Press Club

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Kenmore Middle School’s student release was delayed and the school was placed in “secure the building” mode due to a possible security threat this afternoon.

Initial reports suggest that an individual who is known to carry a weapon was spotted outside, despite being banned from the school. Numerous police units are on scene, searching for him and one other person.

The school normally lets out at 2:24 p.m.

“Kenmore is currently in a delayed dismissal,” said an email sent to families at 2:25 p.m. “Students are being held safely in the building.”

A police spokeswoman said police are investigating and that the school was secured “out of an abundance of caution.”

“At approximately 2:07 p.m. police were dispatched to the report of a juvenile trespasser in the area of Kenmore Middle School,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “Out of an abundance of caution, the school was placed on secure the school as police investigate.”

An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed the enhanced security stance, which locks the school to the outside but allows students to continue to move about inside. Nearby Carlin Springs Elementary was also briefly secured, said Frank Bellavia.

Students could be seen starting to leave both schools around 3 p.m.

“Secure the school status has been lifted,” Savage told ARLnow just after 3 p.m. “Police remain in the area investigating.”

APS said in a separate email to parents that school buses may be delayed as a result of the incident.

“Due to police activity in the area of Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary, dismissals are delayed,” said the email. “The delayed dismissal at the two schools is likely to impact transportation across the school division. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

Scanner traffic from before the incident was moved to an encrypted police channel suggested a slight delay in obtaining a usable description of the two individuals, with arriving officers unsure whether someone seen running into the school was one of the two people or a student.

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Updated at 10:30 p.m. — The person who was barricaded inside an Arlington Heights home has been taken into custody, police say.

Earlier: Two streets north of Columbia Pike, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, are blocked due to a reported barricade situation.

A person reportedly suffering from a mental health issue is inside a house on the 300 block of S. Fillmore Street and refusing to come out. Fillmore, an arterial street between the Pike and Route 50, is blocked by police south of 2nd Street S. as a result, while parts of 2nd Street are also blocked.

Arlington County police have established a command post on 7th Street S., near the Montessori Public School of Arlington. That street is blocked as well, west of S. Walter Reed Drive.

The incident started before noon and as of 3 p.m. is still ongoing. Both police and fire personnel are on scene, as negotiators try to coax the person out peacefully.

Police, meanwhile, are assisting students in the neighborhood as schools — including Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Fleet Elementary — are let out for the day.

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Update at 12:25 p.m. — The all clear was given, police told ARLnow around 11 a.m. “The school had elected to evacuate out of an abundance of caution. The all clear has since been given and officers are returning to service,” an ACPD spokeswoman said.

Earlier: The Children’s School, a preschool for the employees of Arlington Public Schools, has been evacuated after a threat.

Numerous police vehicles are on scene near the school, located inside an office building on the 4400 block of Fairfax Drive in Ballston.

“Police are investigating the credibility of a telephone threat,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.

Savage was not able to elaborate on the nature of the investigation, nor the location to which students in the school were evacuated. The initial police dispatch suggested that person who called in the threat sounded like a teenager.

A permanent location for The Children’s School is currently under construction along Langston Blvd.

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(Updated at 11:20 p.m.) Arlington County police are investigating a possible shooting in the Ashton Heights neighborhood near Ballston.

The investigation seems to be centered around the intersection of N. Piedmont Street and 5th Street N., about two blocks from Mosaic Park to the north and the Buckingham Center shopping strip to the south.

The gunfire happened around 3:45 p.m. Multiple people called 911 to report hearing 2-3 shots fired and seeing an SUV fleeing from the scene, along with a man fleeing on foot, according to scanner traffic.

So far no injuries have been reported, but officers say they found some broken glass, potentially from the SUV’s back window.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 12:25 p.m.) In the battle between the snow plows and the snow in Arlington, the snow is currently winning.

Heavy, accumulating snow covers roads around Arlington, outpacing the rate by which it can be cleared. Snow crews were reportedly unable to pretreat roads, due to the storm starting as rain.

The traffic map around Arlington is a sea of red, with numerous crashes, cars stalled out on hills and other drivers moving slowly even on main thoroughfares.

“Today’s snowfall is likely to be heaviest in late morning, with low visibility and rapid accumulation,” the county said in an Arlington Alert message just after 9 a.m. “Please stay home if you can and stay off the roads.”

