Support

(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Four people have been taken into custody after a police pursuit through Pentagon City.

Initial reports suggested that police were trying to pull over two suspects in a white SUV near the Fashion Centre mall. The SUV had at least one flat tire, possibly flattened by officers using “stop sticks,” but refused to stop.

The driver, struggling to control the SUV due to the flat tire or tires, reportedly took a sudden detour through the Harris Teeter parking lot with police trailing behind.

A traffic camera showed the SUV exiting the parking lot onto Army Navy Drive, near the mall garage entrance, followed by multiple police cruisers. Arlington County police have a policy against giving chase except in certain circumstances, but officers radioed to the dispatch center that they were merely following the swerving SUV at a rate of speed below the speed limit.

The SUV could be seen turning onto S. Hayes Street, and shortly thereafter its occupants fled on foot. One person ran through the mall, with officers in pursuit, before being taken into custody in the parking garage on the food court level, according to scanner traffic. Officers told dispatchers that they subsequently recovered two guns.

Many of those details were confirmed in an account of the incident provided to ARLnow. From Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

At approximately 3:41 p.m. on November 23, police were alerted to a possibly stolen vehicle in the area of the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. Officers located the parked, unoccupied vehicle and confirmed its status as stolen. Five subjects subsequently returned to the vehicle and police attempted to stop them. Two subjects were detained without incident, one subject fled on foot, and two subjects fled in the vehicle. Officers deployed stop sticks, causing the rear tires of the vehicle to deflate, however the driver continued to travel at a low rate of speed around the area. Arlington County Police did not pursue the vehicle. With the assistance of Virginia State Police, the vehicle was stopped at 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street and the driver of the vehicle was taken into custody without incident. The passenger fled on foot and officers initiated a brief foot pursuit before taking the subject into custody without further incident. One subject remains outstanding. During the investigation, two firearms were recovered. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

At least one vehicle was reported to have been struck while the suspects made their attempted getaway, though at this point it’s unclear where.

Southbound S. Hayes Street in front of the mall was partially blocked by the police activity after the incident.

0 Comments

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington police and firefighters are on scene of a fatal crash involving a motorcyclist and a school bus with children on board.

The crash happened around 2:45 p.m. on S. Kenmore Street in front of Drew Elementary, in the Green Valley neighborhood.

A school bus with 14 students on board struck a man who was riding a motorcycle, according to police. The man, who was reportedly wearing a helmet, was found lying unresponsive in the roadway.

Police have closed S. Kenmore Street, likely for an extended period of time while detectives investigate the crash. The victim remains in the roadway, covered in a white sheet, while police tape has been placed around the crash site.

School counselors are being requested to the scene for the children who were on board the bus at the time of the crash. No physical injuries were reported among the students, who have since been taken off the bus.

Despite the location of the crash, we’re told that that bus came from a school other than Drew.

Witnesses, some of whom were sobbing as they spoke to ARLnow, said the motorcyclist was someone they saw often in the neighborhood. They said he had just driven out of an alley at a high rate of speed and tried to lay down his motorcycle when he saw the bus coming. He “went flying” and was run over by the bus, witnesses said.

The man’s injuries were such that first responders immediately radioed that he was deceased after arriving at the scene and failing to find a pulse.

Neighbors said that numerous kids and adults witnessed the crash, which happened in a busy area next to a park on a sunny, warm autumn day.

The neighbors who spoke to ARLnow said that the deceased man was in his early 20s and worked at a nearby auto rental and repair shop.

“They are good guys,” a neighbor said of the workers at the family-owned shop.

Update on 11/11/21: Arlington County police just issued the following press release about the fatal crash.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred on the afternoon of November 10, 2021.

At approximately 2:49 p.m., police were dispatched to the 3500 block of 23rd Street S. for the report of a vehicle crash with injuries involving a school bus and motorcycle. Upon arrival, officers located the unresponsive motorcyclist partially under the school bus. He had succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased on scene. The school bus had fourteen students onboard at the time of the crash. The students safely exited the bus, were evaluated by medics and no additional injuries were reported.

The preliminary investigation indicates the motorcyclist was traveling at a high rate of speed from an alley on 23rd Street S. onto S. Kenmore Street. He tried to avoid the oncoming school bus by laying down the motorcycle and ultimately ended up partially under the bus. The deceased has been identified as Stevan Zikic, 26, of Alexandria, VA.

This crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective L. Lugasi at [email protected] or 703-228-4054. Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Matt Blitz contributed to this report.

0 Comments

Update at 5:05 p.m. — The driver who was critically injured has died, police confirmed Wednesday evening. From a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating a fatal vehicle crash that occurred on the morning of November 3, 2021.

