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BREAKING: Arlington Man Arrested After Sexual Assault, Homicide in Douglas Park

(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) An Arlington man has been arrested and now faces accusations of a litany of crimes from sexual assault to murder to robbery after a night of violence in the Douglas Park neighborhood.

The reported crime spree started shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday in the area of Doctor’s Run Park, south of Columbia Pike.

Police say 27-year-old Michael Nash was sexually assaulting a woman along the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive when a witness, 54-year-old Arlington resident Patricio Salazar, tried to intervene. The suspect then allegedly struck Salazar, who was knocked unconscious and later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Nash fled the scene and robbed a woman of her cell phone as he fled, according to police. Officers and a police helicopter searched the area and eventually apprehended Nash near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive.

Nash is now facing multiple charges, with additional charges pending. This was the second reported homicide in Arlington so far this year.

More from ACPD:

Arlington County Police announce the arrest of an Arlington man following an overnight homicide investigation. Michael Nash, 27, was arrested and charged with Abduction with the Intent to Defile, Forcible Sodomy and Animate Object Sexual Penetration. Additional charges are forthcoming. Mr. Nash is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 9:21 p.m. on October 18, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. George Mason Drive following the report of multiple 9-1-1 calls. The preliminary investigation determined that the suspect was walking in the area with a known female victim when he began to physically and sexually assault her. A male witness observed the assault and attempted to render assistance to the victim. The suspect physically assaulted the witness leaving him unconscious. The witness, Patricio Salazar, 54, of Arlington, VA was transported to George Washington University Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Following the assaults, the suspect fled the scene on foot. The suspect came into contact with two additional victims whom he tried to rob of a cell phone. The victims fought back and the suspect again fled the scene on foot. The suspect then successfully robbed a female victim of her cell phone.

During the course of the investigation, detectives from the Department’s Homicide/Robbery and Special Victims’ Units developed a possible suspect description. Members of the Tactical Unit located the suspect and took him into custody without incident in the area of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.

The investigation into this homicide remains ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective J. Trainer of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4185 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Map via Google Maps

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Power Outage Along Columbia Pike

More than 1,000 Dominion customers along Columbia Pike were without power around lunchtime Friday.

The outage is mostly affecting the Douglas Park neighborhood and the Glebe Road corridor between the Pike and Walter Reed Drive. A number of traffic signals, including the lights at the busy intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, are reported to be out.

In total, as of 11:45 a.m. Dominion was reporting 1,246 customers without power in Arlington County.

Update at 12:10 p.m. — Power has been restored, according to Dominion’s website.

Image via Dominion Power

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Morning Notes

Cemetery Flyover Planned Today — Expect to see a military flyover today around 1:45 p.m., in support of a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. [Twitter]

Grant to Pay for Reforestation — “Arlington County government officials will accept about $9,700 in federal funds to restore nearly four acres of riparian buffer along Four Mile Run. The grant will fund purchase of more than 1,000 tree and shrub seedlings to be planted in areas that have been treated for removal of invasive plants.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Man Convicted of Murder — “On Friday, April 13, 2018, a Charles County jury, after a 5 day trial, convicted Bryan Javier Aquice, 25, of Arlington, VA. of the First Degree Murder of Michael Beers.” [Southern Maryland News Net]

Disgusting Discovery Prompts Call to Police — A woman called police after she reportedly found a used condom on the hood of her car in Arlington’s Douglas Park neighborhood. [Twitter]

Nearby: New Company HQ in Falls Church — Investment firm Kiddar Capital will be relocating its headquarters to a new office building in the City of Falls Church. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Vehicle Overturns in Douglas Park

A man was able to crawl out from an overturned car in the Douglas Park neighborhood Tuesday night.

The vehicle crashed just before 9 p.m. on the 1700 block of S. Quincy Street, several blocks south of Columbia Pike. The man, believed to be the driver, was briefly trapped in the vehicle but was able to “self-extricate” after firefighters arrived on scene, according to scanner traffic.

