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Legend Kicks has moved across the Pike (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Legend Kicks has found a new home across the Pike, after moving because of Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center’s pending redevelopment.

The sneaker reseller and clothing store has moved from its home for the past four years at 2609 Columbia Pike to a storefront about a half block away at 2514 Columbia Pike, a few doors down from the Celtic House.

The shop opened its doors at its new location this past weekend, according to an Instagram post.

The step was necessitated by imminent demolition and redevelopment of Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center. In March, the Arlington County Board approved replacing the one-story, aging retail strip with “The Elliott,” which will feature 247 market-rate apartments, a renovated CVS, a relocated Burrito Bros, and a new grocery store that could end up being an Amazon Fresh.

Legend Kicks first opened on Columbia Pike in 2017, but in April 2018 the store fell victim to arson. It reopened four months later a few doors down. Now, four years later, Legend Kicks is on the move again, but this time it’s because of redevelopment.

In an Instagram video from late last week, owner Layth Mansour claimed he was only given a few days to move.

“The first Legends got burned down. The second Legends I put so much money into, but then I got a letter saying that someone bought the whole building and I got three or four days to move,” Mansour says in the video. “Literally, I got a new place in, like, two days.”

Legend Kicks owner Layth Mansour on Instagram talking about Legend Kicks’ move (image via @legends_va/Instagram)

That timeline may not be totally accurate. ARLnow reported in January that all tenants received a notice that told them they needed to vacate by May 31. In those preceding six months, a number of businesses have since closed or moved including the Columbia Pike Partnership, the Black Heritage Museum, and Atilla’s Restaurant.

ARLnow has reached out to Mansour and Legend Kicks several times but has yet to hear back.

Mansour also owns the alcohol-free restaurant Eska on Columbia Pike. In April 2021, he took over the troubled, former location of Purple Lounge with the pledge to make it “family-friendly.” However, more than a year later, that restaurant has yet to open despite hopes it would be in business by February 1.

With Legend Kicks moving out, the only remaining tenant remaining in Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center is CVS. It’s not immediately clear when the store will make the planned shift to a trailer in the parking lot next door.

Though no demolition permit application has been filed for the now-mostly abandoned building, a county spokesperson says that work should begin late this year after all the needed permits are obtained.

If that timeline is followed, The Elliott could be completed and be move-in ready by early 2025.

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The Columbia Pike Partnership and Black Heritage Museum of Arlington are moving down the Pike due to the imminent redevelopment of Fillmore Gardens Shopping Center, both announced yesterday (May 18).

The two local organizations are set to move by the end of the month into the first floor of the Ethiopian Community Development Council building at 3045 Columbia Pike, only a five minute walk from its current home at 2611 Columbia Pike. Among their new neighbors is a Subway sandwich shop.

They are moving because the shopping center is set for demolition and redevelopment. In March, the Arlington County Board officially greenlit turning the aging retail strip into “The Elliot.” The new building will feature 247 market-rate apartments above a grocery store (maybe an Amazon Fresh), a renovated CVS, and a relocated Burritos Bros.

What it won’t include is a number of the current tenants, including the partnership and the museum.

“When the news came that we would need to move, our Board of Directors decided it was important for the organization to have a presence on the Pike — people need to find us, and we need to stay in touch with the community as well,” CPP’s Amy McWilliams tells ARLnow. “After a long hunt, we found the space at 3045B Columbia Pike, and realized it could house the Columbia Pike Partnership as well as the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, continuing our collective partnership.”

Last year, the Black Heritage Museum moved into the offices of the partnership, then called the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization. Sharing the space was supposed to be temporary as the museum looked for a permanent home.

That’s still the plan for this new space, says the museum’s president Scott Taylor, as the museum continues to search for a new location — possibly in its old home.

“We have just recently signed a two year contract with our new landlord. We will continue to strive for a permanent location,” says Taylor. “There is even some talk about us going back to 3108 Columbia Pike as the county has acquired that property and may allow us some room there when they complete the new project there.”

CPP and the museum hope to have the space open to the public by June 18.

With all businesses needing to vacate the shopping center by May 31, several others have closed or announced their next moves in recent months.

H&R Block closed earlier this year while CVS will move into a trailer during construction and, then, back into the new building when completed. Atilla’s, a Turkish restaurant and grocer that’s been there since the 1970s, is closing next weekend and is in search of a new location.

Legend Kicks, which re-opened in its current location in 2018, is also set to close and possible move, but it’s unclear where.

