Update at 6 p.m. — Arlington County Police have issued the following statement about today’s incident.
Staff at Bishop O’Connell High School contacted an Arlington County Police School Resource Officer after they received a bomb threat that was telephoned to the school. After the school was evacuated, canine resources from the US Park Police, WMATA Metro Transit Police, and Pentagon Force Protection Agency assisted Arlington County Police canine in conducting a thorough and systematic search of the school.
Students were able to be evacuated by school staff with the assistance of Arlington County Police Officers and they were sheltered in nearby Tuckahoe Elementary School, who was having a Parent-Teacher conference day.
There was no evidence of any explosives or hoax devices and the school was deemed clear a short time later.
It appears that this bomb threat may be related to similar threats in the region based on their nature and timing. We will work closely with the other affected jurisdictions to investigate these incidents.
Update at 2 p.m. — Students are now being allowed back into Bishop O’Connell.
Update at 1:10 p.m. — The evacuated students from the high school have been moved from the football field to Tuckahoe Elementary School, across the street. K-9 units from Metro Transit Police, U.S. Park Police and Pentagon police have arrived on scene to aid in a sweep of the school.
Update at 1:05 p.m. — Tuckahoe parents were sent a text message saying the school was being secured in connection with the Bishop O’Connell incident and evacuation.
In addition to O’Connell and George Mason High, evacuations are also underway due to threats received at five other schools in Northern Virginia, NBC 4 reports: Herndon High School in Herndon, McLean High School in McLean, The Potomac School in McLean, Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn and Falls Church High School in Falls Church. (We’ve since updated this list as NBC 4 corrected its article.)
Earlier: Bishop O’Connell High School is being evacuated due to a bomb threat, ARLnow.com has learned.
Police and K-9 units are en route to the private Catholic school.
The evacuation was reported just minutes after another local high school — George Mason High School in Falls Church — was evacuated due to a bomb threat.
George Mason High School is being evacuated following receipt of a bomb threat this morning. MORE: https://t.co/4YWmBzYdDn
— FCCPSAlert (@fccpsalert) March 4, 2016
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Arlington County Police and the county fire marshal are investigating the death of a woman in the High View Park neighborhood.
The 69-year-old woman’s son found her dead from in the kitchen of her home on 18th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Three people, including the woman and her son, live in the home, she said.
Authorities were initially investigating a report of an explosion in the kitchen, according to scanner traffic. An explosion has since been ruled out, Savage said, but there was some sort of a fire inside the home.
The stove burners were on when the woman was first found but police have not determined whether she died from an accident, from natural causes or otherwise, Savage said. At this time foul play is not suspected, she added, nor is there believed to be any sort of gas leak in the area.
“There’s no threat to the public,” said Savage, “but this is an active investigation.”
A fire truck was dispatched to the home to assist with ventilation, Savage confirmed. The street has been closed to traffic by police, though neighbors are being allowed to walk to their homes.
Property records show that the couple who owns the home has owned it for at least 23 years.
The compromise is intended to appease lawmakers from outside the Beltway, many of whom opposed the idea of tolling I-66 without adding capacity to the often clogged highway. It’s likely to rankle some residents in Arlington, where in the 1970s a citizens group formed to oppose the construction of I-66 in the first place. That group now advocates for a “wiser, not wider” I-66.
According to various news reports, the compromise calls for eastbound I-66 to be widened to three through lanes between the Dulles Connector Road the Fairfax Drive/Glebe Road exit, within the existing highway right-of-way.
Outside-the-Beltway lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, were calling for I-66 to be widened before being tolled. The McAuliffe administration’s plan for converting I-66 to high-occupancy toll lanes inside the Beltway during rush hour — tolls for vehicles with 1-2 occupants, free to those with 3 or more occupants — was in danger of being blocked in the Virginia General Assembly without the compromise. The plan originally called for widening to be considered as a last resort, after studying the efficacy of the HOT lanes in improving traffic congestion.