The man was evaluated for injuries by medics.

A fire department spokesman said via Twitter that drivers should be cautious on roads, which are “already slick” ahead of Wednesday’s predicted snowstorm.

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Crime Report: Numerous Car Break-ins

Someone broke into nearly a dozen vehicles overnight, between Monday and Tuesday, in the Nauck, Douglas Park and Westover neighborhoods.

Most of the vehicles were unlocked, according to police.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130043/0046/0057/0061/0065, 3000 block of S. 19thStreet/1500 block of S. Glebe Road/3100 block of S. 15th Street. At approximately 6:37 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto series. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered multiple, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and stole numerous items of value. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2018-02130040/0052/0055/0060/0066/0067, 1000 block of N. Kensington Street/1000 block of N. Kentucky Street/800 block of N. Lexington Street. At approximately 7:16 a.m. on February 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larceny from autos. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered numerous, mostly unlocked, vehicles overnight and tampered with the contents and stole items of value from some of the vehicles. The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’6 to 5’10, 150-175 lbs. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2018-02120003, 800 block of S. Greenbrier Street. At approximately 12:19 a.m. on February 12, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted burglary. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect(s) attempted to open the window of a residence. The suspect(s) fled prior to police arrival. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-02090265, 1800 block of 16th Street N. At approximately 9:55 p.m. on February 9, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when the male suspect walked past her and turned back to ask her a question with his genitals exposed. The suspect then fled on foot in the opposite direction. The suspect is described as a darker skinned male, possibly Hispanic or Arabic, younger than 35 years old,  approximately 5’6, wearing a gray hoodie with dark stripes and the hood up, blue jeans, and something covering his mouth. The area was canvased with negative results. The investigation is ongoing.

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Randolph Elementary PTA Holds Online Auction Fundraiser

Randolph Elementary School’s PTA is hosting an online charity auction to support classroom and extracurricular programs, auctioning off local business deals, unique experiences and gift certificates today through Feb. 15.

There are over 200 auction items up for grabs, with prizes ranging from a veterinary check-up to an Annapolis sailboat ride valued at $500. One lucky bidder could even win a homemade baby back rib dinner for four at Arlington Public Schools board member Reid Goldstein’s home, for a minimum bid of $75.

Or perhaps you’d rather just relax at home and let Randolph Elementary principal Dr. Donna Synder and assistant principal Ms. Rebecca Irwin Kennedy take over the bedtime story routine one evening for a minimum bid of $15.

Holly Jeffreys, the Randolph Elementary PTA auction chair, says that all auction proceeds will fund field trips, classroom supplies, field day, and literacy programs like the Summer Mailbox book program. She noted that Randolph is a Title I school, a designation indicating “high percentages of children from low-income families,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Approximately 73.6% of students at Randolph qualify for free or reduced price meals, according to an October 2017 Arlington Public Schools report.

The auction has taken place in previous years. New this year, according to organizers, the auction website will accept credit card payments — via PayPal — from auction winners, in addition to checks.

File photo via Arlington Public Schools

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Report Shows Disparities in Income, Health Care Across Arlington

A report has shown that areas of wealth and disadvantage exist very close together in Arlington, sometimes just blocks away from each other.

The report by the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, entitled “Getting Ahead: The Uneven Opportunity Landscape in Northern Virginia,” identifies what it calls 15 “islands of disadvantage,” where people face multiple serious challenges.

Those challenges include the levels of pre-school enrollment, teens out of high school, whether people have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the level of English spoken in a household, unemployment rate, child poverty rate, health insurance rate and more.

Of those “islands,” three are either wholly or partly in Arlington: one near the county’s border with Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners; another along Columbia Pike in the Douglas Park neighborhood; and another in the area of Buckingham and Fort Myer.

The report also found that neighborhoods separated by one thoroughfare can have very different demographics, housing and poverty levels.

