put a strain on a market stretched by a dearth of workers holding proper security clearances.” [Washington Business Journal]

Police Looking for Driver Who Brandished Gun — Arlington County Police are investigating a road rage incident along Columbia Pike in which one driver “pulled over, exited his vehicle, and following a verbal dispute, allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the other driver.” [Arlington County]

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Arlington Pet of the Week: Ducat

Becky's Pet Care

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Ducat, a 10-year-old labrador retriever named for some antiquated currency.

Here’s what owner Abigail had to say on Ducat’s behalf:

Hi friends! My name is Ducat, I am a ten year old Labrador Retriever and I live with my parents in Clarendon. For those of you who are curious, my dad named me after a gold coin formerly used in European countries because of my soft, golden hair (or golden feathers as my Mom fondly calls it). Although I have lived in Arlington all my life, I met my dad at my grandparent’s house in North Carolina when I was a little puppy. I literally walked into his life as I sought shelter from a cold, stormy night and we have been inseparable ever since!

If you can’t already tell from the pictures, I LOVE napping and cuddling. I love lying down on soft blankets and pillows. On nice sunny days, I like to sunbathe in our yard and occasionally chase rabbits and squirrels. I also enjoy going on hiking adventures with my parents and I look forward to my daily long walks in the neighborhood. My favorite snacks are carrots, broccoli, pizza, and cheese.

If you see me around please say hi! I am very friendly and I like to meet new pup and human friends. I have been known to shed but I have been told that these are magical fibers of joy and love!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

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Crash Involving Police Vehicle Closes N. Courthouse Road

A portion of N. Courthouse Road was blocked this morning due to a crash involving a police vehicle.

The crash happened shortly before 10 a.m. near the intersection of N. Courthouse Road and 13th Street N., a block from Arlington County police headquarters in Courthouse. It involved a police SUV and a car that appears to have suffered heavy front-end damage.

Medics were dispatched to the scene to evaluate the car’s driver for possible injuries.

Via social media:

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Morning Notes

First Incumbent Voted Out in 21st Century — Democrats had few negative things to say about County Board member John Vihstadt during the past few months of campaigning, but voters nonetheless decided to vote him out of office last night, a relatively rare event in Arlington. Per the Sun Gazette: “The last County Board incumbent to be defeated for re-election was Mike Lane, a Republican who in the spring of 1999 won a special election for the seat of Al Eisenberg (who took a post in the Clinton administration) but later that year was defeated by Democrat Charles Monroe.” [InsideNova]

O’Leary Nailed It — Former Arlington County Treasurer (and amatuer election prognosticator) Frank O’Leary was spot on on his analysis of how yesterday’s local voting would shake out. O’Leary “opined that if the Arlington electorate was so large that 100,000 votes were cast for County Board, Democrat Matt de Ferranti would win with about 53 percent of the vote. Presto: Arlington voters indeed cast just over 100,000 votes in that race, and de Ferranti ended up with 53 percent, according to unofficial results.” [InsideNova]

Other Reasons Why Crystal City is Good for Amazon — Should Amazon announce Crystal City as the destination for a major new office campus — despite the disappearance of an event tent that seemed like it might be intended for such an announcement — there are a number of reasons why the neighborhood likely won over Amazon execs. One reason not as widely discussed: Crystal City is already a high-density, mixed-use neighborhood with a relatively small residential population and a long-term plan for more density. In other words, it’s a big green light for Amazon to build out the HQ2 of its dreams, without having to worry much about the NIMBYism that might delay plans elsewhere. [Brookings]

Progress on the Pike for IdidoIdido’s Coffee Social House is getting closer to its opening along the Columbia Pike corridor. This week the cafe filed a Virginia ABC permit application to serve beer and wine.

Questions About Local Nonprofit — A new report is questioning why Bethesda-based nonprofit Alley Cat Allies felt the need to buy two residential properties in Arlington. [Chronicle of Philanthropy]

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HQ2 Watch: The Case of the Mysterious Disappearing Tent

All signs point to Crystal City being a landing spot for at least half of Amazon’s proposed HQ2 — well, all but perhaps one.

The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and now NPR are all reporting that Crystal City is likely to be announced as the future home of a major Amazon office campus. The announcement could come as soon as this week.

NPR had perhaps the most direct reporting about Crystal City’s imminent selection, writing:

Amazon is still in the final stages of negotiations, the sources say, but Crystal City, Va., is expected to pick up one-half of the deal, the people told NPR. Crystal City is a suburb of Washington, D.C.

New York City has been reported as a potential second location.

Thus far ARLnow has not, in our own reporting, heard any definitive word that Crystal City will be selected. As part of our reporting, however, we’ve been tracking a tip regarding a temporary event tent.

