Arlington, VA

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police responded en masse to an incident at the Ballston Quarter mall Saturday night.

In a 8:50 p.m. emergency alert, Arlington County described the incident as a “possible shooting.” Initial reports suggest a panic at the Regal Cinemas movie theater after a group of teens started shouting about an active shooter.

No evidence of a shooting was found, though police continued to search the theater throughout the night.

On Sunday morning, police said one juvenile male shouted about a shooter during a movie, leading to the panic. No shooting actually occurred, police confirmed.

The panic prompted people to flee and hide, though many sheltered in place in the theaters. In the Quarter Market food hall, below the mall, police responded to a report of people who had locked themselves in freezers. Some neighboring businesses including the Shake Shack across the street locked their doors while customers sought shelter.

One person suffered a minor injury as the mall was evacuated, police said.

Speaking to reporters, a group of Yorktown High School students who were watching IT Chapter 2 in the theater said the screen suddenly went blank and officers entered the theater, saying they were investigating a possible active shooteriVideo shows the students and other patrons walking out of the theater with their hands above their head, at the direction of police.

“It was scarier than the actual movie,” one teen said.

Another video, taken from across the street from the mall shortly after the initial report of a shooter, shows people running from the mall as sirens blared.

The panic spread as police responded to at least two other reports of armed suspects along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Around 9:15 p.m., numerous officers responded to the Uncle Julio’s restaurant in Ballston for an unconfirmed report of either a man with a gun or an active shooting. Scanner traffic later suggested that it was actually an angry customer, not a shooting.

Earlier, police also responded to the Clarendon Trader Joe’s for a report of a man with a gun and body armor. A suspect was detained but later released after an investigation determined he was legally open carrying a gun, a police spokeswoman said.

The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter could be seen flying overhead Ballston during the incident, assisting with the search for any possible suspects, but was later cleared to return to D.C. Park Police, Metro Transit Police, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police, the Federal Protective Service and Falls Church Police were among the law enforcement agencies that responded to the initial shooting reports with ACPD.

Roads around the mall are blocked by police. Officers have cleared crowds of pedestrians from outside the front of the mall, though many — including large groups of mall employees — were still standing along Wilson Blvd on either side of the mall more than an hour after the first 911 call.

There is no timetable for the mall, its parking garage and the roads around the mall reopening, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow shortly after 10 p.m., noting that officers were still conducting a “thorough” search of the building.

Video (top) courtesy Gibson L. Video (below) courtesy Naki Mendoza. Screenshot via @JasonSurbey/Twitter.

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Update on 9/11/19 — The victim has succumbed to her injuries, police say.

Earlier: A woman suffered critical injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood last night, police say.

The pedestrian crash happened around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Ohio Street, near Nottingham Elementary School.

“Police were dispatched to the report of a pedestrian-involved crash,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Kirby Clark. “The pedestrian, an adult female, was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.”

Clark said the driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. ACPD’s Critical Accident Team is investigating the crash.

The victim, whose name and age were not released, remains in critical condition in a local hospital as of noon Thursday, according to Clark. The woman was walking three dogs at the time of the crash, one of which died at a local animal hospital and another of which was injured, she said.

On a neighborhood listserv, a local resident noted that the scene was just steps from where a local mother was struck and killed by a passing truck in 2014.

“It’s been ANOTHER accident waiting to happen!” the resident wrote of the intersection, which is only a 2-way stop . “The children on my block, including my own, saw this poor woman bleeding in the road. I don’t want them or any of us to have to see this again.”

Map via Google Maps

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(Updated at 9:10 p.m.) Two people have been shot in an office building in Crystal City.

Police and medics responded en masse to the shooting, on the 1500 block of Crystal Drive. A female victim and a male suspect were both shot after police received multiple 911 calls about a possible domestic violence situation in an office suite, according to scanner traffic. Police confirmed later Wednesday afternoon that the shooting involved “a male suspect and female victim who were known to each other.”

The shooting happened around noon at the offices of the National Waste and Recycling Association. Police were previously called to the same office on July 15 for a report of a domestic situation involving threats made by a man against a female employee, ARLnow can report exclusively.

“Shots fired, shots fired!” an officer radioed to police dispatch upon entering the office. Witnesses told ARLnow that police rushed in to the building “fully armed” and told everyone to clear out.

Both people who were shot are reported to be in critical but stable condition and expected to survive, according Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. She said the shooting was “under investigation” and declined to immediately confirm whether the shooter was among those shot, nor would she say whether police fired any shots during their response.

