It was a dreadful sight for boaters looking forward to a Memorial Day on the water.
Early Sunday morning, a significant blaze broke out at Columbia Island Marina, between the GW Parkway and the Pentagon, prompting a large fire department response from Arlington and D.C., including D.C. fireboats.
At least three boats and some of the marina’s dock were damaged, according to D.C. Fire and EMS. The flames could be seen from a distance.
Despite the intensity of the fire at times, fed by the boats’ fuel tanks, no injuries were reported.
Update Columbia Island Marina. 3 vessels well involved. DC Fireboats working in unified command with @ArlingtonVaFD land units have extinguished all visible fire. No injuries reported. #DCsBravest pic.twitter.com/xskmFhgDB1
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) May 28, 2023
UPDATE: @ArlingtonVaFD moved in with a hose line from land to put the initial water on the fire. It's mostly out except some hot spots. @dcfireems boats helping. 2 or 3 boats & docks burned. @ARLnowDOTcom @SafetyVid @RealTimeNews10 #firefighters pic.twitter.com/LqmRjKUaZ2
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) May 28, 2023
Additional images of the fire overnight at the Columbia Island Marina. DC’s Fireboats and @ArlingtonVaFD worked together to extinguish 3 burning vessels. pic.twitter.com/ZZFG92jG7j
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) May 28, 2023
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) May 28, 2023
The District of Columbia’s attorney general has responded to a scathing letter to D.C. officials sent by Virginia AG Jason Miyares (R).
Miyares suggested that the District is soft on crime, endangering Virginia residents who visit as well as neighboring jurisdictions like Arlington. The letter was sent as “a direct response to the tragic murder of Christy Bautista,” an Arlington woman stabbed to death in a D.C. hotel room, allegedly by a man with an extensive criminal history.
In reply, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb (D) penned a lengthy letter asking Miyares “for help to stop illegal gun trafficking into DC,” noting that “Virginia is the largest source of illegal firearms recovered here,” per a spokeswoman. Additionally, the letter points out that Virginia cities like Richmond have “experienced increased crime rates substantially higher than the national average.”
Schwalb goes on to highlight that serious crimes in the District are prosecuted in the federal court system. The D.C. court is overloaded and understaffed, resulting in delays and a “public safety crisis,” Mayor Muriel Bowser has previously asserted.
“I also invite you to join me and Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown in advocating for DC’s autonomy over our local criminal justice system,” Schwalb wrote. “As a fellow attorney and attorney general, I know you can understand how difficult it is for a community to improve public safety when it lacks meaningful control over its criminal justice system.”
Schwalb’s letter was sent prior to today’s mass shooting at a Northeast D.C. funeral home and stabbing on a Metro train at the Columbia Heights station.
update: FOUR PEOPLE SHOT OUTSIDE FUNERAL HOME — 4000 blk Benning Rd NE DC. Two men and two women were shot (one of the four is critical). Happened after a funeral. Another man with graze wounds at 4300 blk F St but he says he was shot there on F St. pic.twitter.com/3S2MeUzV1n
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 11, 2023
The full letter is below.
Attorney General Miyares:
As the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, I share the frustration and anger regarding senseless killings and violent crime expressed in your April 6 letter to local District leaders. No issue is more important to the more than 700,000 residents of the District than enhancing public safety and preventing violent crime. Just like people in Richmond, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Newport News — each of which has experienced increased crime rates substantially higher than the national average over the past several years — residents of and visitors to Washington, D.C. deserve to feel safe and be safe.
Promoting public safety should be a bipartisan endeavor, not fodder for divisive political grandstanding. Developing and implementing practical solutions that will make our communities safer, now and in the long run, requires thoughtful, data-driven analysis and comprehensive, collaborative strategies. While there are several unsupported assertions and conclusions in your April 6 letter with which I disagree, I do agree with your observation that the proximity of our respective jurisdictions means that enhancing public safety is a regional issue which we must address cooperatively. To that end, I hope you will support efforts to improve public safety in the DMV region.