At approximately 8:29 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a two-vehicle crash with injuries at Washington Boulevard and N. Sycamore Street. The preliminary investigation indicates that as a result of the crash, the driver of a van was ejected from the vehicle and became partially trapped underneath. Upon arrival, medics extricated the driver from under the vehicle and transported him to an area hospital in critical condition. He later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. The four occupants of the other vehicle were transported to area hospitals with injuries considered non-life threatening.

The deceased has been identified as Mauricio Campos Gomez, 49, of Manassas, Virginia.

This crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons at [email protected] or 703-228-4172. Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-8477.

Earlier: A person was taken to the hospital in grave condition after a serious two-vehicle crash near the East Falls Church Metro station.

The crash happened around 8:30 a.m. on N. Sycamore Street, at the intersection with Washington Blvd, and injured a total of five people.

The force of the collision ejected one of the drivers and they ended up trapped under a vehicle, said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Firefighters worked to free the driver and rush them to a local trauma center.

The crash left one of the vehicles, an orange FreshDirect grocery delivery box truck, on its side in the intersection. The other vehicle involved was a white work van. A van for a local barbecue restaurant could be seen parked nearby but it did not appear to be damaged nor involved.

Four people — three occupants of the vehicle that the injured driver was in, and one in the other vehicle — were transported by ambulance for injuries that are “considered non-life threatening,” police say.

Police remain on scene investigating the crash. The crash response and investigation has closed N. Sycamore Street at the intersection. The ramp from eastbound I-66 to Sycamore is also closed.

The closures are expected to remain in place for at least the next few hours, Savage said. Various Metrobus lines are being redirected around the crash site.

(Updated at 1 a.m.) The eyes of the nation are on the statewide races in Virginia tonight — and, at least occasionally, on Arlington, which is remaining deep blue.

Another Election Day has resulted in another decisive sweep for Arlington Democrats in the local races.

The narrowest win, relatively speaking, belongs to County Board member Takis Karantonis, who currently has just over 60% of the vote with all but two of Arlington’s 57 precincts reporting. His three independent challengers — Mike Cantwell, Audrey Clement and Adam Theo — have about 14%, 18% and 6% of the vote, respectively.

Democratic-endorsed School Board candidate Mary Kadera is cruising to victory and will replace fellow Democrat Monique O’Grady, who did not seek another term. In the House of Delegates races for districts that include Arlington, Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Parker-Bennett will be headed to Richmond in January, while Dels. Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan were all reelected.

All four of the county’s 2021 bond referenda will pass, with the $17 million “community infrastructure” bond receiving 71% yes votes, the lowest of the four.

More than half of Arlington registered voters cast ballots — 26.5% did so through early voting — though whether the turnout exceeds the 59% seen in the 2017 gubernatorial race will not be official until all of the votes are counted. The Arlington elections office said that it would not be able to complete the count until later this week due to outstanding ballots.

As for the statewide races, 76.5% of Arlington voters voted for Democrat Terry McAuliffe to return for a non-consecutive term in the governor’s mansion, as of 11 p.m. That’s down from the 80% that Gov. Ralph Northam received in 2017, and it will likely not be enough. Republican Glenn Youngkin currently has about 51% of the vote across the Commonwealth, to 49% for McAuliffe.

CNN briefly highlighted the vote in Arlington as its national prime time coverage focuses on the closely-watched race in Virginia, a state that had been trending bluer during the Trump era.

Major national outlets called the race for Youngkin around 12:30 a.m., later also calling it for GOP colleagues, Lieutenant Governor candidate Winsome Sears and Attorney General candidate Jason Miyares.

Prominent national election-watcher Dave Wasserman and Virginia Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett both called the race earlier in the night, after early returns favored Youngkin.

0 Comments

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Two workers were hurt after a construction accident at an Arlington elementary school.

It happened around 10:30 a.m. at Key Elementary School, in the former Arlington Traditional School building at 855 N. Edison Street. Firefighters and police are on scene.

Initial reports suggest part of a wall collapsed and the workers were struck by falling cinder blocks. Both are being rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

“It is related to the construction of the new kitchen,” APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said of the accident. “Two workers were injured… No students were near the site as it is only accessible by construction workers.”

Workplace safety officials are being requested to the scene to investigate the incident.

A portion of N. George Mason Drive in front of the school may be at least partially blocked by the emergency activity.

The principal of the school sent the following message to families this morning.

Dear Escuela Key Staff and Families,

I am writing to notify you about a construction accident which occurred in the area under renovation in the kitchen at Escuela Key this morning. No students were involved or near the site. The area where the construction is occurring is in the kitchen, which is sealed off and separate from students at all times. Two workers were injured and have been taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. I wanted you to be aware due to the increased police and fire department activity at the school this morning.

Thank you,

Marleny Perdomo
Principal

0 Comments

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington and neighboring jurisdictions battled a house fire near Shirlington.

