Press Club
Police car speeding to a call at night (staff photo)

Shots were fired in the Buckingham neighborhood Wednesday night, and one bullet when through the window of a nearby home.

The gunfire rang out around 9:45 p.m. near the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and N. Park Drive, about four blocks southwest of Ballston Quarter mall.

No one was reported to be hurt but at least one bullet went through a resident’s window.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

SHOTS FIRED, 2022-04130237, 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road. At approximately 9:47 p.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the area of N. Park Drive and N. Carlin Springs Road for the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers located evidence confirming multiple shots had been fired in the area. While on scene investigating, a resident in the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs reported a bullet had entered their home through a window. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Elsewhere in Arlington on Wednesday, someone threw a rock through the window of a business in Ballston. Initial reports suggest it was the Melting Pot restaurant, though Arlington police typically do not reveal the exact location of crimes.

“At approximately 9:23 a.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the late report of a destruction of property,” said a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 8:44 a.m., the unknown suspect approached the business and threw rocks at the building, causing damage and breaking two of the exterior windows. The suspect then fled the scene on foot.”

On Wednesday afternoon, police responded to another incident of someone firing a pellet gun from a car, this time near the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center. The suspects were later stopped by police but the person who was struck by the pellets declined to prosecute.

From ACPD:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2022-04130195, 2900 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 3:46 p.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the reporting party who advised she had observed a vehicle traveling in the area while the passenger discharged a pellet gun at pedestrians. A short time later, a victim contacted the Emergency Communications Center and reported being struck by the pellets and declined medical attention. Officers canvassed the area, located the suspect vehicle, conducted a traffic stop and identified the occupants. The victim declined prosecution at the time and the investigation is ongoing.

0 Comments
Approximate location of carjacking near Ballston (via Google Maps)

A driver was carjacked Wednesday morning in the Buckingham neighborhood, just south of Ballston.

The incident happened just before 6 a.m. on the 4100 block of 4th Street N. and involved three male suspects believed to be between the ages of 20 and 30.

“At approximately 5:50 a.m. on April 6, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was outside his vehicle when the three unknown suspects approached and pushed him aside before entering the vehicle and fleeing the scene.”

It’s the second reported carjacking in Arlington of the year, after the following incident in late February.

CARJACKING, 2022-02270120, Unit block of N. Columbus Street. At approximately 12:35 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and victim met for the prearranged sale of a vehicle. During a test drive of the vehicle, the suspect brandished a firearm, threatened the victim and demanded his property. The victim was able to exit the vehicle before the suspect fled the scene in the stolen vehicle with the victim’s cell phone and wallet. The victim was not injured.

Also in late February, a vehicle that was carjacked in Maryland was spotted in Pentagon City, leading to a brief pursuit and PIT maneuver by Virginia State Police on I-395.

Arlington is now roughly on the same pace for carjackings as last year. There were eight carjackings in Arlington in 2021, compared to 16 in 2020. The drop was attributed to an increased law enforcement and prosecutorial focus on carjackings, as well as the formation of a regional task force to combat a region-wide increase.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

The weather may be windy and cold today, but it was sunny and more spring-like on Friday for the opening of a local retirement community’s famed daffodil garden.

A number of local officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Culpepper Garden community for low-income seniors, located in the Buckingham neighborhood at 4435 N. Pershing Drive.

Among the officials were County Board Chair Katie Cristol, County Board member Libby Garvey, County Manager Mark Schwartz, and state Senator Barbara Favola. They were joined by Arlington first responders, who helped to cut the ribbon on the spring garden, which features some 33,000 flowers in bloom, according to Culpepper Garden.

The garden was renovated and expanded during the pandemic and is tended to by a mix of volunteers, professional gardeners and staff.

A press release about the event is below.