“A striking example was near Ballston Common [Mall, rebranded as Ballston Quarter], where residents in two census tracts on either side of North Glebe Road — tracts 1019 and 1020.01 — faced very different living conditions,” the report reads. “In census tract 1019, east of N. Glebe Road, 85 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree or higher education and the median household income exceeded $160,000 per year.

“Just west of N. Glebe Road, in tract 1020.01, 30 percent of teens ages 15-17 years were not enrolled in school, only 38 percent of adults had a Bachelor’s degree and 48 percent of the population was uninsured.”

It also found that life expectancy can vary by as much as 10 years across the county, “from 78 years in the Buckingham area to 88 years in parts of Rosslyn and Aurora Highlands.”

To help improve conditions, the report recommended better access to health care, education and affordable housing.

“In today’s knowledge economy, advancement requires better access to education — from preschool through college — and economic development to bring jobs with livable wages to disadvantaged areas,” it reads. “And it requires an investment in the infrastructure of neglected neighborhoods, to make the living environment healthier and safer, to provide transportation, and to improve public safety. What is good for our health is also good for the economy and will make Arlington County a stronger community for all of its residents.”

Courtesy image

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DEVELOPING: Bomb Squad Investigating Threat in Douglas Park

Update at 5:05 p.m. — The fire department said 16th Street S. is reopened after the investigation of a bomb threat earlier this afternoon. The scene has now been turned over to Arlington police, and the house being investigated for the possible bomb was deemed safe.

Earlier: Emergency crews closed 16th Street S. between S. Quincy Street and S. Pollard Street in the Douglas Park neighborhood while they investigate a bomb threat.

At around 3 p.m., police had contact with a person threatening self-harm near S. 16th Street and Quincy Street. Police said the person then indicated a house in the area may contain an explosive device. The person was removed from the scene, police said.

While the bomb squad investigates the threat, police evacuated neighbors and are preventing vehicles and pedestrians from entering the area. Also on scene was a fire truck and medic from the Arlington County Fire Department as well as a half-dozen police cruisers.

“We’re just taking all precautions,” a fire department spokeswoman said at the scene.

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Police Investigating Stabbing in Douglas Park Neighborhood

Police car lights(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Police are talking to a man who was allegedly involved in a stabbing in Arlington’s Douglas Park neighborhood this morning.

The stabbing happened shortly before 10 a.m. in an apartment on the 1300 block of S. Taylor Street, near Doctor’s Run Park and Randolph Elementary School.

The male victim was stabbed in the back, according to scanner traffic. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“Police… remain on scene investigating,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.com. “We have identified and are speaking to the other party involved and are not looking for any additional subjects involved in this incident.”

“There is no threat to the public,” she added.

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UPDATE: Barricade Situation Ends in Douglas Park

Arlington County Police are on scene of a possible barricade situation in the Douglas Park neighborhood, just south of Columbia Pike.

Police have blocked off part of 16th Street S., between Glebe Road and S. Monroe Street.

“Lots of police cars and a cop on a loudspeaker that keeps asking for a guy to come to the door,” an anonymous tipster told ARLnow.com just before 7 p.m. “[They’re saying] we’re not going anywhere… just come out.”

“ACPD is working to have a wanted subject safely exit a residence,” said police department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “There is no larger threat to community.”

Update at 8:50 p.m. — “The suspect has safely been taken into police custody,” Savage said. “Police remain on scene investigating.”

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County Officials Investigating Yellow Substance in Part of Four Mile Run

Update at 8:15 p.m. — “We traced the discoloration to an active construction site, which is the likely source,” said Arlington DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “A light-colored sediment had discharged from the site and into the storm drain system.”

Why did this stretch of Four Mile Run turn yellow?

That’s a question officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services are trying to answer.

The Arlington County Fire Department was called to investigate a yellow substance in a portion of the stream behind The Brittany condominium complex at 4500 S Four Mile Run Drive around 2:35 p.m. this afternoon.

Though the firefighters concluded the mysterious discoloration is not hazardous, the substance has county officials scratching their heads.

