Press Club

Arlington police say they’re now investigating a series of drive-by paintball and pellet gun shootings.

The shootings are believed to have been inspired by a viral TikTok trend dubbed the “Orbeez challenge,” which has led to numerous reports from across the U.S. of injuries and arrests from people being shot with pellets, paintballs or gel-balls.

ARLnow reported yesterday that four people were struck by paintballs shot from a passing car in Crystal City on Friday. One person was hospitalized. Today Arlington police said two recent incidents of people being shot by pellet guns, fired from passing vehicles, may be tied to the social media trend.

“The Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible,” said the police department.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating four reports of paintballs and pellets being discharged from vehicles at community members in the last week. Similar incidents have been reported in other states and appear to stem from challenges originated on social media. While the motivation behind the Arlington incidents is unknown at this time, the Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible.

Reported Incidents

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03160222, S. Eads Street at 12th Street S. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and discharged a pellet gun, striking the victim. The suspect vehicle is described as a maroon SUV.

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03180231/0254, 1400 block of S. Eads Street/15th Street S. at S. Eads. At approximately 7:24 p.m. on March 18, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined the two victims were walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and the passenger discharged a paintball gun striking the victims, a parked vehicle and the door to a business. At approximately 9:10 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an assault and determined two additional victims were walking in the area when they were struck by the suspect discharging a paintball gun from the vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver, older model four door sedan.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-03210246, Washington Boulevard at N. Highland Street. At approximately 4:54 p.m. on March 21, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when he was struck by pellets discharged from a vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a gray or light blue small SUV.

Report Information and Incidents to Police for Investigation

These remain active criminal investigations. Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to contact the Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

If you are the victim or witness of similar incidents, report immediately to police by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible including vehicle description, license plate, direction of travel and suspect(s) description.

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A local park with a popular playground keeps getting vandalized, this time with obscene language and drawings.

As of this article’s publication Rocky Run Park, along N. Barton Street in the Courthouse area, has graffiti featuring anti-police slogans and crude drawings of male genitalia. It’s been there, near the soccer field, since at least Friday.

(A not-safe-for-work video gives an uncensored look at the graffiti.)

The graffiti follows other reports of vandalism over the past few months, and an incident on Tuesday in which a dispute between two teenagers led one to draw a gun and make threats. It turned out to be a BB gun, police determined after taking the teen into custody.

“At approximately 5:32 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The investigation revealed that the juvenile victim and the juvenile subject had been involved in an ongoing dispute when the subject allegedly brandished a BB gun from his bag and made threats to the victim. The subject was located in the area and released to his guardian. The investigation is ongoing.”

Between the BB gun incident and the graffiti, neighbors are unnerved.

“There has been an increase in graffiti and vandalism at Rocky Run Park over the past several months,” the Clarendon Courthouse Civic Association said in a statement to ARLnow this morning. “The field was vandalized over the summer, and this past week, someone added a lot of crude graffiti throughout the park.”

“This is a family park and parents should let their kids know this is not the place for graffiti or vandalism,” the statement continued. “There was also a fight between two teenagers on Sept. 23 and one brandished a BB gun, which looked like a firearm. It will be helpful if the County/ACPD act with an awareness campaign to prevent these issues from happening in the future.”

An ACPD cruiser was parked outside the park this afternoon.

An Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman said the park has been vandalized multiple times over the past couple of weeks. The most recent graffiti could not be removed using standard methods, meaning the concrete seating area that was vandalized will need to be repainted.

“About a week and a half ago we were notified of the presence of graffiti by a member of the public and removed it,” said DPR spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “That same day the park was vandalized with graffiti two more times. Unfortunately, a few days later there was even more graffiti only this time the paint used is particularly difficult to remove and required that three staff using a powerwasher, graffiti remover and hand brushes remove it. However, it was to no avail and so today we scheduled a team to repaint it.”

“Every time our goal is to first notify the police and then remove [the graffiti] within 24-48 hours as best as we are able,” Kalish said. “There are times when we realize that our regular removal methods are not going to be sufficient and have to schedule a time to perform additional work including repainting the area, which is what happened in this particular case.”

Kalish said police and Arlington park rangers typically increase patrols around a park — “targeted around when the activity may occur” — in response to vandalism incidents.

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Morning Notes

Jan. 6 First Responders Recognized — “The Arlington County Board today gave special honors and recognition to members of Arlington County Police Department, Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office for their efforts to respond to the Capitol riot on January 6. Approximately 60 personnel were honored during the event today at the County Board Recessed meeting.” [Arlington County]

Fmr. APS Students Staying in Private School — “Ten-year-old Jonah Kaufman of Arlington is proud of his 4th grade report card from the private school he attends in northern Virginia… it was a far different story in 2020 when Jonah and his 8-year-old brother, Noah, were in a public school, trying to learn from home during COVID-19. ‘They weren’t learning,’ Jena Kotler, the boy’s mother says. ‘They were sad, they felt isolated. It was just crazy.'” [WJLA]

Man Pulls BB Gun on Beer Thief — “At approximately 11:32 p.m. on July 19, police were dispatched to the report of a robbery by force… the male victim was walking in the area when the suspect approached and engaged him in conversation. When the victim walked away, the suspect began chasing after him. The victim fell to the ground and the suspect demanded the beer he was carrying. After the suspect took the beer, the victim retrieved a BB gun from his vehicle and confronted the suspect.” [ACPD]

