Press Club
Arlington police car (file photo)

A 53-year-old Florida man is behind bars after being found with a gun, ammunition and drugs on the grounds of Washington-Liberty High School, police say.

Officers were dispatched to a parking garage next to the school, on the 1300 block of N. Stafford Street, around 5:45 a.m. Thursday for what was reported as a “suspicious” parked vehicle.

“Upon arrival, officers located the occupied vehicle and observed the suspect asleep behind the wheel and alleged drug paraphernalia in plain view,” said the latest Arlington County Police Department crime report. “During a search of the vehicle, a firearm, ammunition and controlled substances were recovered.”

The man, a resident of St. Augustine, Florida, was arrested is now facing an array of charges, ACPD said, including: “Possession of Schedule I/II Controlled Substance (x3), Possession of Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds, Possession of a Firearm while Possessing Schedule I/II Substance and Concealed Weapon Violation.”

“He was held without bond,” ACPD noted.

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Morning Notes

Bon Air Park azaleas (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

More Bad Driving on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “WATCH THIS! I thought I saw a crash in the distance. Nope. An I-395S driver stopped in the left lane for 30 secs to cross 4 lanes to get to the right hand Boundary Channel exit!” [Twitter]

Drug Take-Back Day Tomorrow — “If you have expired or unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet, Arlington County residents will have an opportunity to safely get rid of them this weekend. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday.” [Patch]

Civic Association to Celebrate Anniversary — “The John M. Langston Citizens Association has set a weekend’s worth of activities to celebrate its 85th anniversary, running May 13-15. The association represents residents in the communities of Halls Hill and High View Park, straddling what long was known as Lee Highway but has been renamed Langston Boulevard.” [Sun Gazette]

AHC Honors Volunteers — “Providing services where residents live is AHC’s secret sauce. Volunteers are the key ingredient. This Volunteer Month, AHC is celebrating the nearly 350 individuals and groups who generously contribute their time and talents annually through our education and social services programs.” [AHC Inc.]

Art Truck Marks Five Years — “Not long after I began working for Arlington County, Arlington Arts launched the Arlington Art Truck: a bold new project to take curated and interactive visual art experiences out into the community to where people congregate. Five years in, the program has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations.” [Arlington County]

Rep. Beyer Interviewed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) “has cast over 2,100 proxy votes for his colleagues in the last 2 years, by *far* the most of any lawmakers. I spoke w/ him about what that’s like, how it could change, and how he’s cast more votes to impeach Trump (6) than anyone else.” [Business Insider, Twitter]

Va. Requires Digital School Floor Plans — “Every second counts for first responders when it comes to saving lives and now a new Virginia law aims to help those heroes navigate better as they respond to emergencies at schools. Public schools will be required to digitally keep an up-to-date and accurate floor plan for each building.” [Fox 5]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 63 and low of 40. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:00 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

The pedestrian bridge over Wilson Blvd in Ballston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Police Looking for Missing Teen — “ACPD is seeking assistance locating 15-year-old Alejandro… Described as a Hispanic male, 5’8″ tall, 145 lbs with brown eyes and half yellow/half black curly hair. He has ear piercings, a nose piercing and wears a silver dog chain necklace.” [Twitter]

Another Missing Teen — “ACPD is seeking assistance locating 14-year-old Anderson… He is described as a Hispanic male, approx 5’7 tall and 130 lbs. Last seen wearing a black sweat shirt, gray pants and black sneakers. He is known to frequent Rocky Run Park and CVS (2121 15th St N).” [Twitter]

W-L Name Change Attorney Disbarred — “A Virginia state court has disbarred Jonathon Moseley, an attorney who has represented a slew of high-profile Jan. 6 defendants, including a member of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy, as well as several targets of the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.” Moseley also represented opponents of changing the name of Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School to Washington-Liberty. [Politico, ARLnow Comment]

Another Drug Take-Back Day Planned — “On Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. This disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.” [ACPD]