Over the weekend, according to the tipster, a company called Select Event Group starting constructing a platform for a large, temporary event space on a vacant JBG Smith-owned property along S. Eads Street, near an Amazon-owned Whole Foods store.

“My best guess is that JBG Smith is preparing for an event where they’ll be celebrating HQ2,” said the tipster, whose apartment overlooks the site.

JBG Smith is the preeminent property owner in Crystal City and has been gussying up the neighborhood to, according to the Washington Business Journal, impress visiting Amazon executives. The painted bicycles the company has placed around the area are on a fence in front of where the event space was been set up.

Whatever the event space was intended for, it appears that plans might have changed. Today an ARLnow reporter saw the materials for the tent being packed up, loaded onto two rental tractor trailers and driven out of the area. Workers wearing blue Select Event Group hoodies oversaw the work.

Asked about the half-built event space and whether it was HQ2-related, a PR rep for JBG Smith dismissed it as “regular construction activity.”

Reached by phone, a man named Alex, who identified himself as the president of Select Event Group but did not give his last name, declined to answer ARLnow’s questions.

“We don’t comment about any of our open contracts,” he said, before hanging up.

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Aabee Express Now Open at Pentagon Row

A new restaurant has opened at the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City.

Aabee Express is now serving Mediterranean cuisine in the former Nkd Pizza storefront. The diminutive restaurant, next to the F45 gym, opened on Nov. 1.

More from a press release:

Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE: FRT), recognized leader in the ownership, operation and redevelopment of high-quality retail based properties, announces today the opening of Aabee Express at Pentagon Row, a 300,000-square foot open-air shopping destination with a unique combination of specialty retailers, modern fitness concepts, best-in class spas and exciting restaurants. The new Mediterranean fusion style dining (Grab n’ Go) option will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. starting on November 1, 2018 and is located on 1101 S. Joyce Street.

Aabee Express is a chef driven restaurant with over 27 years’ experiences in gourmet food. The menu is produced homemade to order or pre-packaged prepared from whole food and unprocessed ingredients. Aabee Express accommodates vegetarian, vegan and gluten free customers with zero added preservatives, additives or MSG. The menu includes fresh soups, salads, kabobs, fresh baked flatbread, family portion platters, desserts and more. The restaurant will accommodate pick up (carry out), curbside pickup, catering, and delivery.

“Pentagon Row is truly a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. We largely credit that to our amazing dining and shopping tenants that provide an array of services to the community. We are thrilled to continue to build upon those options with the opening of Aabee Express,” said Kari Glinski, Director of Asset Management for Federal Realty Investment Trust.

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Morning Notes

Polls Are Open — Voting in Arlington started at 6 a.m. this morning and will continue until 7 p.m. Don’t be surprised to see TV crews at local polling places: a number of international news outlets will be on hand to document democracy in action in Arlington. [Twitter, Twitter]

HQ2 Driving Real Estate Interest — Real estate agents are seeing increased interest in Arlington and Alexandria as a result of the increasingly-likely prospect of Amazon’s HQ2 (or, at least, a portion of it) coming to the area. Crystal City residents, meanwhile, are both excited and apprehensive about the tech and e-commerce giant moving into the neighborhood. [Washington Business Journal, WJLA]

Rain Causes Swollen Four Mile Run — Heavy rain Monday morning caused flooding along Four Mile Run. Floodwaters blocked the Four Mile Run Trail for part of the day. [Twitter]

Green Valley Pharmacy May Reopen — The Green Valley Pharmacy, a long-time local business serving the Nauck community, may be revived by the family of its late founder, Leonard “Doc” Muse. “”We [hope] to restore the exterior to the way it looked when my grandfather opened it in the 1950s,” said Muse’s grandson. [Arlington Magazine]

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NYT: Amazon’s HQ2 Likely to Be Split Between Crystal City, New York City

The long wait to find out where Amazon will build its second headquarters appears likely to have a twist ending: HQ2 is coming to two places.

One of those places, according to a New York Times article published Monday night, is expected to be Crystal City.

Citing “people familiar with the decision-making process,” the paper says Amazon is “is nearing a deal” to build large new office campuses in Crystal City and Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens.

Earlier today the Wall Street Journal broke the news that HQ2 would be split “to allow [Amazon] to recruit more of the best tech talent.”

“Under the new plan, Amazon would split the workforce with about 25,000 employees in each place,” the Journal reported. It’s unclear what that new plan means for any economic incentives that localities like Arlington were offering the company.