Improving public safety begins with curbing gun violence. As a necessary first step, we need to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who intend to cause harm. In communities around our country—urban, suburban, and rural—the presence of illegal guns is far too pervasive. Gun trafficking patterns remain remarkably consistent year to year from state to state, and most firearms recovered in the District originate in Virginia. According to the two most recent trace data reports from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Virginia is, by far, the source state for the most illegal firearms recovered in DC. Virginia is the source for nearly four times the number of illegal firearms recovered in the District than the next leading source state, Maryland, which has stricter gun laws. In 2020, of the 1,580 illegal firearms recovered in the District, 667 originated in Virginia. In 2021, Virginia was the source state for 619 of the 1,574 illegal firearms recovered in the District. By contrast, the District was the source for only 58 and 67 of the illegal firearms recovered in 2020 and 2021.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) has sent a scathing letter to D.C.’s mayor and city council today, accusing them of jeopardizing public safety due to lax law enforcement.
The letter follows the stabbing death of an Arlington woman in a D.C. hotel room this past weekend. The Yorktown High School alum was pronounced dead in the room and the suspect, a 43-year-old man with an extensive criminal history, was taken into custody and charged with murder.
The suspect was released from jail by a judge this winter following an alleged armed robbery in October, NBC 4 reported.
“The letter is a direct response to the tragic murder of Christy Bautista over the weekend,” the Attorney General’s office said in a press release that also accuses D.C. officials of an “inability and refusal to enforce their public safety laws and address their crime spike.”
In the letter, Miyares writes that “due to the proximity of our communities, D.C.’s crime problem has become Virginia’s crime problem.”
Republicans in Congress have been on the offensive against D.C.’s government, accusing the District of being soft on crime.
With Democratic votes and President Biden’s signature, a D.C. crime bill that reduced the maximum sentence for carjacking, among other changes, was overturned last month. Meanwhile, GOP members grilled D.C. officials on crime during a House committee hearing last week.
There’s some debate over the actual direction of crime rates in the District, with news headlines this year like “Crime in D.C. dropped in 2022” and “Despite Falling Violent Crime, Some Adams Morgan Residents Say They Feel Less Safe” contrasting with “After violent weekend, D.C. homicides up 40 percent over last year.”
Miyares’ full letter is below.
Dear Mayor Bowser and City Council Members:
It has become painfully apparent that Washington, D.C., can protect neither its residents nor the thousands of Virginians who commute daily to the city for work or entertainment. As the chief law enforcement officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia, I feel responsible for the safety of all 8.642 million Virginians.
Unfortunately, due to the proximity of our communities, D.C.’s crime problem has become Virginia’s crime problem.
I refuse to stand by quietly as you continue to deny, reject, and refuse to address your very prevalent crime spike that is impacting D.C. residents and its visitors and commuters. Your unwillingness to enforce your laws and hold violent offenders responsible puts your residents and mine at risk.
Over the weekend, Christy Bautista, an innocent young woman from Virginia, was murdered in the supposed safety of her hotel room less than an hour after checking in to attend a concert in your city. A Capitol Hill staffer was brutally attacked in broad daylight. Over the summer, a young Arlington woman was harassed on the metro, and countless Virginians have been murdered in D.C. over the last three years, including Aaron Bourne, Kenithy Manns, Christian Gabriel Monje, and Ahmad Clark.
Yet, D.C. Council Chairman Mendelson recently denied that D.C. had a crime crisis. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, D.C. has seen two consecutive years of over 200 homicides — a distinction the city hasn’t reached in nearly two decades. In addition, carjackings have been steadily rising for the last five years. Homicides in Washington, D.C., have increased by 31% since this time last year, sexual assault increased by 84%, and motor vehicle theft has increased by 107%. In general, crime in 2023 has risen by 23%.
A triple fatal crash Wednesday morning in D.C. has claimed the lives of two young Arlington men.
U.S. Park Police just released the names of those killed. They include Jonathan Cabrera Mendez, 23, and Olvin Torres Velasquez, 22, both of Arlington.
The men were killed while riding in a Honda Accord with 42-year-old Mohamed Kamara of Burtonsville, Maryland. It is currently unclear whether Mendez and Velasquez knew Kamara or whether the Honda was being operated as a rideshare vehicle at the time of the crash.
The crash happened just before 1:45 a.m. on a curved section of the Rock Creek Parkway near P Street NW when a Lexus SUV slammed into the Honda. NBC 4, Fox 5 and other local news outlets reported that the Lexus had just fled an attempted traffic stop and had dozens of outstanding speeding violations associated with its license plate.
A man in the Lexus suffered injuries not considered life threatening, while a woman in the SUV suffered critical injuries, according to USPP.