Fmr. APS Superintendent Leaving WV Job — “Among 75 personnel transactions during Monday night’s Berkeley County Board of Education meeting, district Superintendent Dr. Patrick K. Murphy announced his retirement, which was unanimously accepted by the board along with the other movements.” [The Journal]

Historic Home Reopens — “The Ball-Sellers House, one of the few surviving examples of working-class 18th-century housing in Northern Virginia, reopened for the 2022 season on April 2. Owned and maintained since the 1970s by the Arlington Historical Society, the house will host a number of programs in 2022.” [Sun Gazette]

Nearby: MoCo Wrangles Over Housing — “In the D.C. region, where local governments are struggling to address a severe housing shortage that is driving up prices, elected officials are under growing pressure to push back against civically engaged homeowners who mobilize against new housing construction. Montgomery County, an affluent D.C. suburb that has experienced transformative growth and demographic change in the last 30 years, exemplifies how hard that can be.” [DCist]

It’s Thursday — Rain throughout the day, until evening. High of 56 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:45 am and sunset at 7:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Another incident drew a police response to a rowdy block of 23rd Street in Crystal City on Sunday night.

Police say a couple skipped out on their bill at an establishment on the 300 block of 23rd Street S. just before 11:30 p.m. A security guard who tried to write down the license plate of the suspects’ vehicle was then nearly run over, and another parked car was damaged, as they made their getaway, according to a crime report today.

From the Arlington County Police Department:

ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-03270226, 300 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 11:26 p.m. on March 27, police were dispatched to the report of a hit and run just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male and female suspects left an establishment without paying their bill. A Security Guard made contact with the suspects outside the establishment and requested they return to pay. The two suspects declined and entered their nearby parked vehicle. As the Security Guard was documenting the license plate, the male suspect allegedly reversed the vehicle, almost striking the Security Guard and hitting a parked vehicle before fleeing the scene. No injuries or significant property damage were reported.

“The investigation is ongoing,” the police department noted.

While the name of the business was not listed by ACPD, there have been dozens of incidents — including fights, noise complaints and indecent exposure reports — associated with the nearly two-year-old Bowlero bowling alley on that block.

Separately, police and medics responded to the same block just before noon on Friday for a report of two teen girls having an adverse reaction — potentially an overdose — to marijuana edibles. The incident happened several hours before Bowlero’s normal operating hours and likely did not involve the bowling alley.

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Morning Notes

Men play basketball at Westover Park under the lights (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Prison for Convicted Drug Trafficker — “An Alexandria man was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for conspiracy, possession, and distribution of fentanyl and Eutylone, and being a felon in possession of a firearm during drug trafficking… Pills distributed by the conspiracy twice on December 20, 2020, contributed to the mixed drug overdose death of a 20-year-old female in Arlington, whose blood was later determined to contain fentanyl.” [Dept. of Justice, Twitter]

ACDC Lowering Participation Age — “Seventeen-year-olds would be able to participate in operation of the Arlington County Democratic Committee under proposed bylaw amendments. The change, part of a larger swath of amendments to be voted on in April, would allow those under 18 to participate in ACDC activities, including caucuses, if they would turn 18 before the next Election Day.” [Sun Gazette]

History of Columbia Gardens Cemetery — “Columbia Gardens, long run by the Thomas family, is the resting place of historic personages: car dealer Bob Peck, Sen. Robert Byrd, guitarist Roy Buchanan, and a host of prominent locals with names like Ball, Marcy, Mackay and Lyon. Retired superintendent Ned Thomas Jr. confirmed the story his great-grandfather (a co-founder) relayed: ‘Someone in the War Department knew World War I was coming and that Arlington cemetery was basically full,’ he told me. So the partners thought a new cemetery in Arlington would make a lot of money.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Marymount Boosts Local Economy — “A new study suggests Marymount University pumps $236 million annually into the local economy, directly and indirectly, and is responsible for a cumulative payroll of about $90 million. The study, released by the university, looks at both the direct impact of the university on local economic conditions, and indirect impacts, such as spending by students.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Rain in the evening. High of 75 and low of 57. Sunrise at 6:33 am and sunset at 6:09 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Raindrops on a tree branch in Westover (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Beyer’s Statement on Ukraine — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) last night: “Praying for the Ukrainian people tonight. America stands with Ukraine.” [Twitter]