“If we don’t take this deal now, it’s not going to happen for a generation,” state Sen. Barbara Favola said, as quoted by NBC 4.
The deal will allow tolling on I-66 to begin in 2017 and the new lane to be in place by 2020, at a construction cost of $140 million, according to WTOP.
Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey released a statement on the plan shortly after it was announced, expressing disappointment.
We are disappointed with the news of the amended plan for I-66, which will immediately widen I-66. We respect that Governor McAuliffe and his administration worked hard to protect the earlier plan, which delayed the widening of I-66 until we had several years’ worth of experience with multimodal solutions. We appreciate that — aside from the decision to widen immediately — many of the original elements remain intact:
- Toll revenue is dedicated to multimodal improvements;
- NVTC (our region’s transit agency) receives the toll revenue;
- Local governments retain the authority to spend these funds on local projects; and
- Any widening occurs within existing right-of-way.
As the new plan moves forward, Arlington will be vigilant, working to ensure that appropriate environmental analyses are completed efficiently and comprehensively. We will do all we can to mitigate harm from the widening, and we will explore possible improvements to accompany the widening. As always. Arlington will be working to promote improved regional transit. We need frequent, reliable, and comfortable transit systems along the east-west corridor that get people quickly to where they want to go.
Update at 3:00 p.m. — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has weighed in with an interesting statement, suggesting that Arlington County’s opposition to a partial I-66 widening, as proposed, may not be too strong.
Arlington County had a longstanding agreement that I-66 would not be widened inside the Beltway. Today’s announcement by Governor McAuliffe changes that understanding, and with no public input so far.
My initial reaction is one of concern for Northern Virginians who have worked – many of them for decades – for an alternative approach to big highways. But I continue to learn details of the proposal and to listen to constituents on all sides of this issue.
Early conversations with elected officials who represent Arlington County indicate that Arlington is more open to this partial I-66 widening than in the past, and that the potential benefits from I-66 tolls will bring important transit and multi-modal benefits to the surrounding corridor. I remain dubious about additional asphalt, and await input from my Arlington and other constituents about today’s proposal.
Update at 11:55 a.m. — After the jump, the press release from Gov. McAuliffe’s office.
We reported in November that the DMV was planning to end its lease this spring and move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in the Falls Church area.
The planned move was not particularly well-received in Arlington nor in Fairfax County, where the new DMV office was to open. Del. Lopez organized a community meeting in Arlington to hear concerns about the plan, while residents of Fairfax County’s Mason District lambasted the plan and the anticipated traffic and parking problems the new DMV would bring.
“The locals really did not like it,” Lopez noted.
In a quick series of deals this month, the DMV was released from its Barcroft Plaza lease and renewed its lease at 4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive, according to Lopez. The state government will even get a reduction on its rent.
“It’s good for the community and it’s good for the state,” Lopez said. “I think everyone wins with this deal — the state government, the property owners and Arlington County. It’s really good news for South Arlington, for all of Arlington in terms of DMV convenience.”
The new DMV office that’s planned for Virginia Square, meanwhile, is still expected to open later this spring. The press release from Del. Lopez’s office is below.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has signed a lease to keep open the Arlington Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive. In addition to continuing convenient service in South Arlington, the DMV will move forward with its plans to open an additional office in the Ballston area to increase service for all Arlington residents.
“I was very happy to work with Commission Holcomb and his team to ensure that DMV service remains in South Arlington. I am also pleased that DMV is adding additional service in the Ballston area of Central Arlington,” said Delegate Lopez (D-Arlington).
In a letter to legislators on Friday afternoon, Commissioner Holcomb commented, “I want to particularly thank Delegate Alfonso Lopez for his able assistance with initiating discussions that resulted in negotiations of an extremely favorable deal for the Commonwealth to remain in South Arlington.”