ARLnow reached out to the business and its owner, who also owns the still-yet-to-open Eska just down Columbia Pike in the former location of the Purple Lounge, but has not heard back as of publication time.

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Last week, we invited the two candidates running in the Democratic primary for House of Delegates race for the 49th District to write a post about why our readers should vote for them next Tuesday (June 8).

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Alfonso Lopez:

When first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, I promised to be a progressive champion for the Commonwealth’s most diverse district. That pledge included expanding access to health care, protecting a pregnant person’s right to make their own health care decisions, passing sweeping criminal justice reform, advancing the fight against climate change, and improving quality of life and community safety.

I am proud to say I’ve delivered on my promise and humbly ask for your vote for re-election.

As part of House Democratic leadership, I’ve helped us grow our majority and set a bold progressive agenda in order to build a Virginia that lifts everyone up and leaves no one behind.

We started by expanding Medicaid to over 500,000 Virginians — including 45,000 in Northern Virginia. This sets us on the path towards finally securing healthcare for everyone and the assurance that no family has to choose between putting food on the table or paying medical bills.

Our progress continued on health care. One of the proudest moments of my legislative career came in 2020, when I co-patroned and helped pass the Reproductive Health Protection Act. This eliminated barriers to reproductive health access across the Commonwealth and kept health care decisions exclusive to a pregnant person and their doctor.

Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I worked with Majority Leader Charniele Herring and Delegate Luke Torian to pass sweeping criminal justice reform legislation banning no-knock warrants, chokeholds and the militarization of police departments. We also enacted my legislation to finally enable the Attorney General to act against police departments with a history of constitutional rights violations.

With 30 years of environmental advocacy experience, I’m proud to be the founder of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus and to have seen many of my bills in this area signed into law. I recently secured $800 million for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay and was the chief co-patron on the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which transformed Virginia from among the worst states on climate change to one of the best.

This bill laid the groundwork to pursue a Green New Deal, bold legislation that I’ve co-patroned and voted for twice.

Improving quality of life and making our communities safer have been my priorities. In 2013, I created the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) and have fought every year for increased funding. This past session we secured $125.7 million – a significant increase over past years. The AHTF has helped alleviate housing instability and homelessness across Virginia and served as the backstop for eviction prevention and rental relief during the pandemic. Moreover, it has provided housing for hundreds of families here in the 49th district.

Providing housing was only one element of improving our communities; another was passing common sense gun laws. A key first step was requiring background checks for all firearms purchases, but that’s not enough. This past session, I helped close the “Charleston Loophole” and extended the period state police have to complete a background check to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

These accomplishments are among the highlights of over 150 bills I’ve authored, chief co-patroned, or co-patroned that have been signed into law. Others include securing in-state tuition for DREAMer students, repealing Virginia’s ban on project labor agreements, and creating the first LGBTQ+ advisory board in the South.

I’ve never lost touch with the people I represent and have used my role in leadership to produce outcomes that greatly improve our community. I successfully kept the DMV on Four Mile Run, and this past session I passed the Purple Lounge Bill to increase local oversight of ‘bad actor’ establishments.

Perhaps most importantly, considering housing affordability concerns in the 49th, I voted against Amazon’s HQ2 and refuse its campaign contributions.

My record speaks for itself: I’m a progressive Democrat who delivers results and works to improve lives in the 49th district and across Virginia.

I’m proud to have earned the endorsements of numerous organizations, activists and legislators, including:

  • S. Senator Tim Kaine
  • Congressman Don Beyer
  • Julius “J.D.” Spain – 2019 primary opponent
  • Emma Violand-Sanchez – former Arlington School Board Chair
  • Virginia Education Association
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
  • Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and
  • Every Organized Labor group in this race.

They understand — as I do — that politics is about improving people’s lives.

Together — there is much more to accomplish.

I hope to also earn your support for re-election in the upcoming June 8th primary. To learn more, please visit www.AlfonsoLopez.org.

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Warming temperatures should make for a sunny and pleasant holiday weekend, weather-wise.

Happy Easter and end of Passover to our readers who observe either faith. Due to the holidays, we’re getting started on today’s weekend discussion a bit early.

Below are the most-read Arlington articles of the past week.