Echoing ARLnow.com’s reporting in November 2017, the Journal said the Amazon was indeed attracted to Crystal City’s central location, transportation options, urban amenities and available real estate.

Northern Virginia’s Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington County, appears to be a front-runner to take one of the two final positions, according to people familiar with the matter. In Northern Virginia, Amazon is already negotiating with government officials on incentives, while it is also talking with JBG Smith Properties , a real-estate investment trust, about the Crystal City real estate it owns. Part of the negotiations there involve nailing down the investment targets Amazon would have to meet to qualify for incentives, one of the people said.

Crystal City, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., has an urban feel, numerous government offices and a ready-to-go campus with empty, older office space. The area has good access to tech talent and transportation, two factors that rank high on Amazon’s wish list.

The New York Times, meanwhile, reported tonight that local residents have received telephone surveys asking about Amazon coming to the area.

Jay Brodsky, who lives in Arlington, Va., said about a week ago that his wife took part in a 45-minute phone survey about her opinion if Amazon moved to the area. “It was everything from, ‘What do you think about the local government,’ to ‘Are you concerned about traffic?'” he said. She received an Amazon gift card for participating.

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Power Outage Reported in Clarendon

Several dozen Dominion customers are currently without power in the Clarendon area.

The traffic signals at several intersections are dark, according to scanner traffic. A number of businesses, including the Trader Joe’s store and Pete’s Apizza, are without electricity, according to a passerby.

Police are on scene helping to set up cones and direct traffic at the affected intersections.

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Morning Notes

Amazon in Talks to Come to Crystal City — Per a widely re-reported Washington Post scoop, Amazon “has held advanced discussions about the possibility of opening its highly sought-after second headquarters in Crystal City.” An Amazon executive, meanwhile, tweeted that “the genius leaking info about Crystal City” is “not doing [it] any favors.” [Washington Post, Twitter]

Crystal City Isn’t Alone — “Amazon.com Inc. has progressed to late-stage talks on its planned second headquarters with a small handful of communities including northern Virginia’s Crystal City, Dallas and New York City, people familiar with the matter said, as it nears a final decision that could reshape both the tech giant and the location it chooses.” [Wall Street Journal, Washington Business Journal]

Jewelry Store Coming to Ballston Quarter — “ninetwofive, formally Wuayra Peruvian Silver Jewelry, is offering sterling silver jewelry and fine accessories in its new location at Ballston Quarter in Arlington, VA beginning this November.” [PR Log]

Officials: We’re Listening to Boundary Concerns — “Arlington school leaders say nothing has been cast in stone when it comes to adjusting elementary-school boundaries, but that the clock is ticking toward decision-making… The schools whose boundaries are in play in this round of adjustments include Abingdon, Barcroft, Drew, Fleet (the new school to replace Patrick Henry), Hoffman-Boston, Long Branch, Oakridge and Randolph elementaries.” [InsideNova]

APS Asked About Graduation Rates — “Arlington school officials are being pressed by one board member to be more specific in analyzing data related to graduation and drop-out rates of minority students. School Board Vice Chairman Tannia Talento says minority students — those classified as black, Latino and Asian — could end up ‘falling through the cracks’ if more attention isn’t given to their individual cases.” [InsideNova]

Miss Steindorff Remembers — A nursing home employee in Minnesota used social media to help a former Walter Reed Elementary teacher, Miss Steindorff, remember the names of students in one of her classes, as depicted in a photo she kept. Students in alumni groups the employee reached out to helped fill in the gaps in Miss Steindorff’s memory, while sharing their own fond memories of their teacher, shortly before she passed away. [Presbyterian Homes & Services]

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BREAKING: Police Arrest Stafford Man After Homicide in Crystal City Hotel

A woman was murdered in a Crystal City hotel room this morning and a Stafford, Virginia man has been arrested and charged in her death.

Arlington County Police describe the woman’s death as a “domestic-related homicide.”

Officers were initially dispatched to a hotel on the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway — the Crystal Gateway Marriott is the only hotel on that block — “for the report of a possible death.”

Stafford resident Natasha Rivera, 20, was found dead in the room. Rodolfo Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with murder.

This is the third reported homicide in Arlington so far this year.

More from an ACPD press release:

Arlington County Police announce the arrest of a Stafford, Virginia man following a domestic-related homicide investigation in Crystal City. Rodolfo Rivera, 24, was arrested and charged with Murder. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 9:40 a.m. on November 3, police were dispatched to the 1700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway for the report of a possible death. Upon arrival, officers located a female victim deceased inside a hotel room. The suspect was on scene when police arrived and taken into custody without incident.

The victim has been identified as Natasha Rivera, 20, of Stafford, Virginia. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Skeens of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4166 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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