Even Route 50, I-66 and I-395, a focus of VDOT plow crews, remain largely snow-covered with several reported crashes and slow traffic. Shortly after 10:15 a.m., Arlington County police were told by dispatchers to avoid I-395 entirely, due to “gridlock.”

Among the places where problems are being reported:

  • Police are blocking westbound Columbia Pike at N. George Mason Drive, prior to the hill
  • Westbound Route 50 is reportedly impassable at the hill past Courthouse and again at N. Park Drive, where cars are stuck “all over the road”
  • The steep hill on N. Courthouse Road itself is said to be “fubar”
  • “A bunch of cars sideways” on N. Glebe Road between Military Road and Chain Bridge, which is now closed. There’s also a report of a downed tree.
  • Cars having trouble getting up the hill on S. Glebe Road near Shirlington Road
  • Police have also been requested to Shirlington Road and Arlington Mill Drive in the Shirlington area. Shirlington Circle may be shut down, according to scanner traffic.
  • The intersection of N. Rhodes Street and 14th Street N. is reportedly “littered with cars” that have been abandoned by drivers who got stuck on the hill
  • S. Arlington Ridge Ridge Road is blocked between 23rd and 28th streets due to two large trees down across the roadway
  • Numerous issues have been reported along Langston Blvd (Route 29) including a stuck tractor trailer at N. Scott Street

The Arlington County Fire Department has declared a snow emergency, according to scanner traffic, affecting how it responds to calls.

Trash and recycling collection was “suspended due to deteriorating conditions” as of 7 a.m. ART service, meanwhile, was suspended just after 9 a.m. Metrobus service was temporarily suspended around 9:30 a.m.

A brief power outage was reported in at least one portion of the county. More outages are possible with heavy wet snow potentially toppling branches and trees.

More via social media:

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(Updated at noon) Arlington County police say they’re aware of a reported threat to shopping centers in Northern Virginia.

News about the threat initially broke early this afternoon. Fairfax County’s police chief subsequently said information had been received by law enforcement about “potential public safety impacts to malls and shopping centers across the region.”

An Arlington police spokeswoman, responding to an inquiry from ARLnow, described the threat as “non-specific” and “unconfirmed,” but said ACPD is “deploying increased police resources” this weekend.

“The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is aware of information circulating regarding an non-specific, unconfirmed threat to shopping centers,” said spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “There is no specific or identified threat to our region.”

“As always, the public is encouraged to remain attentive as you go about your normal routine, particularly in areas where large crowds of people typically gather such as shopping centers, restaurant districts, religious services, and public transportation hubs to name a few,” she continued. “If you observe suspicious behavior or situations, report for police investigation by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.”

Savage said the department “is deploying increased police resources in Arlington County, to include both visible and non-visible assets, during the Halloween weekend and continues to work collaboratively with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners on information sharing.”

CBS News and Fox 5 have both reported that the threat may have been made by the terror group ISIS.

More via Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MikevWUSA/status/1454121485321359369

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Update at 4:40 p.m. — The suspicious package has been cleared and first responders are starting to leave the scene, according to scanner traffic.

Earlier: A U.S. State Department office building in Rosslyn has been evacuated as Arlington’s bomb squad conducts an investigation.

The building at 1801 N. Lynn Street, which include State Department diplomatic security offices, was evacuated shortly after 3:30 p.m. Workers were directed to a plaza across the street from the building.

Arlington County police and firefighters are now investigating what’s initially reported to be a suspicious package inside the building’s parking garage. Police blocked off 19th Street N. as a result of the emergency response, which includes the fire department’s bomb squad unit.

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(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A man suffered injuries that are reported to be life-threatening after an on-the-job accident in the Old Glebe neighborhood.

Police and medics were dispatched to a large, under-construction home on the 4600 block of N. Dittmar Road around 1 p.m. Initial reports suggest a worker was carrying a ladder when it made contact with power lines, electrocuting him.

The man is being rushed to a local hospital by Arlington County Fire Department medics.

Police are now investigating the accident. A Dominion power crew is also being requested to the scene.

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Portions of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall were closed this afternoon after a suspicious package at one of the gates.

A witness described seeing a “large law enforcement response inside the base with crime scene tape and everything blocked off within a few hundred yards” of the Hatfield Gate, near the intersection of 2nd Street S. and Washington Blvd.