  1. This Toothless 19-Year-Old Dachshund Has Captured Arlington’s Heart
  2. Arlington Opening Joint Vaccine Site With Amazon Today
  3. Arlington School Board Asks Superintendent for More ‘Aggressive’ Return Plan
  4. Residents Ask ACPD to Spare Them from Bowling Alley Commotion
  5. Virginia to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to All People 16+ by April 18
  6. New Alcohol-Free Restaurant to Open in Former Purple Lounge Space
  7. Morning Poll: Legal Weed in Virginia This Summer?
  8. Annual Tap Water Change is One Week Away
  9. With Dominion Hills Mansion Demolition Underway, Locals Ask: What’s Next?
  10. Construction Begins on New Towers in Crystal City
  11. Shirlington Salon Shutting Down, Citing Pandemic Impact
  12. Arlington County to Use Drones to Count Deer

As for today’s breaking news out of the District, some local reaction is below.

Feel free to discuss the above stories or anything else of local interest in the comments. We’ll be back Monday with more local coverage.

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Some Crystal City residents say a new bowling alley has created a persistent late-night ruckus, and they want police to strike at the heart of the problem with extra enforcement.

The issue is causing a split between apartment dwellers who want peace and quiet at night, and a seemingly benign business — Bowlero, at 320 23rd Street S. — that has allegedly attracted a rowdy clientele.

With reports of fights, screaming, littering and the stench of marijuana, the relationship between the bowling alley and its neighbors is in the gutter, so much so that the Arlington County Police Department saw fit to organize a virtual community meeting on the topic Wednesday night.

During the Zoom meeting, police acknowledged dozens of calls to Bowlero over the past few months, a pattern that has led the business to beef up security, including using metal detectors at the entrance.

Police connected the rowdiness to the pandemic, as Virginia opened up before Maryland and D.C. and thus has been drawing a more regional crowd seeking out nightlife opportunities.

“We’ve seen an increase in patronage in Arlington County because Arlington and Virginia seem to be opening at a faster rate than D.C. and Maryland,” ACPD’s Restaurant and Nightlife Liaison Samantha Brien said. “We’ve seen a lot of patronage to Crystal City and Clarendon because they could stay out later and have more fun. As we start to open up, I’m sure we’ll open up faster than D.C.”

Since Bowlero opened in July, there have been 52 calls for service, and 42 of those calls happened inside the business or right outside, Brien said. The bowling alley’s management made 28 of those calls, which is “a good thing,” she said.

“You have to look at when they’re calling and how frequently they’re calling,” Brien said. “If they’re calling before something really bad happens that means they’re intervening at a higher level and that’s what we want to see.”

In response, Brien said Bowlero has implemented bag checks and “wanding” with handheld metal detectors. Signage warns patrons not to bring weapons inside. Arlington police on a nightlife detail conduct hourly walk-throughs of bars and restaurants along 23rd Street S. from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

ACPD officials encouraged perturbed residents to call the non-emergency line, (703) 558-2222, any time there is a complaint. These calls are logged and could ultimately be used to reallocate resources to Crystal City, said ACPD Captain Michael Rowling.

Rowling said the police have occasionally placed signboards and set up mobile surveillance cameras outside Bowlero. Extra police details and plainclothes officers have been dispatched to the bowling alley, resulting in several arrests inside and outside, he added.

Brien and Rowling compared the situation in Crystal City to Clarendon in 2016, which Brien said was “the Wild West.” She pointed to Clarendon as an example of how ACPD can work with bars and restaurants to improve nightlife activity and safety.

“As we have been working so much in Clarendon, and establishments work with us, the patrons know how to correctly act in the Clarendon area,” Brien said. “Since Bowlero has enacted wanding and bag checks, and put up signage, patrons will soon realize how to act.”

Both credited Bowlero for being cooperative with the police department.

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It may not be a holiday for Arlington County this year, but Monday is still a state and federal holiday.

Except in the case of breaking news, ARLnow will not be publishing on Presidents Day, aka George Washington Day in Virginia. Our normal news coverage schedule will resume on Tuesday, though don’t be surprised to see some weather coverage on Saturday if the predicted iciness materializes locally.

Here are the most-read articles of the past week in Arlington:

  1. CVS To Begin Administering Vaccines in Va. on Friday
  2. Marriott Cedes Rosslyn Location to New Hotel Operator
  3. APS Sets Dates for Return to In-Person Learning
  4. Vaccinations Numbers Rise Amid Long Lines at County Facility
  5. Metro’s Blue Line To Shut Down For Three Months Starting Saturday
  6. A New Bill, Inspired by Purple Lounge, Would Make it Easier to Deny Liquor Licenses
  7. Morning Poll: What Do You Think of the APS Return to School Plan?
  8. St. Charles in Clarendon Envisions New Parish and New Housing
  9. Popular D.C.-Based Restaurant Lucky Danger Set to Open in Pentagon City

Feel free to discuss those stories, or anything else of local interest, in the comments. Have a nice holiday weekend and please stay safe on the roads. Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day!