More from today’s Park Police press release, below.
United States Park Police (USPP) officers have identified the victims of the crash that occurred on March 15 on Rock Creek Parkway involving a Honda sedan and a Lexus SUV.
On Wednesday, March 15 at 1:43 a.m., USPP officers were dispatched to a crash on the Rock Creek Parkway near P Street NW. The three occupants in the Honda were pronounced dead on the scene. The deceased were later identified as Mohamed Kamara, 42, of Burtonsville, MD, Jonathan Cabrera Mendez, 23, of Arlington, VA, and Olvin Torres Velasquez, 22, of Arlington, VA. The Lexus was occupied by an adult woman and adult man. The adult woman was transported to the hospital with injuries later considered life-threatening and the adult man was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
USPP detectives are working in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia as the crash remains under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.
Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact the USPP Tip Line at (202)379-4877 or email [email protected]
(Updated at 4 p.m.) A pair of suspects carjacked a vehicle in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood last night, leading to a police chase into D.C.
The carjacking happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the 2800 block of Fort Scott Drive, not far from Crystal City.
According to initial reports, the stolen vehicle was quickly located by Arlington County officers on northbound I-395 and a chase was initiated. While for safety and jurisdictional reasons other chases are often terminated at the 14th Street Bridge, this time a chase into the District was authorized.
The suspect vehicle crashed near the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin shortly after entering D.C., according to scanner traffic, and both suspects were taken into custody after brief foot pursuits.
One of the carjacking victims was evaluated by medics for a possible injury.
(2) Arrests were made after a short foot chase. Some @ArlingtonVaPD officers got on I-395 moments after the the carjacking on Ft. Scott Dr was dispatched at 8:27 p.m. In less than 4 mins. they spotted the SUV. The officers were given permission by a supervisor to chase into DC.
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 12, 2023
Late Sunday afternoon Arlington police issued the following press release about the arrests.
The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of two juveniles following an armed carjacking in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood on the evening of February 11, 2023.
At approximately 8:26 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an armed carjacking in the 2800 block of Fort Scott Drive. Upon arrival, it was determined the male victim was sitting inside a parked vehicle when the two juvenile suspects approached, brandished firearms, and demanded the victim exit the vehicle. The two suspects then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle. A lookout was broadcast and an officer observed the suspects traveling northbound on I-395. The officer attempted a traffic stop and, after the driver refused to stop, initiated a vehicle pursuit. The suspects attempted to elude officers and subsequently crashed the vehicle in the area of 14th Street SW and D Street SW, Washington D.C. The suspects then ran from the vehicle and officers initiated a foot pursuit and took both suspects into custody. The two juvenile suspects were transported to an area hospital as a precautionary measure, however no injuries were reported. During a search of the stolen vehicle, officers recovered a firearm which had been reported stolen out of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Petitions were obtained for the juveniles who are both 17-year-olds and of Washington D.C. They are being held in Washington D.C. pending extradition to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Fire and EMS provided on scene assistance.
This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Hat tip to Alan Henney
Arlington police got an assist from their Park Service counterparts on an armed robbery Monday morning.
The incident happened in the Crystal City area around 7:15 a.m. According to a crime report, a man with a gun stole cash from an unnamed business, then fled on foot.
The U.S. Park Police helicopter was called in and the suspect was located across the river in East Potomac Park, where he was arrested. He was armed with a BB gun, police determined.
More from ACPD:
ROBBERY, 2022-11280044, 2400 block of Richmond Highway. At approximately 7:16 a.m. on November 28, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, it was determined the male suspect entered the business, approached the counter, brandished a weapon, and demanded money from the employee. The suspect then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. A perimeter was established and the area was searched with the assistance of the U.S. Park Police Helicopter. The suspect was located near East Potomac Park in Washington D.C. and taken into custody without incident. During a search of his person incident to arrest, a BB gun was recovered. [The suspect], 31, of Washington D.C. was arrested and charged in Arlington County with Armed Robbery, Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Possession of a Firearm while Active Subject of a Protective Order. He is being held by U.S. Park Police on separate charges.
A D.C. deputy mayor is on leave after a reported assault in Arlington.
The incident happened Saturday around 12:30 p.m. but was not reported to police until Monday evening, an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said. It took place in the parking lot of the Gold’s Gym near Ballston, on the 3900 block of Wilson Blvd.