Fire companies were initially dispatched to the Windgate townhouse development on the 2500 block of S. Arlington Mill Road for a reported electrical fire. The fire turned out to be at the nextdoor Heatherlea condo complex, along 28th Road S.

Flames were visible from the outside of the residence when the first firefighters arrived on scene, according to radio traffic. The fire was mostly contained to the home’s exterior and was extinguished before it could spread further.

Everyone was able to get out of the home and so far no injuries have been reported.

0 Comments

(Updated at 11 a.m.) Arlington police are investigating gunshots reportedly fired from a vehicle in the Shirlington area.

Described to first responders as a “drive-by shooting,” the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. on the stretch of 31st Street S. between the Shirlington and Fairlington neighborhoods.

The vehicle from which the shots were fired is described as a dark blue Toyota Prius. A lookout for the car was broadcast to police in neighboring jurisdictions.

So far there are no reports of anyone being struck by the gunfire.

Police are on scene investigating while medics stand by in case any gunshot victims are located.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

(Updated at 11 p.m.) Arlington firefighters guided passengers to safety after a Metro train derailed near Rosslyn tonight.

A train became disabled in a tunnel between the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations around 5 p.m. after at least one of the cars derailed. Some 400 passengers were estimated to be on the train, which went dark after third rail power was cut ahead of the rescue operation, while a light haze of smoke or dust was reported in the tunnel.

At least three passengers received some degree of medical attention, including one apparently suffering a panic attack, according to initial reports. There are no reports of anyone with significant injuries, but one person was transported via ambulance to a local hospital in stable condition, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

Early in the response, rescuers worked to access the train and its passengers via a hatch near the Iwo Jima memorial, closing a ramp along Route 50. Passengers were later evacuated from the train and walked down the track in groups to the Arlington Cemetery station.

The first of the evacuated passengers could be seen leaving the station on a live TV broadcast shortly before 7 p.m. As of 8 p.m., all passengers had been evacuated.

The Arlington Cemetery station is closed and Metro service on the Blue Line is likely to be interrupted for a significant amount of time as a result of the incident. Service changes will remain in effect on Wednesday.

A large emergency response filled Memorial Drive, outside the cemetery, alongside news crews and shuttle buses that ferried passengers back to another station to complete their journey.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it will investigate the derailment.

Stranded passengers posted photos and video on social media before and after being led down the tracks.

Read More

0 Comments

(Update at 5:20 p.m.) A man being held at the Arlington County jail has died after being found unconscious yesterday morning.

Clyde Spencer, 58, was in the jail’s medical unit when he was found unresponsive around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to a police department press release. He was rushed to Virginia Hospital Center following resuscitation efforts, but died last night. An exact cause of death was not given.

The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the lockup at 1435 N. Courthouse Road, said yesterday afternoon that the man was “in stable condition.” Today’s police department press release says Spencer’s condition “did not improve, and he was pronounced deceased at 5:58 p.m.”

The in-custody death will now be investigated by the recently-established Northern Virginia Critical Incident Response Team, according to the police department, which described the case as “an active criminal investigation.”

Spencer was jailed for trespassing, the press release noted.

The Arlington branch of the NAACP said in a statement today that this was the sixth death of an inmate in the past six years.

“This is unacceptable, unconscionable, and distressing,” the NAACP said. The full statement is below.

Over a year ago, on October 1, 2020, Daryl Becton died in the custody of the Arlington County Sheriff. In August of 2021, eleven months later, the ACPD said they were putting the final touches on their investigation and would have it to the Commonwealth Attorney “very soon.” Unfortunately, as of October 6, 2021, we have not received any updates that ACPD has sent their investigation to the Commonwealth Attorney over a year later. So now another Black man has died in the custody of the Sheriff at the Arlington County Detention Facility. While we don’t know the details yet and are getting contradictory information from official and unofficial sources, this is the SIXTH death of an Arlington County inmate in 6 years. 

Delayed answers for Mr. Becton’s family and now another death. This is unacceptable, unconscionable, and distressing to anyone following the deaths of inmates and our criminal justice system in Arlington, Virginia. We need closure to the investigation surrounding Mr. Becton’s untimely death, and ACPD must recuse itself from investigating this new death. Our community deserves an investigation by an impartial party to get to the bottom of death number 6, another person of color, and a fellow human being. 

The last publicly-reported inmate death was that of 46-year-old Darryl Becton in October 2020, the investigation into which remains in progress. Of the four others who died, three were also Black and one was white, according to a joint letter from Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur and Police Chief Andy Penn to the NAACP, shared with ARLnow.

Two of the men were found to have died of “natural causes” and one died of a drug overdose, the letter said. Jitesh Patel, the deceased inmate described as white, was a murder suspect who committed suicide in his cell with a jail-issued razor, the letter said.