A third person was reported to have suffered a minor foot injury during the incident, though it is unclear what caused it.

“I’m an Air Force veteran, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” a man who works in the building told ARLnow. He said the elevator does not require a fob or pass to get into the individual floors.

People in the building were said to be sheltering in place after the shooting, as police — including a SWAT team — searched the premises. The shelter in place status was lifted around 1:15 p.m., police said. The building is also home to an satellite office for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

Roads in the area were closed by a massive, multi-agency active shooter response.

In the chaos prior to police arriving on scene, as dispatchers fielded multiple 911 calls, responding officers were told that the suspect might have had a gun, that he had locked himself and the female victim in a room, and that at least one caller had heard a “pop.”

Asked this afternoon whether police fired any shots inside the office, Savage replied that the “investigation is ongoing” and “no additional details related to the shooting are available at this time.”

Later Wednesday evening, police said in a press release (below) that both the suspect and an officer fired weapons during the incident. The suspect, identified as a 47-year-old D.C. resident, is facing several felony charges.

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing that charges have been sought in relation to the shooting that occurred in the 1500 block of Crystal Drive on August 28, 2019. Warrants for Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony were issued for Mumeet Muhammed, 47, of Washington, D.C.

At approximately 12:00 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of a possible domestic situation involving a firearm. The preliminary investigation indicates that the armed male suspect forced entry into the occupied commercial suite and assaulted the female victim. Arriving officers made contact with the parties, and during the course of the incident, the suspect and an officer discharged their weapons.

The suspect and victim sustained gunshot wounds during the incident. They were transported by medics to an area hospital with critical injuries. Both the suspect and victim are expected to survive.

This remains an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact Detective M. Henretty of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4237 or [email protected]  Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Vernon Miles contributed to this report

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An office building in Virginia Square has been evacuated after a reported chemical spill in the building.

Firefighters — including hazmat teams and medics — responded to the Ballston Gateway building at 3865 Wilson Blvd around 1:45 p.m., for a report of up to 20 people suffering medical symptoms after a coolant tower leaked chemicals into the building’s penthouse.

The building was evacuated amid a large fire department response, which is currently blocking at least one westbound lane of Wilson Blvd.

Some office workers on lower floors of the building have since been let back in. First responders on the scene radioed fire dispatch to report only a couple of people with minor symptoms, including eye irritation and nausea. There’s no word yet on which chemical might have leaked.

Thus far there has been no report of anyone being taken to the hospital.

The office building is home to a number of companies, including high-profile Arlington startup ThreatConnect.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Numerous traffic lights are reported to be dark in Arlington` amid severe storms in the area.

Traffic signals along N. Glebe Road, from just north of Ballston to the Old Dominion Drive intersection, were dark as of 5:45 p.m. In addition to the busy intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, the signal at Lee Highway and N. George Mason Drive was also dark, prompting backups on westbound Lee (Route 29) from Cherrydale to the the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

Around the time of the lights going dark, firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Dinwiddie Street — near the KFC and Taco Bell — for a report of a blown electrical transformer.

As of 6:15 p.m., Dominion’s website reported 2,429 customers in Arlington without power, with the outages centered along Lee Highway

The National Weather Service has let the previous Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for Arlington expire as of 6 p.m., though thunderstorms and rain are still affecting the area.

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(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) An Arlington man has been arrested and charged with murder after a woman fell from an upper floor of a Crystal City hotel early this morning.

Police were called to a hotel on the 1300 block of Richmond Highway — which corresponds to the Embassy Suites by Hilton Crystal City National Airport — for a report of a woman who fell from a height onto the hotel lobby below.

The victim, who died at the scene, was identified as 63-year-old Arlington resident Zelalem Abedje. Following an initial investigation, police arrested a 27-year-old man for murder.

“The circumstances preceding the fall remain under investigation,” police said in a press release, below. “Tebebe Makonnen, 27, has been charged with Murder and is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.”

Last year Makonnen was arrested in Arlington and charged with sexual battery in connection with a reported assault of a woman inside a local medical office.

Including today’s incident, there have been three homicides in Arlington County in 2019 so far.

More from an ACPD press release:

Arlington County Police announce the arrest of an Arlington man following a suspicious death investigation in Crystal City. Tebebe Makonnen, 27, has been charged with Murder and is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 1:38 a.m. on August 20, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Richmond Highway for the report of an EMS assist. Upon arrival, an adult female was located deceased inside the lobby of a hotel after falling from an upper floor. The circumstances preceding the fall remain under investigation.