Around 2:30 p.m., a spokeswoman confirmed to ARLnow an “active situation” at the base.

“Hatfield Gate, the main gate at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall accessed of Washington Blvd., is closed at this time due to an incident at the gate,” said JBMHH Community Relations Officer Leah Rubalcaba. “Details of the incident are not in as it is an active situation. In the interim, traffic to the base is being diverted to Wright Gate and the Henderson Hall Gate.”

Via social media, the base announced that its medical clinic and exchange store, along with some roads, had been closed. ARLnow also hears that the child care center on the base was evacuated.

Just before 4 p.m. the “all clear” was given.

“There was a suspicious package detected at the gate,” Rubalcaba said. “It was checked out and we just received the ‘all clear’ a few minutes ago. Hatfield Gate has re-opened and operations are back to normal.”

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(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) Arlington County police and firefighters responded to a potentially serious motorcycle crash today in the Lyon Park neighborhood, south of Clarendon.

The crash was reported around 1:30 p.m. Friday at the intersection of 4th Street N. and N. Edgewood Street, in a residential neighborhood between Washington Blvd and the Lyon Park Community Center.

According to initial reports, a car and a motorcycle collided at the intersection, and the motorcycle rider suffered serious injuries. The car careened into a nearby yard after the collision.

The motorcycle rider was rushed to a local trauma center and was last reported to be in stable condition, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Taylor Blunt. No other injuries were reported.

The intersection, like many in Arlington, is a two-way stop: traffic heading towards and from Washington Blvd has a stop sign, while traffic on N. Edgewood Street does not.

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(Updated at 4:20 p.m.) Authorities are urging Arlington residents and others in the D.C. area to stay home today amid an extended bout of freezing rain.

Sidewalks and many roads are reported to be very slick. The ice is expected to build as the day goes on.

County and VDOT crews are out spreading salt, but even treated surfaces can become icy as rain falls amid sub-freezing surface temperatures. At least two bridges in the Courthouse area were closed due to slick conditions.

“Due to icy conditions the 10th Street bridge and Courthouse Rd bridge of Route 50 have been closed,” an Arlington Alert said at 9:30 a.m.

The earlier Winter Weather Advisory was upgraded to an Ice Storm Warning as of 2 p.m. Saturday. As of 3 p.m., the National Weather Service reported more than a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation in Arlington.

More from NWS:

156 PM EST SAT FEB 13 2021

…ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM EST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…TWO TO THREE TENTHS OF AN INCH OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN CAUSING SIGNIFICANT ICING IMPACTS.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…UNTIL 7 AM EST SUNDAY.

* IMPACTS…DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…ROADWAYS ARE BECOMING VERY ICY AND DANGEROUS. AVOID ALL UNNECESSARY TRAVEL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT, FOOD AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES.

WHEN VENTURING OUTSIDE, WATCH YOUR FIRST FEW STEPS TAKEN ON STEPS, SIDEWALKS, AND DRIVEWAYS, WHICH COULD BE ICY AND SLIPPERY, INCREASING YOUR RISK OF A FALL AND INJURY.

In an email earlier this morning, VDOT said those who absolutely must travel should “use extreme caution.”

Significant icing is anticipated with the next wave of inclement weather. With prolonged freezing rain and low pavement temperatures expected through the day Saturday, VDOT strongly advises against nonessential travel. Those who must drive should closely monitor weather and road conditions, and use extreme caution. Even on treated roads, slick pavement will be possible. […]

Crews have positioned materials and equipment, and will apply treatment such as sand and salt as needed to icy patches and trouble spots to improve traction. Tree crews are ready to trim and remove branches weighed down or broken by ice, and to support utility companies on potential downed or entangled lines.

Numerous crashes have been reported around Arlington since this morning, including on treated roads. Virginia State Police say the VSP division that serves Arlington and other parts of Northern Virginia has responded to 83 crashes and 29 disabled vehicles as of 4 p.m.

“Virginia State Police continues to discourage Virginians from driving through Sunday (Feb. 14) due to extremely icy and treacherous conditions across much of Central, Southeastern and Northern Virginia,” a spokeswoman said via email.

More from social media:

https://twitter.com/jenkochan/status/1360593888415797254

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