58°Scattered Clouds

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Police car (file photo)A resident of Arlington’s Long Branch Creek neighborhood, near Pentagon City, found a bullet hole and a bullet inside his home last night, but it’s unclear from where it was fired.

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 11, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

Police car (file photo)Three masked men with guns robbed a business in the Arlington Forest Shopping Center last night.

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.

by ARLnow.com — October 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Arlington County police carA man with a gun robbed a couple of people on N. George Mason Drive in the Bluemont neighborhood yesterday evening.

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.

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


by ARLnow.com — October 4, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Bee and flower (Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk)

Gun Store Has New Owner — Lyon Park gun store Nova Armory has reportedly been sold to one of its employees. Shawn Poulin, the store’s manager, says he is now also its majority owner. The previous owner, Dennis Pratte, at one point claimed that the store was actually owned by his 16-year-old daughter. Poulin says the store is profitable and he plans to expand it to a second floor, “with a showroom to feature rifles, tactical gear and an expanded clothing line.” [Washington Post]

New Bishop for ArlingtonUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington is getting a new bishop. Bishop Michael Burbidge, 59, is transferring to Arlington from Raleigh, N.C. Burbridge is scheduled to be installed as bishop on Dec. 6, replacing current bishop Paul Loverde, 76. Some local Catholics have been pushing for a new bishop who will take the diocese in a different direction than Loverde, a traditionalist who decried the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Burbridge was critical of North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom” law, which was seen as anti-LGBT, though he was also against an anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte that HB2 was intended to undo. [Fox 5, InsideNova]

The Evolution of Ballston — GGW takes a look at the past, present and future of Ballston. The article notes that Ballston was once the end of the Orange Line and that ridership at the station fell in the 1980s when the line was extended to Vienna. [Greater Greater Washington]

Immigrant Women to Protest at DCA — Immigrant women and labor union allies are planning a protest at Reagan National Airport today. They’ll be protesting the treatment of immigrant women who work at the airport, claiming poor working conditions for immigrant mothers in particular. [Patch]

Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk

by ARLnow.com — October 3, 2016 at 1:40 pm 0

Arlington's Marymount University (Flickr pool photo by Eric)Update at 2 p.m. — The “all clear” has been given by police. “This appears to have been a false report,” the university said via Twitter. “Please resume normal activities.”

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a report of a man with a gun on the Marymount University campus in north Arlington.

Those on campus are being told to “go to a secure location and await further information,” according to the university’s Twitter account.

“This is not a drill,” the tweet also notes. The university was scheduled to conduct a series of active shooter drills on campus starting this Thursday, Oct. 6.

Police are advising people to avoid the area while they look for the man.

Flickr pool photo (top) by Eric

by Andrew Ramonas — September 23, 2016 at 11:25 am 0

Sehkraft concert (Image via Facebook/Concert Across America)A Clarendon bar this weekend is set to take part in a nationwide concert series that aims to promote efforts to curb gun violence.

Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) is scheduled to host singer-songwriter Jeff Smith and the Human Wilderness as part of the “Concert Across America to End Gun Violence” Sunday. The free show is from 6 to 8 p.m.

“The power of music has fueled countless important movements throughout history,” a Facebook event page says. “Now we want to use music as a balance to the hateful and divisive rhetoric that’s become a hallmark of the gun debate.”

About 350 events are scheduled throughout the country for the concert series, according to organizers. The day will culminate with performances by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash and other musicians in New York.

Image via Facebook/Concert Across America

by ARLnow.com — September 19, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

Break-in at Nova Armory (courtesy photo)

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) There was a break-in this morning at Nova Armory, the recently-opened gun store in Lyon Park, but no guns were taken, according to police.

Officers were dispatched to the scene just after 5 a.m. for an activated burglar alarm.

“Arriving officers located a broken door to the business and secured the scene,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The suspects had fled prior to police arrival.”

Some items were stolen during the burglary, police said.

“Empty firearm cases were taken but there were no weapons inside,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police remained on scene to investigate.

A photo of the store’s back entrance shows doors and windows smashed in. The entrance is currently being repaired, we’re told.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — September 7, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Police car (file photo)A 52-year-old Arlington man is facing charges after police say he got mad and brandished a gun at a driver who tried to merge into his lane.