“We don’t know how long it had been there,” said DES staffer Mark Wisdom. “We can’t make a determination until we can find the source.”

Wisdom said he planned to search for discarded paint cans or other substances near the creek.

Photos and additional reporting by Lindsay Smith

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ACFD to Go Door-to-Door in Nauck and Douglas Park This Weekend

House fire in Nauck on April 4, 2013 (Photo courtesy @CAPT258)

This weekend, members of the Red Cross and the Arlington County Fire Department will be going door-to-door in the Douglas Park and Nauck neighborhoods, performing fire safety checks and smoke alarm inspections and, when necessary, installing free smoke alarms.

The goal: “to reduce the number of fire-related injuries and fatalities by ensuring residents have working smoke alarms.”

In 2013, two children were injured in a Nauck house fire (see photo, above). In 2014, two elderly residents died during in a house fire in the neighborhood.

ACFD says it will continue canvassing Arlington neighborhoods throughout the spring and summer to promote fire safety. From a press release:

According the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a working smoke alarm reduces the chance of dying in a fire by nearly half. Acting Fire Chief Joseph Reshetar explains, “Early detection of a fire is a key element to survival. Please make sure your smoke alarms are operating properly.”

Last summer ACFD piloted this program and, in just 14 days of canvassing, installed a total of 865 alarms and 174 batteries. Of the 1,826 homes inspected last summer, 30 percent had no working smoke alarms or an insufficient number of smoke alarms. Chief Reshetar will join the firefighters and volunteers canvassing this Saturday with the goal of reducing that percentage.

Firefighters from all 10 fire stations will continue to canvas neighborhoods throughout Arlington County every Saturday from now through September, to provide smoke alarm inspections and installations. Arlington County residents may also contact the fire department to schedule these services.

Remember, installing smoke alarms is only one part of home fire safety. The Fire Department and Red Cross encourage you to:

  • Test your smoke alarms every month by pressing the “test” button.
  • Change the batteries in all alarms twice a year with daylight savings time, unless you alarm is equipped with a 10 year lithium battery.
  • Ensure every person in your home understands and practices your home fire escape plan twice a year. Your plan should include two ways out of every room, getting low, closing the door behind, going directly to your predetermined family meeting place, and then calling 9-1-1.
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Postal Officials Address Continued Unreliable Mail Delivery in Douglas Park

Douglas Park Civic Association meeting about postal service in the neighborhoodMail that goes undelivered for months. Packages delivered to the wrong address. Long lines and unfriendly service.

Those are just some of the issues with mail delivery and the post office in Douglas Park, residents say.

The neighborhood email listserv has been abuzz for months with reports of postal problems, and it’s not the first time the south Arlington community has experienced such issues.

Last year WJLA reported on mysterious mail problems in Douglas Park, including cases of mail that was inexplicably delivered several months too late, without so much as an explanation or apology.

On Wednesday night, four U.S. Postal Service officials addressed a meeting of the Douglas Park Civic Association to hear residents’ concerns. After some two years of off-and-on postal problems and two previous meetings with USPS officials, residents are frustrated to the point where they’re no longer reporting issues through official channels — only griping on the listserv.

“We’re just trying to desperately understand what we can do to get reliable mail service in this neighborhood,” said civic association president Adam Henderson. “The chatter I see on the listserv, quite honestly, a lot of people are so frustrated with the situation that they don’t want to call because they don’t think anything is going to be done.”

Postal officials apologized for the problems and promised action. They said the matter had made its way all the way to the top — to the U.S. Postmaster General.

“Douglas Park is definitely on the radar screen,” said Sharon Owens, Postal Service District Manager for Northern Virginia and the D.C. area. “Please let your community know that we are committed to improving it.”

A number of factors could be contributing to the erosion of mail reliability in the neighborhood.

Officials said the Postal Service is being hit by a wave of retirements — often leaving less experienced mail carriers who are still getting up to speed on their routes. Owens said USPS is trying out a pilot program to better train new mail carriers.