The victim has been identified as Zelalem Abedje, 63, of Arlington, Virginia. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Based on the preliminary investigation, this appears to be an isolated incident with no ongoing threat to the public.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective R. Munizza of the department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4171 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Photo (1) via Google Maps, (2) via Embassy Suites

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A reported ruptured gas line behind Papillon Cycles prompted evacuations and a road closure near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

As of 2:10 p.m., the gas leak has been stopped and police re-opened Walter Reed Drive, after temporarily closing it between the Pike and 9th Street S.

Some stores in the area, on the 2800 block of Columbia Pike, were evacuated during the incident, according to scanner traffic.

One restaurant owner said that means their business had to close, but told ARLnow, “but that’s fine, it’s a Wednesday so it’s slow anyway.”

A full fire department response has been dispatched to the scene as a precaution, as gas company crews work to stop the leak.

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(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) An Arlington Transit bus has careened into the Barton Street community garden after a crash near Courthouse.

The crash happened around 3:05 p.m. at the intersection of 10th Street N. and N. Barton Street.

At least two vehicles were involved: a sedan, which suffered heavy front-end damage, and an ART bus, which knocked over a light pole and street signs before coming to rest in the middle of the garden.

A passenger told ARLnow that the bus had a green light and was coming down the hill on Barton when it was struck by the sedan. The sedan’s driver was cited by officers for running a red light, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.

Passengers could be heard comforting the bus driver after the crash, saying it “could have happened to anyone.”

No serious injuries were reported, though one female passenger said her arm hurt. Drivers should expect lane closures on 10th Street and slow traffic in the area while crews work to clean up the crash scene.

The crash follows an incident on Tuesday in which an ART bus crashed into a building after rolling through a rental truck depot.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report.

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(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) An out-of-control Arlington Transit bus rolled into a number of parked vehicles and into a building along Columbia Pike.

The crash happened around noon today at the intersection of the Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

Around 10 passengers were on the bus, according to a fire department spokesman, when it rolled through a rental truck depot on the southeastern side of the intersection, near a 7-Eleven store. The bus struck several trucks and a car, which was pushed into a small building on the lot.

The bus passengers were evaluated by medics on scene. One person suffered a minor injury and was taken to the hospital, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant.

Three witnesses told ARLnow that the bus started rolling downhill after the driver exited the bus at a bus stop. Two of those witnesses, who were on the bus at the time, said one of the passengers jumped into the driver’s seat and steered the bus off to the side, away from traffic, thus running into the parking lot and the building.

The person who was injured was inside the building at the time of the crash, the witnesses said.

Police were unable to immediately corroborate the witness accounts provided to ARLnow. Officers remain on scene investigating the cause, an ACPD spokeswoman said, and a building inspector has been called to “evaluate structural integrity of the building.”

ART buses have been involved in a series of significant crashes over the past few years, including:

In January of this year ART blamed a shortage of drivers and persistent maintenance issues for a series of service disruptions.

Vernon Miles contributed to this report.

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A cement truck flipped on its side on the ramp from northbound I-395 to S. Glebe Road.

No injuries have been reported and the occupants of the truck were able to get out before emergency responders arrived on scene, according to scanner traffic. The circumstances surrounding the crash, which happened shortly before 1:30 p.m., are unclear.

The ramp is blocked as the crash cleanup gets underway.

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Update at 5:25 p.m. — It’s “too early to tell” whether a disaster declaration will be made due to the extensive damage from today’s flooding, an Arlington County spokeswoman tells ARLnow.com.

Per Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management:

Arlington County continues to work with state and local partners to assess the damage from today’s storms. Detailed damage assessments, especially for roadways and bridges, will take additional time as crews continue to assess impacts. Arlington PSCEM is in contact with VDEM and FEMA Region III and working to assess what assistance, if any, is available to our residents from state and federal programs.

Update at 5:20 p.m. — Chain Bridge has reopened.

Update at 4:25 p.m. — In Westover, a portion of 18th Street N. is closed due to the roadway being damaged by flooding. In High View Park/Hall’s Hill, a portion of 20th Street N. is closed at N. George Mason Drive for road repairs.

Update at 3:45 p.m. — Today’s event was classified as an “extraordinarily dangerous” Flash Flood Emergency by the National Weather Service. An NWS official said it was the first Flash Flood Emergency for Arlington and D.C. since the agency started using the classification in 2011.