The road rage incident happened around 9 p.m. on Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. The man was later located by police and arrested.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

BRANDISHING, 160902041, 1300 block N. Wilson. At approximately 9:07 p.m. on September 2, a male suspect brandished a firearm after the victim attempted to merge his vehicle into the same lane as the suspect. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival but was later located and positively identified by witnesses. Sergio Martinez, 52, of Arlington VA was arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm. He was held on a $5,000 secure bond.

The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including two items already reported, after the jump.


by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2016 at 11:10 am 0

Police car lightsArlington County Police surrounded a home, shut down streets, called in a negotiator and had a brief standoff with a man in the Nauck neighborhood this morning.

The incident happened around 10 a.m., when police received a report of a man who threatened a family member with a gun, at a home near the intersection of S. Kenmore Street and 22nd Street, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. The man was said to be holed up in the home’s basement with gun and a machete.

The incident ended as quickly as it began, when the man came out of the home and was placed in handcuffs.

“He has been taken into custody without incident,” Savage said. “This is an active investigation and police remain in the area.”

by ARLnow.com — June 23, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Arlington Cemetery Metro station in the rain (Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin)

Beyer Participates in House Sit-In — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) was among the Democratic members of the House of Representatives participating in a sit-in for gun control. Beyer gave a speech on the House floor at 4:15 this morning. [C-SPAN, Twitter]

Arlington’s 11-Year-Old Police Chief — Carlin Springs Elementary student Nathnael Abraham, 11, served as Arlington’s Police Chief-for-the-Day on Tuesday. As chief Nathnael was especially concerned about bank robberies. “I think the most important crime problem would be robberies — bank robberies, because they’re taking money that belongs to other people, and that’s not OK,” he told NBC4’s Pat Collins. [NBC Washington]

Garvey: Vacancy Rate Still Too High — Even though it’s come down by 1 percent in the past year, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey says Arlington’s 20.2 percent office vacancy rate is way too high. The county has been actively working to attract businesses and bring the rate down. Each 1 percent of vacancy costs the county about $3.4 million in tax revenue. [Arlington County]

Whistleblower Hotline to Be Expanded — Arlington County will be expanding its recently-implemented waste, fraud and abuse hotline this fall. The hotline, currently only available for county employees, will be opened to the general public. In its first year, the hotline received 13 complaints, one of which resulted in a policy change and two of which are still under review. No widespread waste or fraud was uncovered, the county says. [InsideNova]

New Agreement With JBMHH — On June 15 Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall signed a new memorandum of agreement for a partnership that will provide services and cost savings to the base. [Pentagram]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

by ARLnow.com — June 3, 2016 at 10:10 am 0

Last night, dozens gathered in Courthouse Plaza to wear orange for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

The rally was organized by Moms Demand Action. Among those attending were family members of gun violence victims and a number of elected officials.

Arlington School Board member Barbara Kanninen issued the following statement about the event.

Today, June 2nd, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. I want to thank my colleagues on the School Board and community members all over Arlington who have joined together today to wear orange.

On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s 2nd inaugural parade. One week later, just after taking final exams, Hadiya was shot and killed in a Chicago park.

First Lady Michelle Obama attended Hadiya’s funeral and three weeks later, President Obama talked about Hadiya in his State of The Union address. He talked about how she loved Fig Newtons and that she was a majorette.

Later that year, on Hadiya’s birthday, June 2nd, Hadiya’s friends began the Wear Orange Campaign. They chose orange because it was Hadiya’s favorite color.  It’s also what hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.

On average, 48 children and teens are shot and 7 die from their injuries each day in the United States.

What started in a south side Chicago high school to celebrate Hadiaya has turned into a nationwide movement to honor all lives cut short by gun violence. Wear Orange is also a celebration of life – and a call to action to help save lives from gunfire.

Wear Orange is sponsored by the National PTA, National Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Public Health Association, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, YWCA and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, among many other groups and organizations.

Today, on Gun Violence Awareness Day, we remember Hadiya, the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the students of Virginia Tech, and the many, many students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, who have been injured or killed by guns.  This includes students who attended school right here in Arlington and have died far too young, due to suicide.

Thank you for supporting Wear Orange, for raising awareness, and for remembering all those affected by gun violence, especially the children.

