Making the Case for Amazon in Crystal City — Amazon’s planned second headquarters would find a good home in Crystal City, according to Washingtonian magazine writer Dan Reed. He said the combination of a major airport close by, good transit links from Metro and the fact that it remains “underutilized” after Base Realignment and Closure makes it an attractive option. Reed also suggested Poplar Point on the Anacostia waterfront in D.C. or the Discovery District in College Park, Md. as other places that fit the bill. [Washingtonian]
More Than 40 Drone Flights Detected at Fort Myer — A study to detect unmanned aircraft found that 43 drone flights were picked up over Fort Myer over a 30-day period beginning in August. It is in the middle of a no-drone zone, with flights requiring specific permission from the Federal Aviation Administration. The report suggests the flights could have been from “well-intentioned” tourists at the nearby Arlington National Cemetery and other National Parks. [WTOP]
Leaf Collection Begins Next Week — “The Arlington County government’s vacuum-leaf-collection program is slated to begin November 13 and run through December 22. Each civic-association area is slated to get two passes during the cycle, with signs posted three to seven days before each pass, government officials said. Schedules also will be posted online. Residents wishing leaves to be vacuumed away should place them at the curb by the posted date, but avoid putting them under low-hanging wires or near parked cars.” [Inside NOVA]
APS to Slow Down Planning for Instructional Focus of New High School Seats — Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington School Board agreed to slow down the process of determining an instructional focus for the 500-600 new high school seats at the Education Center until a task force looking at the school’s strategic plan has finished its work. The plan had been for Superintendent Patrick Murphy to bring initial ideas for the site to the Board in December, but staff said slowing down would allow a “big-picture view of all high-school needs in the county.” [Inside NOVA]
Virginia Man Tried to Board Plane With Loaded Gun at Reagan National Airport — A Manassas man tried to board a plane at Reagan National Airport last Thursday with a loaded gun. The Transportation Security Administration detected the 9mm semi-automatic handgun during security checks, confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a weapons charge. It was loaded with seven bullets. [WJLA, WRC]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Wakefield Student Sang National Anthem — Wakefield High School junior Samantha Rios sang the national anthem before Sunday night’s Redskins-Raiders game. Rios, who previously competed on a Spanish language version of The Voice, was seen by a national TV audience as controversy swirled over players kneeling in protest during the anthem. [WUSA 9]
Officials to Compete in Trivia Battle — County Board Chair Jay Fisette, state Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Patrick Hope and former County Board members Mary Hynes and Joe Wholey will compete in a “housing trivia battle” next month, testing their knowledge of Arlington history, particularly as it relates to housing issues. [Arlington County]
Clement Blasts Daycare Approval — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement said in a new email to supporters that the current Board places the interests of developers ahead of that of residents. As an example, she cited the recent approval of a new daycare center on Lee Highway, despite concerns about traffic among some local residents. The approval “will likely engender cut through traffic on an adjacent one lane street off Lee Highway that has already experienced major traffic accidents,” Clement wrote. The daycare had the general support of the local civic association. [Audrey Clement]
Gun Control Group to Host Fmr. ATF Agent — The local chapter of the pro-gun-control group Moms Demand Action is hosting a special event on Wednesday, featuring a former ATF special agent. The event will include discussion of the “the challenges facing gun violence prevention.” It is scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Shirlington Branch Library. Moms Demand Action had a booth at Clarendon Day this past weekend and signed up nearly 100 new volunteers. [Facebook, Medium]
Nearby: One Guy is Holding Up Development in D.C. — One persistent activist is holding up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development in the District. Chris Otten has succeeded in delaying numerous developments by rallying a group of neighbors and filing court challenges. [Bisnow]
The shots were fired around 2 a.m. on the 1000 block of N. Vermont Street, according to Arlington County Police. No injuries were reported.
An ACPD crime report details what happened.