According to the letter, the new lease includes a substantial rent reduction, money for tenant improvements, a more equitable facility maintenance structure, and a parking lot study/redesign.
Update at 4:50 p.m. — The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward in the case.
Earlier: Arlington County Police are on scene of a bank robbery at the Wells Fargo in Pentagon City, across from Costco.
Police detained at least one possible suspect after arriving on scene. They also investigated a report of a man seen running through the nearby Residence Inn hotel. However, the latest report is that surveillance footage suggests the suspect fled in a vehicle immediately following the robbery.
The suspect is described as a 5’9″ black male, wearing a dark baseball cap, red scarf, a gray hoodie and baggy sweatpants.
Anyone with information on the robbery or the suspect is asked to call police at 703-558-2222.
(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are on the scene of an attempted bank robbery in Rosslyn.
The incident happened around 4:45 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Bank on the 1300 block of Wilson Blvd.
Initial reports suggest a man came into the bank and passed a note to the teller, but then panicked and ran off. No weapon was seen.
The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s or 30s, wearing a surgical mask and a beard, along with a blue cap, construction boots and a small backpack.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A woman has died following a crash in the Market Common Clarendon parking garage, which serves Whole Foods customers.
The crash happened around 4 p.m., in the underground garage at 2700 Clarendon Blvd.
A woman in a gray Honda station wagon suffered some sort of a medical emergency while trying to exit the parking garage. After pulling up to the gate, she suddenly started going in reverse at a high rate of speed, then started driving forward again, according to a police spokesman. She struck at least 3-4 other vehicles before crashing into a concrete pillar.
The woman was in cardiac arrest and bleeding from her head while being treated by medics, according to scanner traffic and witness accounts. She was transported via ambulance to a local hospital. A second injured person, believed to be the driver of one of the cars that was struck, was also transported to the hospital.
A small crowd gathered in the garage while police photographed the scene and firefighters cleaned up a trail of blood on the concrete. One witness said the woman had just finished shopping at Whole Foods minutes before the accident.
As of 4:45 p.m., the garage entrance was closed and a portion of the parking area was roped off by crime scene tape.
(Updated at 11:55 p.m.) Two suspects are in custody after leading Arlington County Police on a vehicle pursuit through the District of Columbia, following a shooting near the Pentagon City mall.
The alleged road rage incident happened around 3:10 p.m., at the 15th Street South exit of the mall’s parking lot. NBC 4 reported that a driver was having trouble using a credit card to exit from one of the gates. The driver was trying to get the car behind to let them reverse out, when someone in that car fired a gunshot in the air.
Witnesses called 911 and reported the shooting, describing the suspect vehicle as white in color with D.C. tags
A car matching the description given to police was spotted by an officer on I-395. That led to a pursuit across the 14th Street Bridge into D.C., near the National Mall, and back on I-395 before ending at 3rd and F Streets NW, near the Third Street Tunnel, where the suspects bailed out and took off running.
Arlington police, aided by D.C. police, were able to chase and apprehend both suspects, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
Reginald Carroll, a 21-year-old D.C. resident, has been charged with willfully discharging a firearm in public and felony eluding. Calvin Pelzer, also 21 years old and from D.C., has been charged with discharging a firearm and obstruction of justice.
The suspects threw a gun out of the window during the vehicle pursuit, Malcolm said. It was recovered along I-395 near the GW Parkway.
Arlington County Police normally don’t engage in car chases, but department policy specifies that such pursuits are authorized for violent crimes involving firearms, “for the safety of the community,” according to Malcolm.
No one was reported injured in the shooting. As of early Friday evening, investigators were still looking for bullet casings and other evidence near the scene. They’re also trying to find other witnesses as well as the other driver involved, who fled after the shooting.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Malcolm said.
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) Three suspects are in custody after a vehicle pursuit ended near Benjamin Banneker Park in a quiet East Falls Church neighborhood.