Read More

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Ballston Quarter’s outdoor Christmas tree (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Shot Fired in Buckingham — “At approximately 3:04 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of shots heard in the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim exited an apartment, encountered the two suspects in the hallway and confronted them. A physical altercation ensued, and one suspect produced a firearm. During the struggle, a shot was fired, causing damage to the door of an apartment. The suspects then fled the scene. Responding officers recovered the firearm.” [ACPD]

Driver Strikes Child in Falls Church — “At approximately 4:15 p.m., Falls Church Police and Arlington County Fire and Medical units were dispatched for a report of vehicular crash with injuries involving a pedestrian, approximately 3 to 4 years old. The victim was taken to Fairfax Hospital and is currently listed in critical condition. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. The preliminary investigation is still underway with no additional details at this time.” [City of Falls Church, Twitter]

Huge Covid Testing Line Monday Evening — “The Court House Curative kiosk COVID-19 testing line is probably 100+ people long right now.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Fairlington Fire Station’s Future in Flux — “The Arlington government three years ago closed Fire Station #7 over concerns about the structural integrity of its flooring. It has since been determined that it would be too costly to upgrade the facility to resume its original function, but competing planning priorities coupled with the COVID crisis have left the building’s future unclear. A community process to determine the future of Fairlington’s 1940s-era, one-bay fire station has been on hold during the COVID crisis, but may be tackled in early 2022.” [Sun Gazette]

Fire Departments Struggling With Staffing — From public safety watchdog Dave Statter “Alexandria isn’t alone. Area fire department staffing is impacting the number of fire & EMS units available at a time when Covid is surging. There’s also significant impact on EMS availability due to hospital staffing leaving ambulance crews stuck at EDs with patients.” [Twitter]

Local Scholarship Application Now Open — “Arlington Community Foundation (ACF) launched its 2022 scholarship application today, providing Arlington high school students with an opportunity to compete for more than 70 scholarships worth over $525,000 in student aid. A single, common application gives students an easy way to apply for an award from more than 55 individual scholarship funds.” [Press Release]

Marymount Now Requiring Booster Shot — “On Monday, Marymount University administrators shared with its community members an enhanced COVID-19 vaccination policy that will require a booster shot for all students, faculty and staff who will be physically present on campus during the upcoming semester, a precautionary measure designed to ensure the best possible protection against the virus.” [Press Release]

It’s Tuesday — Today will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Sunrise at 7:23 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high near 48 and wind gusts as high as 24 mph. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments

Some overnight water valve work in the Buckingham neighborhood near Ballston went seriously wrong, but luckily no one was hurt.

The photos above tell the story: a county dump truck somehow rolled into a large hole that was cut in the road to allow the water infrastructure work, near the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and 2nd Street N.

“We can confirm that no one was injured when a Water, Sewer, Streets vehicle accidentally ended up in one of the road surface openings created this week for overnight water valve replacements in the neighborhood,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Peter Golkin told ARLnow this morning. “A thorough review of safety and operational protocols is already under way.”

Officials are hopeful the truck, which has since been removed from its precarious position, will only need minor repairs.

“Initial inspection appears to indicate no major damage to the truck but we’ll know more once it’s towed to the County’s Equipment Shop,” Golkin said.

0 Comments

A man who was arrested for attempting to rob a store in Arlington two days ago had just posted bond for another arrest in Fairfax County on Monday.

Karim Clayton, a 44-year-old D.C. resident, attempted to steal electronics from a pharmacy in the Buckingham neighborhood on Tuesday, according to Arlington County police. On Sunday, a Fairfax County Police Department official said he was arrested for assault and battery and held on a $2,000 secure bond.

He posted bail on Monday at 3:10 p.m., the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. The office said it does not have information on how he settled his bond nor is it public information.

After his was released, Clayton tried to rob the CVS on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“[The] male suspect entered the business and allegedly began placing electronics into a cart,” said the report. “The suspect then attempted to exit the store without paying for the items and was confronted by an employee. The suspect pushed passed the employee, grabbed a few items out of the cart and fled the scene on foot prior to the arrival of police.”

An officer pulled Clayton over a couple of blocks away while trying to drive off and arrested him “without incident,” the report said. He was held on no bond.

The charge listed for this incident is accessory to robbery using force, per Arlington court records.

Meanwhile, yesterday (Wednesday), Clayton was set to appear in Alexandria General District Court for a grand larceny charge he is facing there. It appears he could not be located, however, as the courts marked Clayton on “fugitive file.”

A tipster described Clayton as being “a one-man petty crime wave in Northern Virginia over the last year.”