“The suspect and male victim became engaged in a verbal dispute after the door of the suspect’s parked vehicle struck the vehicle the victim was entering,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The dispute escalated, during which the suspect allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat.”
“During the course of the investigation, a suspect description was developed and on Tuesday, the victim responded to the Office of the Magistrate, completed a criminal complaint and a warrant for Assault and Battery was issued for Christopher Geldart, 53, of Falls Church,” Savage said. “He was notified by telephone of the warrant, turned himself in and was released on a summons.”
Geldart has served as the District of Columbia’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice since being appointed in January 2021, according to his biography on the District’s website.
NBC 4 first reported on the incident and that Geldart is now on personal leave pending an investigation, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser. Fox 5 published surveillance video (below) apparently captured by the gym, which shows the parking lot confrontation.
The victim of the alleged assault suggested that this is not the first time Geldart was involved in an incident at a Gold’s location.
“Something should be done. It’s not okay,” Dustin Woodward, who’s identified as a trainer at the gym, told Fox 5. “We’ve been dealing with him a while at Gold’s. Multiple locations actually that’s how we even figured out who he was.”
Photo via Google Maps
Beloved local watering hole Whitlow’s is making a comeback in the place it first opened: D.C.
The longtime Clarendon bar on Wilson Blvd closed last June after its lease expired. It has since been replaced by nightlife and music venue B Live, which opened in May.
Before its closure, Whitlow’s said in a social media post that it hoped to reopen elsewhere.
“We don’t necessarily see this as a goodbye, but more of a see you later,” the post read.
As it turns out, Whitlow’s is saying goodbye to Arlington and hello to the District. The bar recently changed its Instagram handle to @whitlowsdc and said this morning that it is hiring ahead of a planned opening.
“Back where it all began,” the post said. “Opening soon and now hiring full-time bartenders!”
Whitlow’s opened in 1946 as a greasy spoon eatery and bar in D.C. before closing in 1989 and relocating to Clarendon six years later. Opening in 1995, it remained a neighborhood mainstay for just over two and a half decades.
So far, there’s no word as to where in D.C. Whitlow’s is opening. ARLnow has reached out for additional information and will update this article upon hearing back.
Hat tip to Alex K.
Arlington Resident Moving to San Diego — Baseball superstar Juan Soto, who recently moved to Arlington, has been traded by the Nats to the San Diego Padres. He’ll presumably take with him some photos and art that were framed at a Clarendon frame store. [MLB]
Fairfax Barricade Ends — Updated at 9:25 a.m. — A man reportedly barricaded in a condo with a rifle near Lake Barcroft has been taken into custody. The barricade situation prompted a Fairfax County police helicopter to circle over parts of Arlington for hours. [FFXnow, Twitter]
County Getting Part of Opioid Settlement — “It’s not a princely sum, but cash is cash and the Arlington County government is set to receive its share of a new payment based on a legal settlement with a number of opioid distributors… Of the first settlement payout, about $9.94 million will go to the state government’s Opioid Abatement Authority and about $4.07 million will be distributed to localities. Arlington is entitled to 1.378 percent of that latter figure, which works out to $56,034.” [Sun Gazette]
Ballston Quarter Gets Small Tax Break — “Owners of the Ballston Quarter retail-restaurant-and-entertainment complex came away from a recent Board of Equalization hearing with a very partial victory, as that body reduced the property’s assessed valuation but not nearly as much as its owners had sought. On a unanimous vote, Board of Equalization members on July 13 voted to reduce the assessment rate – which is used to calculate the property’s annual tax bill – from $91.1 million as determined by staff to $86.7 million.” [Sun Gazette]
Va. Sens. Celebrate Vets Bill — “Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated Senate passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 following obstruction efforts by Senate Republicans last week. This legislation will expand health care and benefits for toxic-exposed veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs.” [Sen. Mark Warner]
YHS Grads Makes Youth National Team — “Yorktown High School graduate Lauren Flynn was named to the U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team soccer roster for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica from Aug. 10-28.” [Sun Gazette]
Feedback Sought for Eco Plan — “Arlington County would like your input on the draft Forestry and Natural Resources Plan. To assure future generations of Arlingtonians enjoy the benefits of nature, the County must identify what needs are urgent, what are aspirational, and how each can be addressed through both long-term initiatives, incremental change and immediate action.” [Arlington County]
Crash in D.C. Shut Down Chain Bridge — From WTOP’s Dave Dildine: “Chain Bridge closed both ways along with Canal Road and Clara Barton Parkway at the bridge. A crash occurred when traffic signals were malfunctioning. Witnesses say an officer was struck under the malfunctioning signals. These lights fall out of phase frequently.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Another hot and humid day. High of 90 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:13 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]
A group of thieves went on an overnight crime spree this weekend, breaking into 14 cars and stealing another three, according to Arlington County police.