The Critical Incident Response Team, established earlier this year “to investigate critical incidents involving law enforcement officers within the cooperating jurisdictions,” is investigating the latest inmate death at the request of Chief Penn, according to the ACPD press release.

The full press release is below.

Read More

(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Washington-Liberty High School was on lockdown this morning after the school received a call stating that a shooter was inside the building.

ARLnow received more than a dozen tips, some from parents of students, about the incident at 1301 N. Stafford Street. School staff say students have been moved to a safe location; ARLnow hears that several dozen students sheltered in place inside the school.

“We received an anonymous call this morning during arrivals claiming that there was a shooter in the building,” W-L Principal Tony Hall said in a message to staff and families. “While there is no evidence of an immediate threat, we immediately locked the building down and notified the Arlington County Police Department.”

“All students are in a secure location,” Hall added. “Students arriving have been temporarily moved to a safe location offsite while the ACPD conduct their investigation.”

SWAT teams searched the building while other officers directed traffic, including numerous school buses left without a place to go.

“Just prior to 8 a.m., police received the report of a possible active shooter at Washington and Liberty High School,” said police department Ashley Savage. “Arlington Public Schools placed the school on lockdown. Responding officers have not located evidence of a shooting nor any victims. Police are conducting a search of the building.”

Just before 10 a.m., Arlington County police said the “all clear” has been given and that there is “no apparent ongoing threat.”

Roads around the school were closed and sidewalks were full of students after the lockdown. Police asked groups of students milling about near the school to disperse. Students exiting the school were reunited with their parents.

Many students were evacuated to the Buck site across N. Quincy Street from the school and then to a nearby park. A student described confusion among students during the evacuation, though in a video shared with ARLnow students appeared to remain calm.

“There was just one teacher and one substitute handling a crowd of ~1,000 students as we marched to the park,” said Aaron, a W-L student. “After that, students began to disperse, walking/running to the subway, the library, the baseball field, etc. Some students began crying, others were scared, some were glad they could skip school.”

Around 10:15 a.m., Arlington Public Schools announced that school at W-L has been cancelled today:

Police are still investigating the anonymous report of a shooter inside the school this morning. There has been no evidence of an immediate threat. As a safety precaution, W-L is cancelling school for today, October 6. Walkers have been dismissed. Students who drove their cars cannot access their vehicles until the investigation is complete. Bus riders are being picked up and taken home now. Anyone who is a car rider or who needs to be picked up will be taken to Dorothy Hamm Middle School where parents can pick them up beginning at 10:30 a.m. W-L students at the Career Center will be dropped off at their bus stops. An update will be shared with the community when the investigation is complete, and we will provide the status for tomorrow.

Asked about a possible link between the “shooter” phone call and a subsequent shooting at a high school in Arlington, Texas, which injured at least four people, Savage said there’s no evidence of a connection thus far.

“The preliminary investigation has not revealed a link to any other cases, however, this remains an open and active investigation,” Savage told ARLnow.

In a letter to students and parents Wednesday afternoon, Hall said the school will “open on time and resume our normal schedule tomorrow, Oct. 7.”

“There will be additional police presence at school tomorrow,” the principal added.

0 Comments

A man who worked as an assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School is facing sex assault charges.

Police say Jonathan Zapata, a 30-year-old Arlington resident, sexually assaulted a female family member under the age of 18 over the course of two years from 2016-2018. He was arrested this morning in the Buckingham neighborhood and is facing two felony sex offense charges.

Arlington Public Schools has placed Zapata on administrative leave from his instructional assistant position, police said in a press release.

“The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school,” the Arlington County Police Department said. “Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected]

More from ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating a suspect charged with sex offenses and is seeking additional information and possible victims. Jonathan Almanza Zapata, 30, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with Forcible Sodomy and Aggravated Sexual Battery. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 10:36 p.m. on September 26, police were dispatched to a residence in the Douglas Park neighborhood for the late report of a sexual assault. Upon arrival, officers met with the female juvenile victim who reported that the suspect allegedly inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted her during incidents believed to have occurred between September 2016 and June 2018. Following an investigation by the Special Victims Unit, warrants were obtained for the suspect and he was taken into custody without incident this morning in the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive. The suspect is known to the victim and this is considered a domestic-related incident.

Arlington Public Schools has placed Mr. Almanza Zapata on administrative leave from his position as an instructional assistant at Carlin Springs Elementary School. The preliminary investigation has not uncovered evidence of inappropriate contact with children at the school. This remains an ongoing and active criminal investigation. Anyone with information about Mr. Almanza Zapata that may be pertinent to this case and/or who has had past inappropriate encounters with him is asked to contact Detective S. Gomez at 703-228-4173 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

×

Subscribe to our mailing list