He was found guilty of petit larceny on June 8, 2020, according to the Fairfax County Police Department, just three days before he robbed a CVS in the Fair Oaks section of Fairfax County and led Virginia State Police on a high-speed chase through part of Arlington.

On June 11, Clayton attempted to elude police and during his flight from police, he hit a parked car and kept driving, FCPD said. State troopers pursued on I-66 him until he crashed near N. Ohio Street in Arlington.

Clayton was charged with grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell or distribute, speeding to elude law enforcement, a hit and run and driving without a license.

He was only prosecuted in Arlington on the charges of eluding police, and sentenced to 180 days in prison with 171 days suspended, according to court records. His license was suspended for 30 days and he was fined $572. The fine is now past due, along with three others levied in Arlington General District Court over the past year or so, records show.

Between then and his alleged attempted robbery on Tuesday, he’s been charged with five counts of grand and petit larceny.

He has been found guilty three times so far, with one case pending. In those cases, he was sentenced to two 180-day stretches in prison, each with 135 days suspended, and one 90-day sentence fully suspended.

He is next due in court on the latest robbery charge on Nov. 15.

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).

Police are looking for a pair of suspects after a man was stabbed in the Buckingham neighborhood Sunday night.

The stabbing happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street, several blocks south of Ballston.

A witness told investigators that two men pushed the victim up against a parked vehicle and stabbed him with a knife. The stabbing followed an argument that turned physical, the witness said.

Officers rendered aid to the victim, who is expected to be okay, according to the Arlington County Police Department. The suspects fled and, as of Monday afternoon’s ACPD crime report, remain at large.

More from the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2021-09190174, N. Pershing Drive at N. Thomas Street. At approximately 9:37 p.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon just occurred. Upon arrival, officers located the victim who had sustained stab wounds and began rendering aid until the arrival of medics. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and, refused to provide information to police pertaining to the incident. During the course of the investigation, officers made contact with a witness who stated that he was driving in the area when he noticed three individuals arguing and pushing each other. The witness called out to the group and observed Suspect One and Suspect Two push the victim up against a parked vehicle. Suspect Two then brandished a knife and stabbed the victim. The two suspects then fled the scene prior to the arrival of police. A search of the area for the suspects concluded with negative results. Suspect One is described as a short Hispanic male with a buzz cut, wearing a light colored tank top and blue pants. Suspect Two is described as a short Hispanic male, approximately 5’3″, wearing a dark colored hat with a goatee, baggy pants and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

Airbags were stolen from a number of vehicles in several Arlington neighborhoods overnight Friday.

The thefts were reported in the Buckingham, Bluemont and Westover neighborhoods. In all, seven vehicles were “forcibly entered into and had their air bags stolen,” according to the Arlington County Police Department.

Airbags are a lucrative target for thieves, who can reportedly sell them on the black market for a couple hundred dollars. Arlington has been no stranger to even larger airbag theft sprees over the years.

More on last week’s series of thefts, from and ACPD crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2021-08130066/08130067/08130078/08130083, 4400 block of N. Pershing Drive/5700 block of 11th Street N./700 block of N. Kensington Street/5600 block of 5th Street N. At approximately 6:54 a.m. on August 13, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. The investigation revealed that in total, seven victim vehicles were found to have been forcibly entered into and had their air bags stolen. Additionally, tools were stolen from one of the vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

0 Comments

(Updated at 9:15 a.m.) A theft suspect in Pentagon City ran onto the tracks Sunday afternoon, causing major delays for riders.

The theft was reported around 2 p.m., from a store on the 1200 block of S. Hayes Street, a block that includes the Pentagon City mall and the Pentagon Centre shopping center.

The man was spotted by officers at the Pentagon City Metro station and fled onto the tracks. Officers were unable to locate him during their initial search, but he was seen again at the Metro station around 4:45 p.m. Arlington County police along with Metro Transit Police and Pentagon police were then able to establish a perimeter and take him into custody.

Trains were halted in the area and a shuttle service established before the suspect, a 27-year-old Maryland man, was finally taken into custody.