The crimes were first reported early Sunday morning and spanned at least three residential, North Arlington neighborhoods — Bellevue Forest, Donaldson Run and Westover — according to an ACPD crime report.
The thieves stole cash and personal items from cars and also drove off with three vehicles that had keys left inside. Two of the stolen cars were later found in D.C.
Police were not able to provide a description of any of the suspects.
More from ACPD:
GRAND LARCENY AUTO/LARCENY FROM AUTO (Series), 2022-05150056/05150063/05150066/05150070/005150071, 3000 block of N. Oakland Street/3000 block of N. Quincy Street/2900 block of N. Stafford Street/3700 block of 30th Road N./5700 block of 11th Street N. At approximately 4:45 a.m. on May 15, police were dispatched to the report of a vehicle tampering. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside his residence when he observed the unknown suspect enter into his unlocked vehicle in his driveway. The victim knocked on the window, during which the suspect entered into a nearby waiting vehicle and fled the scene. The investigation determined the suspect(s) entered into and rummaged through approximately 14 victim vehicles and stole personal items and an undisclosed amount of cash from several of the vehicles. Additionally, it was discovered three vehicles with keys inside were stolen from the 3000 block of N. Quincy Street, 2900 block of N. Stafford Street and the 3700 block of 30th Road N. During the course of the investigation, two of the stolen vehicles were recovered in Washington D.C. The remaining stolen vehicle is described as a red in color, 2019 Ford Edge bearing VA license plate UMT3257. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
Numerous car-related crimes have been reported in Arlington over the past month, encompassing the thefts of or from about 30 vehicles, not including this latest spree. That’s in addition to another eight or more that have been broken into without a reported theft.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Two people are in jail in Arlington after police say gunshots were fired from their vehicle in the District.
The arrests happened around 11:45 a.m., along southbound I-395 near S. Glebe Road. The incident started when an off-duty U.S. Park Police officer allegedly saw shots fired from the suspects’ vehicle — reportedly a U-Haul truck — at another vehicle.
“An off duty United States Park Police officer reporting for duty observed a vehicle discharge a firearm at another vehicle in the District of Columbia,” a Park Police spokesperson tells ARLnow. “Both vehicles fled the initial scene. The off duty USPP officer called in the incident to report it to on duty personnel.”
“USPP officers located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on southbound 395 in the area of Army Navy Drive,” the spokesperson continued. “The vehicle fled the initial stop before coming to a second stop for officers in the area of southbound 395 prior to Glebe Road. Two individuals were placed under arrest and transported to Arlington County Jail to be presented before a magistrate.”
A gun was found and the investigation is “ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
Arlington County police assisted Park Police during the incident, an ACPD spokeswoman confirmed. Several lanes of I-395 were temporarily blocked while the arrests were made.
More via social media, below.
Watch: After shots fired in DC late this morning #395cam shows #police following a U-Haul into VA before getting it stopped & making 2 arrests nr Glebe (out of view). More here-https://t.co/bq0jIO6oX5 @ARLnowDOTcom @CordellTraffic @WTOPtraffic @WTOP @RealTimeNews10 @TomJackmanWP pic.twitter.com/f5fkN0lX0f
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) April 26, 2022
incident on 395 southbound going toward Virginia involving a uhaul truck. Standstill traffic and police surrounding the vehicle. @RealTimeNews10 @alanhenney pic.twitter.com/lZ8ET8IqV6
— Anthony Tilghman (@AnthonyTilghman) April 26, 2022
LOCATION: SB I-395/Glebe Rd
INCIDENT: Police Department Activity
IMPACT: The 3 right lanes on SB I-395 are closed just prior to Glebe Rd. Seek alternate routes. pic.twitter.com/scmMyR9yCL
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) April 26, 2022
Hat tips to Dave Statter and Alan Henney