Friends and family of the Arlington man killed as he tried to stop a sexual assault plan to celebrate his life this weekend, remembering him as a kind, generous and “decidedly decent” person.
Arlington police say 54-year-old Patricio Salazar attempted to intervene when he saw another man, 27-year-old Michael Nash, sexually assaulting a woman near Doctor’s Run Park last Thursday (Oct. 18). Investigators claim that Nash struck Salazar and ultimately knocked him unconscious. Salazar died from his injuries a short time later.
Salazar’s family has organized a memorial service this Saturday (Oct. 27) at a local funeral home. In lieu of flowers, his family is asking people to donate to an online fundraiser that will benefit survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, with plans to divide the money between a local charity and an organization in Salazar’s hometown of La Paz, Bolivia.
“My brother was very smart, funny, unassuming and humble about his gifts and talents,” Loty Salazar, Patricio’s sister, wrote in a description accompanying the GoFundMe page. “And, as he showed by his final act of great courage, he was a man of integrity and character, who believed in doing the right thing no matter what the cost. My family and I are at a loss to describe the depth of pain we are feeling. He has left us — and this world — far too soon, because we — and the world — really need heroes like him.”
Salazar’s sister declined a request for an interview, but his family did write in an online obituary that he attended college in Bolivia before transfering to the University of North Dakota, and eventually settling in Arlington.
Will Rubens, a Ballston resident and one of Salazar’s friends, told ARLnow that Salazar had lived in the county for close to 15 years. He first met Salazar at the old Greene Turtle bar in Ballston a few years ago, where they bonded over a shared love of sports, and the occasional beer.
“He was just a really warm, friendly, kind of goofy guy,” Rubens said. “He just had such a goofy lightness about him that immediately put a smile on your face. Most of our interactions were just joking around, and it always kind of made my day. You never knew exactly when you would run into him, so it was always a nice surprise.”
Rubens says Salazar had a passion for international soccer, the San Jose Sharks and the Oakland Raiders. But he was also a guitarist in his spare time, and loved attending local concerts, Rubens said.
His family added in the obituary that Salazar, known to his friends as “Pat,” had a passion for nature and animals and “was an avid walker and always longed for Bolivia and his Andean mountains.”
Rubens says that Salazar would return to La Paz fairly regularly to visit his family there, though he did also have some family around the D.C. area. In fact, Rubens says Salazar had offered to bring him back a memento after his next trip back home, in order to help Rubens complete his collection of fridge magnets from places he’s traveled for work.
“He was supposed to visit his family for Christmas and now that’s not to be, which is really sad… but I think it shows just what kind of guy Pat was,” Rubens said.
Rubens says he “felt like a freight train hit me” when he learned of Salazar’s death, as the two had just crossed paths a few days before his killing.
“I’m not surprised at all that he got involved, I think it was very brave of him,” Rubens said. “But Pat was not the kind of guy where he would’ve rushed in, guns blazing… he had no illusions of grandeur, he was not that kind of guy. But he always would’ve stopped if he saw somebody in need.”
Police arrested Nash this past Friday (Oct. 19), charging him with several counts related to the alleged sexual assault. He has yet to be charged in connection with Salazar’s death, but police say additional charges are likely forthcoming.
Nash is set for his first hearing in Arlington General District Court on Jan. 16.
The boy was playing in Doctor’s Run Park, near Randolph Elementary School, on the morning of Wednesday, June 20, when a man approached and touched him in a sexual manner, according to a crime report. The suspect then fled on foot.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY (late), 2018-06200138, 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on June 20, police were informed of the late report of a sexual battery. At approximately 9:45 a.m. while the juvenile victim was playing in the park, an unknown male suspect approached the victim and touched him inappropriately before fleeing on foot. The suspect is described as an older dark skinned male, with a medium build, little facial hair and wearing a black, gray and white shirt, black pants and gray shoes. The investigation is ongoing.
Early yesterday (Tuesday) morning, meanwhile, police investigated a shooting in the Courthouse area — blocks from ACPD headquarters — that apparently stemmed from a road rage incident.
A man suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound and the suspect is still at large.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING (late), 2018-06260028, 1100 block of N. Courthouse Road. At approximately 2:23 a.m. on June 26, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Arriving units searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect or reporting party. At approximately 2:46 a.m., police were dispatched to Virginia Hospital Center for the report of a person with a gunshot wound. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the victim was driving in the area when another vehicle began to follow him after a traffic infraction. The suspect vehicle then closely approached the victim’s vehicle while stopped and the suspect brandished a firearm and fired a shot at the victim, causing non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is described as a black male with a medium complexion with short, black hair and a goatee wearing a gray tank top. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver Honda Accord. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, after the jump.
The trail connecting Doctor’s Run Park and S. George Mason Drive to Randolph Elementary School is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The project, funded with Neighborhood Conservation money, will realign the trail that runs between the park and the school, widening it and decreasing its slopes in several areas, according to its county project page. The trail will be lit until 6:00 p.m. to coincide with Randolph’s after school programs.
The new trail will also connect with the 12th Street S. bike boulevard that goes from street to trail at S. Quincy Street. When complete, county Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager David Goodman told ARLnow.com a HAWK signal will be installed at the intersection of George Mason Drive and 13th Street, where the trail connector meets the road. The improvements will also include a pedestrian
“There are some improvements we’re doing on either end of this connector that are going to tie this all together,” Goodman told ARLnow.com.
The incident happened around 9:00 Friday night at Doctor’s Run Park, in the Douglas Park neighborhood. The male victim had hopped a fence at the park to retrieve a ball when he was bitten by a Chihuahua, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The victim confronted the dog’s owner, who was at the park with a large group of people. The owner of the dog became agitated and tried to punch and kick the victim, Sternbeck said. Then the man allegedly went to his car, retrieved a machete, and threatened the victim with it.
A female acquaintance of the suspect convinced him to put the knife away and leave the scene, Sternbeck said. The victim escaped the confrontation with only minor scratches from the dog bite.
The suspect is described by police as “a Hispanic male, 5’5″, with black hair and brown eyes, and approximately 150 pounds and 40 years old.” Anybody with information about the man or the incident is asked to call Arlington County police at 703-558-2222.
File photo via Paul Komarek/Wikipedia
Sewage has leaked from a private building into Doctors Run, also known as Doctors Branch, Arlington County said Wednesday morning.
The county is advising people and pets to avoid contact with the stream, a tributary of Four Mile Run, until further notice. From an Arlington Alert:
The Arlington County Department of Environmental Services reports the possible release of sewage from a private building into the storm drains system. They are advising that humans and pets avoid contact with the water in Doctors Branch from Alcova Heights Park located at South 8th st. and George Mason Drive to Four Mile Run at Barcroft Park for several days to allow flushing of the stream.