More from ACPD and social media:

LARCENY (Significant), 2021-07180152, 1200 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 2:08 p.m. on July 18, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business, allegedly selected merchandise and left without paying. The suspect fled from responding officers into the Pentagon City Metro and entered the tracks. The tracks were searched with negative results. At approximately 4:42 p.m., the suspect was observed inside the Pentagon City Metro. A perimeter was established, and with the assistance of Metro Transit Police and Pentagon Force Protection Agency, the suspect was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. While in custody, he provided false information to officers regarding his identity. Deallen Price, 27, of District Heights, MD was arrested and charged with Grand Larceny, False ID to Avoid Arrest, Obstruction of Justice and Trespassing.

Monday’s Arlington crime report included a number of other notable incidents, including:

  • A woman was arrested Friday afternoon after robbing a store at the Pentagon City mall and handing the stolen items to a teen boy while fleeing into the Pentagon City Metro station.
  • A man drove onto the sidewalk and struck a man he had recently argued with at a Buckingham area restaurant early Sunday morning.
  • A man in his 50s or 60s exposed himself to a man along Wilson Blvd in Ballston Friday afternoon, then started masturbating and following the victim while continuing to masturbate.
  • A man grabbed a woman inappropriately and pulled her towards him, while she was sitting outside a business in the Clarendon area early Saturday morning.

More from the Arlington County Police Department, below.

Read More

Mariflor Ventura made headlines earlier this year for helping her Buckingham neighbors during the pandemic.

Dubbed an “Arlington superwoman” by ABC 7, Ventura has been finding and distributing donations and handing out food and basic supplies for a year — an experience that has changed her life.

But now, she is drowning in donations and buckling under the weight of unyielding need. Still, Ventura is determined to give a leg up to people who have fallen on hard times and is looking for ways to structure and sustain her work.

“I love Arlington,” she said. “Whatever I can do, I’m here.”

Ventura, who is a bus attendant with Arlington Public Schools, began helping her neighbors last year during the lockdowns when school was virtual. Through a local Facebook group, she found items for free and distributed them to her neighbors.

The network expanded quickly, especially after giving an interview in Spanish, which reached immigrant communities as far as Woodbridge.

“This year has been busier than when I started,” she said. “I’m going to have to take a vacation from the donations to spend time with my kids.”

Eventually, Ventura migrated her operation from the “Arlington Neighbors” Facebook group to her own Buckingham Mutual Aid Organization Arlington group. She recently started an Amazon wishlist to facilitate in-kind donations.

“I stopped fundraising because I don’t want to manage money,” which could open her up to criticisms about how it is spent, she said.

The Amazon wishlist goes beyond the basics. There are decorations so families could have proper graduation parties for their older kids and bubble wands, water guns and coloring books to occupy kids this summer.

All these ideas have come from Facebook group members, she said.

“They have good ideas and they like to help,” she said.

But Ventura has a wishlist of her own: A separate space for the donations, a nonprofit designation, and a regular assistant to keep track of appointments and help distribute items.

She has been considering the now-vacant apartment downstairs from her. Even the nearest storage facility is far away and the move might confuse people who are used to coming to her house. There was talk about finding a church basement, but that fell through, she said.

As it stand right now, her home is filled with donated items waiting to be given away.

“There’s no space to clean — there’s a tiny little space where we watch TV in the dining room area,” she said. “Some days, I give up and say, ‘I’m not going to do anything. I’ll just try to relax.'”

She laughs. “Normally, I’m a very organized lady. My mom taught me to have my clothes picked out for the next day.”

Ventura said some connections are working on turning the organization into a nonprofit, but that will take some time. In the interim, she imagines creating some kind of free thrift store.

The Arlingtonian knows what it’s like to have nothing. At one point, Ventura lost her job, her apartment and her car. But someone opened a door for her to start working at the county, and she worked her way up.

“From my experience, I can help more people,” she said.

She said it is hard for many immigrants to adjust to life in the U.S. — to find jobs, seek out assistance or just feel comfortable visiting a park.

“I hear from them that it’s their dream to come here, but when they come, they [realize] it’s not easy to live here,” she said. “It’s hard to find a job and if you don’t have family here, it’s harder. It’s just like they are stuck. Somebody has to help them up.”

Ventura said her neighbors are also returning the favor.

“It’s not like I’m the hero,” she said. “They see how I help and they’re helping in return.”

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list