RECKLESS HANDLING OF A FIREARM (late), 2017-06130094, 1000 block of N. Vermont Street. At approximately 11:03 a.m. on June 13, officers responded to the report of a suspicious circumstance. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 2:00 a.m. a resident heard a loud noise and later discovered two bullet holes in a shared wall of his residence. Police responded, conducted an investigation which is ongoing at this time.
The shootings happened around 2:20 a.m. Saturday, on the 2800 block of Key Blvd in Lyon Village, police say.
“The suspects advised that they were intoxicated and wanted to remain in the area until sober,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “That’s when they retrieved the shotgun, walked through the neighborhood and discharged multiple rounds.”
Two men, from Springfield and Falls Church, were arrested with the help of a description provided by a witness. They are now facing numerous charges including discharge of a firearm in a public place and destruction of property.
More from an ACPD crime report:
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2017-05060047, 2800 block of Key Boulevard. At approximately 2:19 a.m. on May 6, police were dispatched for the report of two suspects walking in the area damaging vehicles. Arriving officers located individuals matching the descriptions provided by a witness. The investigation revealed that the two intoxicated suspects retrieved a shotgun from their vehicle, discharged multiple rounds and damaged several vehicles. Alex Ventura, 21, of Springfield, VA was arrested and charged with destruction of property (x4), drunk in public and reckless handling of a firearm. Gerson Arias, 22, of Falls Church, VA was arrested and charged with intentionally destroy property, discharge a firearm in a public place, possession of a controlled substance, and drunk in public.
Federal prosecutors announced the plea deal early Tuesday afternoon. The defendant, 28-year-old Anthony Medrano, now faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced in August.
From a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:
An Arlington man pleaded guilty today to willfully receiving a firearm while under indictment in Virginia state court.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and other court records, Anthony Fernandez Medrano, 28, was indicted in Virginia state court in 2015 for possessing cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance. While still under indictment, and not lawfully able to purchase or possess firearms, Fernandez Medrano sought and purchased guns from a private party seller and signed bills of sale confirming the purchases.
Fernandez Medrano faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on August 11. 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.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael B. Boxler, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Smith III is prosecuting the case.
The incident drew a big police response at the Horizons apartments (4300 Old Dominion Drive) around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The maintenance workers reportedly ran away after the gun was drawn and nobody was hurt.
More from an ACPD crime report:
BRANDISHING A FIREARM, 2017-03150073, 4300 block of Old Dominion Drive. At approximately 10:30 a.m. on March 15, officers responded to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined that a building’s management notified residents that routine maintenance would be conducted in the building. When two maintenance workers knocked on a male subject’s door, the subject answered while brandishing a firearm and threatening the victims. The victims then fled the scene and contacted police. Gin Chan, 71, of Arlington Va, was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm.
The lawsuit against 64 people who spoke in opposition to Nova Armory, the Lyon Park gun store, helped provide the impetus for a state bill to protect protesters from similar court action.
House Bill 1941, introduced by southwest Virginia Del. Terry Kilgore (R-1) and co-patroned by local Del. Mark Levine (D-45), provides immunity from a lawsuit to anyone who speaks out on a matter of public concern, unless they knowingly make false statements. Defendants in so-called “strategic lawsuits against public participation” could be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs under the bill.
It passed unanimously in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate, and awaits the signature of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
Levine said the desire to protest goes beyond party politics, and the new bill protects the First Amendment rights of those across the political spectrum.
“This is not a partisan issue,” he wrote in a message to supporters. “Liberals will want to protest gun stores, just like conservatives will want to protest affordable health care. But people should have a right to state their opinions and protest without fearing a lawsuit.”
Levine had initially proposed a bill of his own related to the subject, House Bill 2446, with sanctions against plaintiffs who “bring an action to deter someone from exercising his constitutional rights.” That bill was tabled in the House Committee for Courts and Justice. Levine then signed onto HB1941 as chief co-patron.