HQ2 Phase 1 to Feature 14 Retailers — “JBG Smith also revealed Tuesday that it has identified and executed leases with 14 retailers set to open by the end of 2023 at Metropolitan Park, though it didn’t identify those brands. That’s a jump from what the real estate company had announced in November during a tour of the HQ2 site, at that time noting plans for between seven to 12 retailers on the ground floor. Two of those retailers have been announced: District Dogs and Rāko Coffee Roasters.” [Washington Business Journal]

More Details on HS at HQ2 Phase 2 — “During a recent community meeting about the project, county staff said Amazon will provide 26,500 square feet of space for the school in one of its HQ2 office buildings at the PenPlace site. The plan calls for Amazon to construct the school’s space and to provide a rent-free lease to the county for a minimum of 30 years… ‘We’re being told it will be the fall of 2026,’ Thompson said when asked when Arlington Community High School would officially make the move to HQ2.” [WJLA]

Local James Beard Nominees — Two chefs with Arlington restaurants have been nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. Peter Chang, of the eponymous restaurant in the Lee-Harrison shopping center, has been nominated for a national award for Outstanding Chef. Ruthie’s All-Day proprietor Matt Hill, meanwhile, has been nominated in the category of Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. [Eater, Washington Business Journal]

December Death Investigation Update — “The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the manner of both deaths as accidental with cause being narcotics-related. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available.” [Twitter, ACPD]

County Employee Vax Deadline Approaching — “County Manager Mark Schwartz said the number of employees who neither have gotten vaccinated, nor won an exemption, is down to a miniscule number (six, he said on Feb. 15). Ninety-six percent of permanent government employees have met the vaccination mandate, with 135 more receiving accommodations required under federal law.” [Sun Gazette]

Mask Guidance from APS Superintendent — “As communicated last week, families will be able to opt their students out of wearing a mask in school beginning next Tuesday, March 1, in accordance with the recently passed Virginia law, Senate Bill 739. As this new law takes effect, I ask everyone to practice patience and understanding for others with respect to mask choice. We are one community, unified by our shared commitment to student success, health and well-being.” [Arlington Public Schools]

It’s Thursday — Cloudy with a chance of sleet today. A chance of rain and snow in the morning, then rain likely in the afternoon. Little or no accumulation of frozen precipitation. A slight chance of sleet in the evening, plus rain and patchy fog. High of 44 and low of 32. Sunrise at 6:49 am and sunset at 5:57 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Jerome Bracey hangs an ornament on the tree in the plaza at Westpost, also known as Pentagon Row (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Carbeque on I-395 — A car was engulfed in flames on I-395 near Shirlington Circle last night. Southbound and HOV lanes were blocked as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. Most lanes reopened by 8:30 p.m. [Twitter, Twitter]

YHS Runner Advances to National Meet — “Yorktown High School’s Owen McArdle has qualified to run in a national-championship race. By virtue of finishing fifth in 15:05.49 at the Eastbay South Regional boys championship high-school cross country meet, the senior earned a spot in Eastbay’s boys national meet Dec. 11 in San Diego. The top 10 finishers in region meets earn a berth to race in the nationals. The winning time at the South Region meet was 15:00.31.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Records More Opioid Deaths — ” In an already deadly year for overdoses, Arlington County recorded at least two more opioid-related fatalities since the Thanksgiving holiday. Out of the 149 overdoses in the county (as of Nov. 26), 26 of them were deadly, according to the Arlington County opioid incident data. The 2021 numbers have surpassed the total for 2020.” [WUSA 9]