The chase of a stolen vehicle that may have originated in Loudoun County was reported to Arlington authorities as it made its way down the Dulles Toll Road. The vehicle sped down toll road to I-66, with Fairfax County Police cruisers, the FCPD helicopter and Virginia State Police in pursuit, before exiting at East Falls Church.
The suspect vehicle finally came to a stop at N. Underwood Street and 18th Street N., near the entrance to Benjamin Banneker Park, around 3:30 p.m. Numerous vehicles were reported to be struck by the suspects in Arlington while they pushed through stopped traffic in the area of Lee Highway and N. Fairfax Drive.
Initially, only one suspect was taken into custody and two were reported to be fleeing on foot, according to scanner traffic. The helicopter and numerous Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and Metro Transit Police officers successfully searched for the suspects who were quickly apprehended.
A man and two women were arrested and are expected to face numerous charges, we’re told.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene for a report that the suspect vehicle caught fire after the crash. The fire was quickly extinguished.
(Updated 6:35 p.m.) All lanes of Columbia Pike are blocked due to an overturned vehicle near Thai Square restaurant.
One person was reported to be trapped and injured. Firefighters removed the man from the vehicle, a Honda hatchback, and transported him to a local hospital.
The trapped driver is suspected of DUI, according to scanner traffic.
Initial reports suggest the driver in the Honda was driving westbound on Columbia Pike when he struck the rear quarter panel of a parked sedan, causing the Honda to flip on its side. An earlier report that the suspected DUI driver was in a different vehicle was incorrect.
All lanes of the Pike are closed between S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Glebe Road were closed for about an hour. The stretch reopened around 6:35 p.m.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Southbound Route 1 was closed between 20th and 23rd streets, near Crystal City, due to a multi-vehicle crash this afternoon.
At least 9 vehicles were involved and medics responded for at least two injuries. One of the injured parties, a young mother, was transported to a local hospital after being trapped in her severely damaged Prius. Rescuers cut off the roof of the car to free her.
The crash was caused by a driver in a pickup truck who suffered a medical emergency while driving, according to initial reports.
The truck ran right through a line of southbound traffic approaching the intersection with 23rd Street, slamming into vehicles, losing a wheel and careening across the intersection before striking a pole and coming to a stop across the street from Legal Sea Foods, witnesses said.
“It was like a pinball machine,” a witness told ARLnow.com. The pickup truck driver was evaluated by medics on the scene but declined transport to the hospital, according to scanner traffic.
Southbound traffic was diverted onto 20th Street for about an hour. As of 3:10 p.m. two lanes of traffic were squeezing by, though there was still debris in the roadway and crews were still working to clear wrecked cars from the roadway.
The Prius driver is expected to be okay. She was returning home from work when the crash happened, said the woman’s father, who arrived on scene to pick up a child seat and stroller that had been in the car. Her two-month-old child was not in the car at the time, he said.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) A man has been badly injured after jumping off a bridge while running from Arlington County police.
The incident happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday on Shirlington Road, between the Shirlington and Nauck neighborhoods
The man was pulled over after being spotted driving recklessly on I-395, weaving in and out of traffic and driving on the shoulder at an excess rate of speed, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. He exited the highway at Shirlington and pulled into an Exxon parking lot.
After stopping the car, the man got out and started running, shouting that officers would have to shoot him to stop him, Sternbeck said. While fleeing he jumped from the Shirlington Road bridge over Four Mile Run and fell onto rocks some 20 feet below.
The man was still breathing but was bleeding profusely from a “severe head injury” in which brain matter could be seen, according to scanner reports. He was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University hospital.
The car the man was driving was reported to be a rental car. Police say he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
No word yet on the man’s identity, but police said he is 37 years old and from Fort Washington, Maryland. He’s currently listed in critical condition, clinging to life but unresponsive, we hear.
The Shirlington Road bridge was closed in both directions for a period of time while investigators documented the scene.