Nova Armory sued opponents who spoke out against its opening, including Arlington County’s seven state representatives, who signed a letter to landlord Katya Varley on General Assembly letterhead expressing their objections.
Nova Armory alleged in its lawsuit that the owner and landlord were harassed, and that death threats were mailed to Lauren Pratte, the store’s 16-year-old “owner-in-training.”
In a press release last March threatening such action, Pratte said ownership were concerned about the infringement on their civil rights by their state representatives.
“We’ve given up on fact-checking all their false statements,” Pratte said at the time. “Instead we’ve told our lawyers to concentrate on any actions in which we are deprived of our civil liberties by these so-called public servants — they’ll regret any abuse of their authority.”
But one day before the lawsuit was due to be heard in Arlington County Circuit Court, the Washington Post reported the store filed a notice to drop the suit.
“I am delighted — though not surprised — to learn that Nova Armory nonsuited its lawsuit today,” Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48), another defendant, said in a statement to the Post. “From the very beginning it was clear that this lawsuit had no basis in law or fact.”
At the monthly meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee earlier this month, Levine said the bill has a broader mission beyond this one lawsuit. Instead, he said, it protects anyone who wishes to exercise their First Amendment rights.
“If you want to go out and protest, you are free to go out and protest,” he said. “They can’t sue you.”
Police were called to the 3700 block of 36th Road N., in the Rivercrest community, around 9:30 p.m. for a cab fare dispute.
“Upon the officer’s arrival, he made verbal contact with the suspect,” police said in a crime report. “The suspect then lunged forward at the officer, grabbed his weapon and attempted to remove it from the holster. A struggle ensued and once additional police units arrived on scene, the suspect was taken into custody.”
Several officers were hurt during the fracas.
“Three Arlington County police officers received medical treatment at Virginia Hospital Center for non-life threatening injuries,” said the crime report. “The subject was transported to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.”
The suspect, a 16-year-old boy from Arlington, is now facing a number of charges, including a drug charge. He has been charged with “attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer, assault on a law enforcement officer (x2), resisting arrest and possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance.”
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is inviting the public to join him in an evening of open discussion at an event he has dubbed “The Road Ahead.”
Beyer says many Arlington residents have contacted his office recently to voice concerns and to inquire about working to “bridge the great divisions that exist in our rich and complex country.”
Issues on the agenda for discussion include health care, immigration, climate change, gun safety, civil rights, and America’s role in the world, among others.
The event will take place at Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) on Monday, January 16, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free and those interested in attending may register online.
The incident was reported around 2:20 p.m. at Nova Armory (2300 N. Pershing Drive).
The man left before police arrived. He was later found but was referred to county social services and not charged with a crime.
This was at least the second time police were called to the store this fall. In September police investigated a potential burglary at Nova Armory; no guns were taken during the break-in.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
At approximately 2:19 PM on November 16, police were dispatched to the 2300 block of N. Pershing Drive for the report of a male subject who entered the business yelling obscenities. The man had exited the business prior to police arrival but responding officers were able to identify and locate the man. After investigation, officers determined that no crime had occurred. The subject has a history of mental health issues and had been referred to county government services.
(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) A man was taken into police custody at gunpoint in the middle of Columbia Pike this afternoon after a false report that he threatened someone with a gun.
The incident happened just before 2 p.m. near the intersection of the Pike and S. Glebe Road.
A 911 caller said the man had threatened him with a gun during some sort of confrontation, according to scanner traffic. According to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage, the incident started as a verbal confrontation between the caller and the man over the caller allegedly ogling the man’s girlfriend while the couple was stopped in their car on Glebe Road near the Bank of America.
Police, told that the man had a gun, rushed to the scene and conducted a traffic stop on a car matching the description relayed by the caller. Officers ordered the man out of the vehicle with his hands up and took him into custody in the middle of Columbia Pike.
Upon further investigation, officers determined that the man did not have a gun in his possession and was not armed during the confrontation, Savage said.