Canal Road NW in D.C., meanwhile, will remain closed between Chain Bridge and Foxhall Road during the afternoon rush hour, officials said.

Update at 3:30 p.m. — A number of businesses in Westover Village are closed following this morning’s flooding.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. — Video posted to social media shows major flooding this morning in the area of 33rd and 34th streets at N. Kensington Street, several blocks from Yorktown High School. At least one home was reported to have been evacuated while several homes were damaged by floodwaters that reached mid-way up a front door.

Another video posted to Twitter shows flooding in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.

Update at 3 p.m. — Flooding has prompted the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington to cancel all events and activities, the church said via Twitter.

The GW Parkway has reopened near the airport after it was closed due to flooding.

The Cherrydale Branch Library is closing early due to “power issues.” Dominion is currently reporting 434 customers without power in Arlington, mostly in and around Rosslyn.

Update at 2:15 p.m. — Arlington’s Solid Waste Bureau says it will help residents track down waste carts the floated away during this morning’s rain and flooding. 

Update at 1:05 p.m. — Video (below) shows flooding in the Westover Market and its attached, outdoor beer garden.

Update at 1 p.m. — “As flood conditions continue, please be safe and avoid standing and moving water,” writes Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol. “As the weather moves on, you can find more resources about cleanup, protection and water damage at https://emergency.arlingtonva.us

Meanwhile, WAMU is reporting extensive flooding in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood. And a Flood Warning has been issued for Arlington until 6 p.m., replacing the earlier Flash Flood Warning.

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a

* Flood Warning for… The City of Fairfax in northern Virginia… Arlington County in northern Virginia… The City of Falls Church in northern Virginia… Fairfax County in northern Virginia… The City of Alexandria in northern Virginia…

* Until 600 PM EDT.

* At 1252 PM EDT, reporting gauges indicate larger streams are still rising from the earlier torrential rain, and many road closures
are still being reported. Although the threat of rapid rise life threatening flooding is diminishing, some flooding is likely to continue for the rest of the afternoon. Therefore, this Flood

Warning replaces the Flash Flood Warning.

* Some locations that will experience flooding include… Arlington, Alexandria, Reston, Annandale, Springfield, Herndon, Fairfax, Fort Hunt, Vienna, Groveton, Falls Church, Huntington, Lowes Island, Mantua, Fort Belvoir, Pimmit Hills, McLean, American Legion Bridge, Reagan National Airport and Rosslyn.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. All interested parties should take necessary precautions immediately.

Update at 12:35 p.m. — Route 110 is being opened back up, per scanner traffic.

Video sent to ARLnow shows a parking lot at Marine Corps base Henderson Hall completely flooded. Also, videos posted to social media (below) shows raging waters along Four Mile Run creek near the Shirlington dog park and along N. Kirkwood Road at the height of the storm.

Update at 12:15 p.m. — “Crews continue to inspect storm drains for blockages but many lines remain over capacity because of stream water levels,” says Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services.

Update at 12:10 p.m. — Flooding along Lubber Run may have washed out a pedestrian bridge, per a social media post.

Also per social media, debris and floodwaters have blocked the Four Mile Run trail near Shirlington.

Update at 12 p.m. — In addition to flooded basements, high standing water has been reported in a number of parking garages — including the Ballston Quarter parking garage and a garage used by Arlington County Police.

Chain Bridge remains closed at N. Glebe Road, with traffic being diverted onto Chain Bridge Road. Citing broadcast media, the National Weather Service reports major flooding along Canal Road:

NUMEROUS VEHICLES SUBMERGED ON CANAL ROAD NW NEAR FLETCHERS COVE BOATHOUSE. DRIVERS STRANDED ON VEHICLE ROOF TOPS, SOME SWAM TO SAFETY, AND OTHERS WERE ESCORTED TO SAFETY BY DC FIRE AND EMS.

More rain looks to be on the way, but we should start drying out later this afternoon.

Video posted to social media, meanwhile, shows a significant roof leak in the Virginia Square Metro station.

Update at 11:35 a.m. — A trained spotter in the Westover neighborhood reports 4.5 inches of rainfall so far this morning, per the National Weather Service, while Reagan National Airport reports nearly 3.5 inches of rainfall.

Arlington’s Emergency Communications Center says it has received 600 calls since 8:40 a.m., including 25 water rescues in Arlington and 27 flooded buildings.

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect for Arlington through 1:45 p.m.

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