Sluggish Fundraising in County Board Race — “The four candidates for County Board had a total of less than $14,000 on hand at the end of June, according to new figures from the Virginia Department of Elections. That’s not an average of $14,000 per candidate. It’s $14,000 for all candidates. Takis Karantonis, the incumbent board member… reported $5,301 on hand as of June 30, according to filings made public July 15. Audrey Clement, a frequent candidate for political office, reported $3,286.” [Sun Gazette]

New Capital Improvement Plan Approved — “The Arlington County Board has approved a $1.25 billion three-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that focuses on meeting Arlington’s existing commitments, addressing critical infrastructure maintenance, and beginning investments in long-term plans and programs that will ensure sustainability over the years to come.” [Arlington County]

Air Quality Alert Today — “A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.” [National Weather Service, Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

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Morning Notes

Va. Supreme Court Passes on Pot Prosecution Case — “The Virginia Supreme Court has rejected an effort by Arlington’s chief prosecutor to rein in judges who are skeptical of her refusal to prosecute marijuana possession. But the court did not resolve the conflict, saying it could not weigh in because it had not been asked to consider any specific case.” [Washington Post]

Big Response to Mailbox — “‘We’ve collected at least probably 500 letters in the two weeks that we’ve had the [Santa] mailbox out,’ Rachael Tolman, the Park Manager at Gulf Branch Park said. ‘It’s a lot of letters.’ The lists some children put in the mailbox looked different, with requests for masks and good health.” [WUSA 9]

Nonprofit Merger Complete — “Bridges to Independence, a Northern Virginia provider of housing and vital services for at-risk families and individuals, has finalized its merger with the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corp., a community-based non-profit with a mission to address the health, education, financial empowerment and social service needs of people living in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood.” [InsideNova]

Pedestrian Struck in Ballston — “Police and medics on scene of a pedestrian struck by a driver in front of the Ballston Harris Teeter on N. Glebe Road. So far, the victim’s injuries sound minor.” [Twitter]

Holiday Pop-Ups in National Landing — “As part of National Landing’s mission to activate public spaces, the BID has unveiled ‘Turn Up the Love,’ a winterlong campaign featuring a series of engaging outdoor pop-ups. These festive installations include a larger-than-life boombox adorned with thousands of colorful ornaments, three shareable photo frames and even more surprises to be announced after the holidays.” [National Landing BID]

Nearby: BB Gun Shootings in FC — “Police investigated calls of vandalism and found a teen who confessed to at least 50 incidents of shooting vehicles and people. Some victims have been identified, but police believe there may be more.” [City of Falls Church]

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Arlington County Police say they arrested a man Wednesday after he attempted to rob two people outside of a home in Ballston while brandishing a BB gun.

The robbery attempt happened around 11:30 p.m. on the 1200 block of N. Stuart Street, which is a block away from Washington-Liberty High School.

The BB gun-wielding suspect threatened one of the victims and demanded money, police say, but the victims fought back and the suspect was chased away and later arrested.

More from today’s ACPD crime report:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2019-07030318. 1200 block of N. Stuart Street. At approximately 11:41 p.m. on July 3, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the two victims were outside of a residence when an unknown male suspect approached them, allegedly brandishing what was later determined to be a BB gun, and threatened one of the victims, demanding cash. The second victim intervened and became engaged in a physical struggle with the suspect before chasing him away. Arriving officers located the suspect in the area, based upon the description provided in a lookout. The first victim was not injured. The second victim suffered minor injuries that did not require medical treatment. Elonte Jones-Davis, 19, of Washington, D.C. was arrested and charged with Attempted Robbery. He was held on no bond.

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Police are looking for a man who shot up a vehicle with a BB gun in the Nauck neighborhood last week.

The incident happened Wednesday night along S. Shirlington Road. Police responded to a parking lot for a report of gunshots. They arrived and found a vehicle damaged by BBs, but the suspect had already fled and could not be located.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

DISCHARGE FIREARM/MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED BUILDING, 2018-03070203, 2200 block of Shirlington Road. At approximately 8:10 p.m. on March 7, police were dispatched to the area after a witness reported hearing shots fired inside a parking garage. Arriving officers canvased the area and located a vehicle with damage from a BB gun. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. No injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a black male with curly, reddish dreads, wearing a black jacket. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of the crime report, after the jump.

Read More

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A UPS driver was pelted by BBs apparently fired from a Rosslyn apartment building this afternoon.

The incident happened around 2 p.m. near the corner of N. Oak Street and Key Blvd.

The driver told police that a teenage male — 18 years of age or so — was firing a BB gun at him from the top balcony of the 1800 N. Oak Street apartments. At least one of the BBs struck the man in the torso, but he was not otherwise injured.

The driver yelled at the teen to stop. By the time police showed up, he had apparently gone back inside.

No word yet on whether there are any suspects in the case.

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Alexander Chase Ricardo Reynoso Jr William Romero

Police have arrested three Arlington teens in connection with a rash of car windows being shot out with BB guns.

The suspects allegedly shot out the windows on more than 250 cars in Northern Virginia over the past several months, including two marked police vehicles. Nothing was taken from the cop cars, but at least one of the other incidents involved items being stolen from a vehicle.

19-year-old Alexander Chase and 18-year-old Ricardo Reynoso Jr., both of Arlington, were arrested and charged with felony destruction of property. Chase is currently being held without bond, and Reynoso is being held on a $1,000 bond. 18-year-old William Romero of Arlington was charged with grand larceny and grand larceny with intent to distribute. Romero is currently being held without bond.

The Arlington County Police Department says the suspects were caught based on an extensive investigation that has been going on for months. They were assisted by the Fairfax County Police Department.

The crimes are still being examined, and some may span all the way to West Virginia.

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