“Basically it was just a verbal dispute that escalated,” Savage said. The scene has been cleared and no charges have been filed.
Gondola Study Says System is ‘Feasible’ — It is “feasible” to build a gondola that brings riders from the Rosslyn Metro station to Georgetown, according to a study supported by the Georgetown and Rosslyn BIDs and other entities. The gondola system would cost $80-90 million to build and about $3.25 million per year to operate, according to the study. [Washington Business Journal, Washington Post]
Gun Store’s Lawsuit Dropped — Lyon Park gun store Nova Armory has dropped its lawsuit against 64 residents and elected officials who, it claimed, conspired to try to ruin its business. It previously contended that the actions of “local crazies” who spoke out against the store could be a case of “tortious interference.” [Washington Post]
GOP Candidate: Nov. 8 Will Be ‘Sad Day’ — Election Day will be “a sad day for American voters because they have been let down by the system,” says Charles Hernick, the Republican candidate for Congress who’s challenging Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Hernick said that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump “has brought the bar so low that he’s making Hillary Clinton look like a shining star,” even though Clinton’s presidency would be “damaged goods.” [Telegraph UK]
Commission Members Wanted — Arlington County is looking for residents to serve on a Joint Facilities Advisory Commission that will “provide input on capital facilities needs assessment, capital improvement plans and long-range facility planning for both the County Government and Arlington Schools.” The deadline to apply is Nov. 16. [Arlington County]
The incident was reported around 10 p.m. on the 2400 block of 27th Court S. No injuries were reported.
From an Arlington County police crime report:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED DWELLING, 161019045, 2400 block of S. 27th Court. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on October 19, officers responded to the report of a late shots fired. Upon investigation, it was determined that a male victim found a bullet hole in the roof of a room inside his residence. A bullet was found on the floor nearby. A search of the residence and a check on the welfare were conducted in nearby residences. An origin of the bullet was unable to be located. The investigation is ongoing.
Separately, but around the same time, police responded to a report of someone shooting at people and homes with an airsoft gun in the Columbia Forest neighborhood, just north of Wakefield High School.
ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 161019048, 5200 block of S. 11th Street. At approximately 10:05 p.m. on October 19, an unknown subject(s) shot an air-soft firearm at a male victim and the surrounding houses in the neighborhood. The victim was uninjured and there was no damaged property found. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
The robbery happened around 11:40 p.m. The men fled on foot with cash from the business’ cash register.
Police would not reveal which store was robbed, but the only business in the shopping center that is open past 10 p.m. is the Brick’s Pizza shop.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ARMED ROBBERY, 161010039, 4800 block of N. 1st Street. At approximately 11:39 p.m. on October 10, three unknown black males entered a business armed with handguns wearing black ski masks. The suspects stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and fled the area on foot. Investigation is ongoing.
The crime happened close to the entrance to the Bluemont Junction Trail. Attempts by police to find the suspect were unsuccessful.
From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ARMED ROBBERY, 161004036, 700 block of N. George Mason Drive. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on October 4, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery. When on scene it was determined that a male subject approached the victims, brandished a firearm, and demanded money. The suspect then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. A K-9 track was attempted with negative results due to the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 6’0″ tall and weighed 225 lbs. He was wearing a blue t-shirt, dark pants, and had dreadlocks.
Also in this week’s crime report, a man with a gun was able to detain a suspect who allegedly broke into his Waverly Hills home and stole booze from his refrigerator.
BURGLARY, 160929016, 4300 block of N. Old Dominion Drive. At approximately 10:03 a.m. on September 29, officers responded to the report of a fight in progress involving a firearm. Upon arrival, it was determined that a male victim witnessed a male subject exit his apartment through a window. The victim retrieved his firearm, chased the subject and was able to hold down the subject until officers arrived on scene. The firearm was not discharged and there were no injuries. It was later learned that the suspect took alcohol from the victim’s fridge. Ben Houssen, 39, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny, and identity theft. He is being held without bond.