Video by Omar DeBrew

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Southwest Airlines flight over the 14th Street Bridge (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Zoning Board Rules in Favor of Gun Store — Arlington Board of Zoning Appeals has rejected a challenge to the Certificate of Occupancy for Nova Firearms, the gun store at 2300 N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park. A group of residents filed the appeal, claiming that the store’s owner submitted false information to the county. [Daily Caller]

Complaints About Aircraft Noise in Barcroft — Residents of Arlington’s Barcroft neighborhood are organizing a working group to address the issue of aircraft noise, particularly noise from low-flying helicopters. [Chamandy.org]

Another IRS Phone Scam — Arlington residents are reporting yet another phone scam. If someone calls you out of the blue, says they’re from the IRS and tries to get you to reveal personal information, it’s probably a scam. [WJLA]

New Leader for Arlington Arts Center — Holly Koons McCullough has been named the new executive director of the Arlington Arts Center. Previously, McCullough served as director of the Greater Reston Arts Center. [Washington City Paper]

New Director of Transportation for APS — The Arlington School Board has approved the appointment of Angel Garcia-Ablanque as the school system’s new Director of Transportation. He was previously Assistant Director of Transportation for Montgomery County Public Schools. [Arlington Public Schools]

Fundraiser at Celtic HouseCeltic House (2500 Columbia Pike) is holding a fundraiser for two veterans organizations today. The Irish pub, an ARLnow.com advertiser, will be donating a portion of all sales today to Wings for Warriors and Links to Freedom.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2016 at 6:40 pm 0

Nova Armory in Lyon ParkA group of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights residents is trying to challenge the legality of Nova Armory’s Certificate of Occupancy.

Nova Armory, a firearms retailer, opened in March in Lyon Park amid local controversy. The store’s owner, Dennis Pratte, is now suing dozens of residents and lawmakers, accusing them of trying to interfere with his business.

Five local residents launched their own legal offensive when they filed an appeal to Arlington’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), challenging the county’s decision to issue Nova Armory a Certificate of Occupancy, which is required for businesses with a physical location in Arlington.

Arlington County has previously said that there is nothing it can do legally to prevent a gun store from opening, as long as it follows zoning rules and files all the proper paperwork.

The appeal was submitted by residents Julia Young, Emily Hughes, Bernadette Brennan, Grace Chan and Nathan Guerrero on March 2, along with the $575.40 filing fee.

In a report to the BZA, Arlington’s Acting Zoning Administrator, Arlova Vonhm, recommends denying the appeal and upholding Nova Armory’s Certificate of Occupancy at 2300 N. Pershing Drive. Vonhm addressed each of the challenges made by the residents:

  • Appeal: In a media interview, Dennis Pratte said his 16-year-old daughter was the store’s owner, and thus he erroneously listed himself as the owner on the application.
    Staff position: “Mr. Pratte has clarified in subsequent media interviews that he is training his daughter to take over the business, but that he remains the principal on all leases, permits, and legal documents.”
  • Appeal: The description of the store as a “retail” location is false because Nova Armory’s website describes “wholesale pricing.”
    Staff position: “While the applicant’s website advertises wholesale pricing, this appears to be an advertisement of advantageous pricing to retail consumers, rather than a statement of intention to engage in wholesale trade.”
  • Appeal: The store is called NOVA Armory, but the business name was listed as Broadstone Security, LLC on the application.
    Staff position: “The Zoning Ordinance does not prohibit the use of fictitious trade names, which is a common practice for retail businesses.”
  • Appeal: The Zoning Administrator who issued the Certificate of Occupancy “did not research whether or not the applicant was a valid holder of a Federal Firearms License.”
    Staff position: “Given that the Zoning Administrator does not have the authority to enforce state or federal laws and regulations, the Zoning Office does not as a matter of general practice verify required compliance with state or federal licensure requirements for firearms store or any other type of business.”
  • Appeal: The Certificate of Occupancy “should be revoked due to an inaccurate record of ownership of the premises.”
    Staff position: “Property owner information was not material to the review of the proposed land use or the issuance of the permit to authorize said land use on the subject property, therefore it would not be a valid reason for the Zoning Administrator to revoke it.”

The BZA is slated to consider the appeal, along with a long slate of others, either Wednesday night or at a possible carryover meeting Thursday. The board is not required to follow the staff recommendation when making its decision.