D.C. Area Home Prices Keep Rising — “The median price of single-family homes in the Washington region posted a double-digit year-over-year increase in the third quarter, but its bump up was below that of the nation as a whole. With a median sales price of $548,600 across the D.C. metro region, the area’s single-family home price rose 11.5 percent from the same July-August-September period in 2020, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s December — The first day of December (today) will be warmer than the last days of November. The kickoff of meteorological winter will be mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Sunrise at 7:08 a.m. and sunset at 4:46 p.m. There is a chance of rain between 8 p.m. tonight and 8 a.m. Thursday. Otherwise, Thursday will be partly sunny, with a high near 61, and a southwest wind 6 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. [Weather.gov]

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Gavel (Flickr photo by Joe Gratz)

The Alexandria man whose drugs led to a local woman’s death is expected to spend at least a decade in prison.

Prosecutors announced this morning that 29-year-old Kibruysday Degefa, accused of distributing the fentanyl-laced drugs that caused the overdose death of a 20-year-old woman in Arlington, was convicted on an array of charges by a jury in Alexandria federal court.

Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn helped to make the announcement. Degefa is set to be sentenced in February and is facing a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia is below.

A federal jury convicted an Alexandria man yesterday on charges of conspiracy, possession, and distribution of fentanyl and Eutylone, and being a felon in possession of a firearm during drug trafficking.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, from in or around June 2020, through at least December 2020, Kibruysday Degefa, 29, conspired with others to distribute counterfeit, pressed pills containing fentanyl, as well as Eutylone, which is a designer drug similar in character to MDMA. Pills distributed by the conspiracy twice on December 20, 2020, contributed to the mixed drug overdose death of a 20-year-old female in Arlington, whose blood was later determined to contain fentanyl. A search warrant on the hotel room where Degefa was staying at the time revealed additional narcotics for distribution, including Eutylone, along with multiple firearms concealed in the bathroom ceiling tiles. Degefa was previously convicted of robbery in Alexandria in 2015.

Degefa faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison when sentenced on February 18, 2022. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andy Penn, Arlington County Chief of Police; Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division; Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police; and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the verdict.

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Morning Notes

Blue and Orange Line Changes Today — “There will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations. Blue Line service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square stations only… Orange Line service will operate between Vienna and New Carrollton stations and Silver Line service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations, with single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom.” [WMATA]

Suspicious Object in Pentagon Parking Lot — From the Pentagon Force Protection Agency yesterday afternoon: “At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) Police unit on routine patrol in South parking when they observed a suspicious object. The area was immediately cordoned off, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked from the area. PFPA Hazardous Device Unit responded and the object was rendered safely at about 6:50 a.m. The all clear was given at 7:35 a.m… There is no threat to the Pentagon and surrounding area. The incident is under further investigation.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlingtonian Swims Around Manhattan — “What’s that popular phrase often given as the reason climbers attempt to scale Mount Everest: ‘Because it is there.’ That’s pretty much the same explanation Andie Nelson gave, in addition to being a new challenge, for successfully completing the 28.5-mile 20 Bridges Manhattan Swim around the famous New York City island-borough on Aug. 24. It was the first time the Arlington resident attempted the swim.” [Sun Gazette]

Pair Face Drug, Robbery Charges — “800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 5:43 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Based upon information provided by dispatch and witnesses in the area, a lookout was broadcast and two of the three suspects were located and taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the three known suspects allegedly forced entry into the victim’s apartment and physically assaulted her before stealing two cell phones and fleeing the scene on foot. During a search of the two suspects incident to arrest, items consistent with drug paraphernalia were recovered.” [ACPD]

Clarendon Road Closure Today — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday 9am – 1pm: Temporary closure of EB Washington Blvd between N Kirkwood and Wilson Blvd for roadway infrastructure. Expect detour at Kirkwood to 10th St North, then to Wilson. WB Washington Blvd open but expect delays.” [Twitter]

Volunteer to Remove Trail Bumps — From Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail: “Tired of those bumps on the trail? Volunteer to help us fix them. Volunteer to fix the bumps near Memorial Bridge on 10/16.” [Twitter, Eventbrite]

Video Tour of Local Fire Station — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Since COVID prevented us from opening up our fire stations to tours during fire prevention week, we hope our community enjoys this video tour of Fire Station 5 given by the members assigned there on C Shift.” [Twitter, YouTube]

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Prescription drugs (Photo by Freestocks/Unsplash)

The county will be offering safe disposal of unused prescription drugs later this month as opioid overdoses rise in Arlington.