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Morning Notes

Shooting Near Arlington Border — An early Sunday morning shooting that could be heard in parts of south Arlington “happened along the 3800 block of South George Mason Drive at approximately 1:19 a.m., according to Fairfax County police. Police said when they arrived at the scene, they discovered bullet casings but no victims. Shortly after, Arlington County police stopped a vehicle along I-395 and found a victim who had been shot in the abdomen and was trying to drive to a hospital.” [WTOP]

Purple Lounge Loses Liquor License Again — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has temporarily suspended the alcohol licenses of the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge, LLC after finding the establishment in violation of the terms imposed… on September 16, 2020. As a result of this action, the alcohol licenses of the Purple Lounge will remain suspended for a minimum of 10 days with reinstatement dependent upon approval by Virginia ABC.” [Arlington County]

Local Tourism Boomed in 2019 — “After a record-breaking 2018, tourism spending in Arlington rose to $3.6 billion in 2019, according to data released today by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending for 12 consecutive years, with local tourism in 2019 generating $97.8 million in local tax receipts… [but] early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending.” [Arlington County]

Those Darn Kids Are At It Again — “Certain mountain bikers have blazed new unauthorized trails down the historic hillock known for 300 years as Brandymore Castle. They’ve angered tree stewards and parks protectors who bemoan damage to plant life on that secluded tree-lined formation in Madison Manor Park… The problem, Allen said, is not that mountain biking is inherently bad, but that a few practitioners lack education in the environmental impact of their behavior.” [Falls Church News-Press]

National Landing = Copenhagen on the Potomac? — From a local cycling advocate, regarding the possibility of adding more cycling infrastructure around Crystal City and Pentagon City: “We can turn @NationalLanding into Copenhagen in one fell swoop if we want to.” [@CarFreeHQ2/Twitter]

Today’s a Holiday — As a reminder, ARLnow is on a limited publishing schedule today due to the federal holiday. Arlington County offices and facilities, however, are open. Trash and recycling are being collected, though metered parking is not being enforced.

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

For much the this week, the sun was obscured behind a haze of smoke wafting in from the West Coast wildfires.

As the week has gone on, the haze has dissipated. Despite the calamities the world has faced this year, it is good to know that, with due time, the sun will always come back out eventually.

Here are the most-read articles this week on ARLnow:

  1. County Board Votes to Discontinue Sidewalk Crowding Ordinance
  2. French Pastry Shop Now Open in Rosslyn
  3. Purple Lounge Back in Business After Liquor License Restored
  4. New Rosslyn Development Marks Construction Milestone
  5. County Board Expresses Support for Changing County Logo
  6. Board Approves Gun Ban in County Buildings and Parks
  7. Neighborhood Spotlight: The Best Tacos in Arlington
  8. First Day of Early Voting Attracts Long Line in Arlington
  9. County Board OKs New $14 Million, Amazon-Funded Park in Pentagon City

For those celebrating tonight, Shanah tovah.

Also: RIP summer of 2020. Hello, fall.

https://twitter.com/capitalweather/status/1307036448399515651

Feel free to discuss any of the above, or anything else of local interest, in the comments. Have a nice weekend!

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(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) Arlington County Police have announced an arrest following a double shooting along Columbia Pike early this morning.

Police said two adults were shot on the 3100 block of Columbia Pike and “are being treated for injuries that are considered non-life threatening.” Photos of the scene show numerous evidence markers and crime scene tape around the parking lot of Purple Lounge at 3111 Columbia Pike.

A helicopter was brought to “assist with the search and recovery of evidence in this case,” Arlington County Police said, adding that the “preliminary investigation indicates there is no ongoing threat to the community.”

Around 4:45 p.m. Sunday, police revealed more information about the shooting and announced that one of those shot has been charged in the shooting. He was shot by security guards and lightly wounded after opening fire on a crowd in the parking lot around 5 a.m., police said.

From a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on Columbia Pike in the early morning hours of August 30, 2020.

At approximately 5:04 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life threatening.