Police say Latasha Bigsby and Tanya Jones each embezzled “several thousand dollars” from the Hoffman-Boston Elementary School PTA in separate, unconnected incidents.
Both are charged with felony embezzlement, while Jones also faces a charge related to document forgery.
Bigsby stole from the PTA between 2007 and 2008, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. She was arrested Sept. 28 and has cooperated with investigators, police noted.
Bigsby was working as an administrative assistant at Hoffman-Boston, which is located in the Arlington View neighborhood along Columbia Pike. She is no longer an Arlington Public Schools employee, Assistant Superintendent Linda Erdos told ARLnow.com.
Jones was the treasurer of the Hoffman-Boston PTA, according to school documents. She’s accused of embezzling funds between 2012 and 2014. Charges against Jones stemmed from the investigation into Bigsby, police said.
Jones turned herself in to police today. An attorney for Bigsby did not respond to a request for comment.
A conviction on felony embezzlement charges is punishable by one to 20 years in prison.
Arlington County Police have arrested a suspect in the April 17 stabbing death of Aurora Highlands resident Bonnie Delgado Black.
Police arrested 46-year-old David Black, the victim’s ex-husband, earlier today following a grand jury indictment. He’s charged with first degree murder and burglary.
Last month police searched Black’s house — which was several blocks from his estranged wife’s home, where she was found dead — and removed bikes and other items as evidence. Speaking to television reporters at the time, neighbors said they were nervous to have Black still living in the community.
Bonnie Black was a psychologist who did contract work for the FBI. She was found stabbed to death after her young children were found wandering outside her home by a neighbor.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit and Tactical Unit have taken David Black, 46, of Arlington, VA, into custody pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. These charges stem from the murder of his estranged wife, Bonnie Black which occurred on April 17, 2015 in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood of Arlington County. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charges him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony.
A neighbor discovered the victim’s two young children wandering outside of the home in the early morning hours of April 17, 2015. At 7:50 a.m., Arlington County Police responded to the 1100 block of 18th Street South where officers discovered the 42 year-old female victim deceased inside her residence.
A special investigative grand jury was convened by the Arlington County Circuit Court and heard evidence and testimony surrounding the murder of Bonnie Black. Today that grand jury returned an indictment against David Black and he was arrested without incident.
Police say a 19-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted abduction in connection to at least three sexual assault cases. The man was arrested early this morning and has confessed to multiple attempted sexual assaults, according to police.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department arrested and charged a 19 year-old subject early this morning with two counts of attempted abduction with the intent to defile for his role in multiple sexual assault incidents. Melvin Perez Bonilla, 19, of Arlington, VA is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Bonilla confessed to multiple sexual assault attempts in the county during questioning at police headquarters and is believed to be responsible for a similar attack that occurred in August. Police are awaiting DNA analysis results from the state lab for that incident for confirmation of his involvement.
The initial attack occurred July 25, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Scott Street at approximately 1:20 a.m. as the 25 year-old victim was walking alone in the Clarendon area. A second attack took place August 8, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Highland Street at approximately 2:45 a.m. as a 29 year-old year victim was walking alone. A third attack occurred on September 29, 2015 in the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street at approximately 10:20 p.m. on a 23 year-old female victim as she was walking home.
The victims in each of these attacks assisted detectives by providing details of the events and the description of their assailant. A composite sketch based upon a victims’ description had previously been released. Detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit and investigators assigned to the Tactical Unit worked with Metro Transit Police to obtain surveillance video and other information to identify the suspect. Tactical Unit officers took Bonilla into custody when they observed him exiting a Metro Bus in the Courthouse area in the early morning hours of October 7, 2015.
“Our officers have taken a dangerous individual off the streets and the community should feel a little safer knowing he is behind bars,” comments Daniel J. Murray, Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations Division for Arlington County Police Department.
Anyone who has information regarding these incidents or concerning Bonilla is asked to call Detective Icolari at 703.228.4240 or email [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).