On Saturday, Oct. 23, the Arlington County Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will offer contactless, drive-thru drug disposal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at police department headquarters (1425 N. Courthouse Road) and Fire Station No. 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street). It’s part of a nationwide effort by the DEA.

This disposal service is free and anonymous. Officers will remove items from cars as participants drive by, and there will be a separate drop-off area for cyclists and pedestrians.

Police say this is an “opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.”

The event comes amid a historic spike in fatal overdoses. ACPD reports that there have been more overdoses in 2021 than in any year since the county started tracking cases in 2014.

“That’s why it’s more important than ever that members of the public take advantage of this potentially lifesaving program as well as other treatment resources available in Arlington County and through the Department of Human Services,” the release said.

Participants can drop off tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Vape pens and other kinds of e-cigarettes, with the batteries removed, will also be accepted. The locations will not accept liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes, other sharps and illegal drugs.

For those unable to attend the event, Arlington County has four permanent drug disposal boxes available at the following locations:

  • Fire Station 2 (4805 Wilson Blvd)
  • Fire Station 5 (1750 S. Hayes Street)
  • Fire Station 9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
  • Arlington County Police Department (1425 N. Courthouse Road)

More than 7,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been safely disposed of since these sites were set up in 2018, according to police.

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Morning Notes

Police Make Numerous DUI Arrests — From the Arlington County Police Department: “ACPD Officers are committed to making our roadways safer by identifying, stopping, and apprehending impaired drivers. Last week (September 12 – 18), officers made 16 arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Motorists are reminded that it is never okay to drink and drive.” [Twitter]

ACPD Warning of Tainted Cocaine — “Please take steps to protect yourself and others who may be in possession of cocaine purchased in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The nasal spray Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can save the life of someone who is overdosing from substances containing opioids, if given in time, and test strips can detect dangerous fentanyl-laced drugs before they are used.” [Arlington County]

Man Stabbed Near Columbia Pike — ” The investigation revealed that at approximately 1:15 a.m., the victim was walking in the area when he was pushed from behind by the unknown suspect and fell to the ground. The suspect then brandished a knife and demanded money from the victim before stabbing him and stealing his wallet. The suspect fled the scene on foot and the victim returned to his residence before determining he was in need of medical services.” [ACPD]

Gusty Storm Yesterday Afternoon — “A 39 mph wind gust was recorded at National Airport with the storm that passed through Arlington earlier this afternoon, per the National Weather Service.” [Twitter]

Power Outages After Wednesday’s Storm — “More than 1,000 homes and businesses are currently without power in Arlington. The largest outage is affecting the area around Kenmore Middle School.” [Twitter]

School Bond Funds New ‘Heights’ Entrance — “A new entrance to the Shriver Program, which is collocated with H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Rosslyn, is needed to make it easier for those with disabilities to access the building and the parking lot… More funds are need to permit ‘the completion of a design that we had intended in the first place – complete it the right way,’ Kanninen said. The $11.39 million project accounts for nearly half the proposed $23 million school bond that goes to voters on Nov. 2.” [Sun Gazette]

Klobuchar to Canvass in Arlington Sunday — “Join us for a Weekend of Action canvass in Arlington with Senator Amy Klobuchar & Governor Terry McAuliffe! We’ll be talking with our neighbors about the issues that are important to them — and why Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, Mark Herring, and Alfonso Lopez are the right people to move Virginia forward in 2021.” [Mobilize]

Update to Metro Story — A report from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission suggests that the person who fell from a train while walking between railcars near the Clarendon station was the son of a WMATA employee. He was able to continue on to Tysons but suffered significant injuries, was bleeding heavily and was later hospitalized. [ARLnow]

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