Apparently misunderstanding the nature of the appeal — any citizen who says they’re “aggrieved” by a zoning decision can file an appeal — Nova Armory posted several messages on Twitter Tuesday decrying elected officials and an “abuse of power” by county government.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2016 at 3:15 pm 0

Nova Armory in Lyon Park

Update at 5:00 p.m. — A copy of the lawsuit can be downloaded here.

Lyon Park gun store Nova Armory is suing 64 people who spoke out against its recent opening, including local residents and lawmakers.

Nova Armory claims that opponents “conspired to destroy the business, harassed the owner and landlord and mailed death threats,” reports the Washington Post. The business is suing the 64 people in Richmond Circuit Court, seeking $2.1 million for “lost revenue and damages.”

The lawsuit makes good on threats the store made in March.

“The actions of these local crazies against our business is approaching the level of ‘tortious interference,'” the store said in a press release at the time.

Among those reportedly being sued are the seven state lawmakers who signed a letter of opposition to the store’s landlord, plus County Board member Christian Dorsey and School Board member Barbara Kanninen.

“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,” the March press release said.

The Lyon Park Citizens Association tells ARLnow.com that neither it nor its attorney is aware of any legal action against the civic association, which held meetings and votes in response to residents’ concerns about the store.

This morning, before news of the lawsuit was confirmed, John Goldener, president of the civic association, called any such action “a flagrant abuse of the legal system.”

“Our focus is and has always been communication and community,” Goldener said. “If Mr. Pratte’s focus, however, is on generating frivolous lawsuits to frighten residents and artificial controversy to drive sales, then we have grossly misjudged his intentions and stated commitment to become a part of our community.”

by ARLnow.com — April 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Don Beyer (courtesy photo)The following op-ed is an open letter written by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

The arrival of two new gun stores in Northern Virginia in close proximity to families and schools set off a wave of concern from constituents. First, NOVA Firearms opened near Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean.  Then NOVA Armory opened its doors in Arlington’s vibrant Lyon Park neighborhood. Almost every person who contacted me expressed strong opposition to gun stores at these locations.

Thanks to Virginia’s Dillon Rule, state control preempts local authority. In these cases, it means Arlington and Fairfax Counties cannot prohibit these stores from opening, regardless of the overwhelming will of local families and schools. The power to stop this from happening rests with a gun-friendly General Assembly, which has refused to help, despite the efforts of Northern Virginia’s delegation in Richmond.

It is difficult to reassure constituents that the federal government can help them when Congress has spent a decade undermining oversight of gun dealers by the agency tasked with inspecting them: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Over time the gun lobby and its allies in Congress have deliberately limited the enforcement capability of the ATF, using “appropriations riders,” restrictions snuck into must-pass spending bills that are meant to force a change in policy. The gun lobby has used appropriations riders to prevent the ATF and other law enforcement from properly regulating the sale of guns and investigating illegal gun purchases. Limits on trace data could be used to crack down on bad apple gun dealers, but use of trace data has been blocked by Congress. These tactics jeopardize the oversight ability of the ATF and potentially put our communities in danger.

Yesterday I introduced a bill, the ATF Enforcement Act, to undo these restrictions on the ATF’s enforcement authority. The bill would also remove the requirement that the ATF’s Director be confirmed by the Senate. Since 2006 lawmakers backed by the gun lobby have refused to confirm the nominees of both Democratic and Republican presidents. Only one Director has been confirmed in the last decade.

My bill would repeal these restrictions on the ATF and let them do their job of inspecting gun dealers and preventing criminals and people who are legally barred from owning guns from acquiring them.

It is not the role of the federal government to intervene in local zoning, but we can at least make sure that the federal entity charged with regulating the sale of guns is able to do so properly, without the insidious roadblocks which Congress has put in their way.

Whether or not you agree with their trade, most gun dealers are law-abiding. It is nearly impossible, however, to discipline or prosecute the ones which break the law in the current environment, even the ones who repeatedly supply guns used to commit crimes.

The ATF Enforcement Act will not solve the problem of gun violence or wipe away the objections which so many have expressed against these gun stores. If it passes, however, it will at least help the ATF hold them accountable.

Congress tells ATF to protect the public from criminals who commit crimes with guns, but simultaneously hampers their enforcement capabilities. It’s hypocrisy of the worst kind, and innocent people die because of it. I’m putting forward this legislation to call the gun lobby’s bluff and give ATF the tools it needs to effectively protect our communities.

Congressman Donald S. Beyer Jr.
Virginia’s 8th Congressional District


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