Another, more localized factor, has to do with topography. Douglas Park is hilly, with few businesses or large apartment buildings. That means that a mail carrier needs to walk for much of their route, which can be exhausting and makes the route less desirable. Because mail carriers with seniority are allowed to pick their routes, that has left a succession of less experienced mail carriers in Douglas Park, residents were told.

Walter Daniels, the local Postmaster, said he was surprised to hear of the problems, since the Postal Service had not been getting complaints about mail delivery in Douglas Park and thus assumed that the previous issues had been resolved.

“We’re in the business of customer service. I really am shocked,” he said. “It sounds like we’re having some mis-deliveries again. We will have to got back to the drawing board” in terms of employee training and “will start monitoring things more closely again.”

The officials also promised to improve customer service at the Arlington South post office, at 1210 S. Glebe Road, which has been the subject of a constant barrage of listserv and online complaints.

Residents, meanwhile, were encouraged to contact USPS when there are complaints about mail service. The Postal Service doesn’t have the resources to monitor neighborhood listservs, as at least one resident suggested they should do.

“We don’t monitor social media on a local level,” said Northern Virginia District Marketing Manager Anthony Prisco. “If residents don’t tell us, we at the local level don’t really have any way of knowing that something is wrong until we come to one of these meetings.”

Also brought up at the meeting: delivery of the Arlington Sun Gazette newspaper.

Residents asked why only part of the neighborhood received the paper for free, a question that postal officials said should be directed to the newspaper. Some speculated that the distribution area was determined by home values or other economic factors.

One elderly resident, who’s outside the distribution area and thus pays to subscribe to the paper, said she’s “frustrated as all get out” because her paper usually arrives late. Postal officials were unable to explain why she often receives her paper on Thursday instead of Tuesday.

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Morning Notes

Traffic on the GW Parkway at night (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

APS Mulls Contract for School at TJ — The Arlington School Board tonight will consider a $4.7 million contract for architectural and engineering work on a proposed elementary school on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson Middle School. That’s despite well-organized neighborhood opposition to the school encroaching on Thomas Jefferson Park. [InsideNova]

Unreliable Mail Delivery in Douglas Park — Residents of Arlington’s Douglas Park neighborhood say their mail delivery has become considerably less reliable in the past year. Talk of missing mail, misdirected mail and delayed mail has reached a crescendo. The Postal Service says it’s investigating. [WJLA]

HOT Lanes Lawsuit Had ‘Unintended Consequences’ — Democratic County Board candidate Alan Howze acknowledged at Tuesday’s debate that Arlington County might have erred in pursuing an aggressive lawsuit against proposed High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-395. Howze said the suit “had unintended consequences with our relations with Richmond.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Early Morning Fire Sends Two Firefighters to Hospital

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A house fire just before 2:00 a.m. Tuesday did $150,000 of damage and sent two firefighters to the hospital, but the home’s occupants were unharmed.

At 1:51 a.m., Arlington County Fire Department received a call for a house fire on the 1700 block of S. Oakland Street, just two blocks away from Fire Station 9 on S. Walter Reed Drive, according to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The occupants, two adults and an infant, had gotten out of their Douglas Park house safely after being woken up by a fire alarm.

The fire was “inside the walls” on the second story of the house, Marchegiani said, making it difficult for firefighters to douse the flames. The fire spread across the second floor and into the attic before firefighters were able to contain and extinguish it.

“It took almost an hour to knock down the fire because they had to basically open the walls to find the fire,” Marchegiani said, adding that the firefighters “were experiencing heavy heat.”

Two firefighters were transported to the hospital via ambulance, one suffering from smoke inhalation and another from “minor trauma.” Marchegiani said both are in good condition as of late this morning.

Marchegiani emphasized that the fire could have turned tragic if it weren’t for the house’s alarms. The Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire.

“We credit the fact that there were no injuries to the occupants to the working smoke alarms,” Marchegiani said. “That’s really the message we’re trying to push.”

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