The preliminary investigation indicates security guards were clearing the parking lot of a business when the suspect drew a firearm and discharged towards the crowd. Two security guards, licensed by the Commonwealth and authorized to carry firearms, then returned fire. The suspect fired additional rounds before fleeing the scene in a vehicle prior to police arrival.

A lookout for the vehicle was broadcast. Responding officers located and stopped the vehicle at the intersection of 9th Street S. at Walter Reed Drive. The suspect was transported to an area hospital for treatment of a superficial wound. Once medically cleared, Yared Denbu, 33 of Dundalk, MD, was arrested and charged with Attempted Malicious Wounding, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, and Reckless Handling of a Firearm. He is being held in Washington D.C. pending extradition to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This appears to be an isolated incident between the parties and there is no known threat to the community related to this incident. This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

The Arlington County Board revoked Purple Lounge’s live entertainment permit last year after a man was shot in the leg in the nightlife venue’s parking lot in September.

“The Arlington County Police Department has noted ongoing issues and violations at this establishment that have created a public disturbance and violate the conditions of the live entertainment use permit,” a county staff report said at the time.

A man was fatally shot a block away from today’s shooting scene, on the 3000 block of Columbia Pike, in June. Two were arrested last month in connection to the shooting and charged with murder.

Photos courtesy @lavvra/Twitter

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ARLnow Weekend Discussion

It has been a cold and active week, both weather-wise and news-wise.

Luckily, after a cloudy and cold Saturday, milder temperatures and a stretch of fair weather is on tap for at least the next week. And, barring breaking news, starting Tuesday ARLnow will be switching to a reduced publishing schedule around the holidays, giving the hard-working people who bring you the news a chance to take a little break after a busy year.

Here are the most-read stories of the past week on the site:

  1. Arlington County Board Revokes Live Entertainment Permit for Purple Lounge
  2. Six Restaurants Coming to DCA’s New Concourse
  3. Alexandria Man Arrested After Clarendon Stabbing
  4. Plans for New CVS on Highlander Motel Site Appear to Be Advancing
  5. Photos: Pupatella Now Open In South Arlington
  6. Cyclist Struck Near Clarendon
  7. County Board Approves Request To Eliminate Off-Site Parking At New Children’s School on Lee Highway
  8. What’s Next: Arlington’s Best
  9. Governor Announces Deal for New Potomac Rail Bridge, Expanded Passenger Rail Service

Feel free to discuss these or any other topics of local interest in the comments. Have a nice weekend!

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A man has been arrested in connection with an overnight shooting along Columbia Pike.

The shooting happened just before 1 a.m., outside a business on the 3100 block of Columbia Pike. Initial reports suggest the man was shot in the abdomen and rushed to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. As of 4 p.m. today, police said the victim was in “critical but stable condition.”

“The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. Police are utilizing the assistance of a helicopter to search for the suspect,” police said via social media, shortly after the shooting. “Suspect described as [a black male], 20s with skinny build wearing dark clothing. Expect police activity in the area.”

Aaron Steele, 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated malicious wounding, shooting in the commission of a felony, and aggravated malicious shooting, the Arlington County Police Department announced Thursday afternoon.

“During the course of the investigation, officers developed a possible suspect description based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews,” said ACPD in the afternoon press release. “A lookout was broadcast and a patrol officer traveling in the area of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike observed the suspect on foot and took him into custody without incident.”

The suspect was also charged with violating a protective order and firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school — roughly the same distance the Arlington Career Center is from the scene of the shooting.

The Pike was closed between S. Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive for an extended period of time after the shooting, according to WTOP.

As of 9:30 a.m. detectives were still on scene, canvassing the parking lot of Purple Lounge (3111 Columbia Pike). Discarded medical supplies could be seen along the sidewalk near the parking lot.

The full police press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect for his role in an early morning shooting on Columbia Pike. Aaron Steele, 29, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Shooting in the Commission of a Felony, Aggravated Malicious Shooting, Discharging a Firearm within 1,000 feet of a School, Use of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony and Violation of a Protective Order. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 12:48 a.m. on September 12, police were dispatched to the 3100 block of Columbia Pike for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male in the roadway suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately began rendering aid. The victim was transported by medics to an area hospital where he is listed in critical but stable condition.

During the course of the investigation, officers developed a possible suspect description based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews. A lookout was broadcast and a patrol officer traveling in the area of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike observed the suspect on foot and took him into custody without incident.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect and victim are known to one another and that a dispute preceded the shooting. This is an isolated incident and there is no evidence of any continued threat to the community.

This incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Airey contributed to this report

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