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Police activity outside of the Arlington County courthouse and police headquarters in Courthouse (file photo)

Police are searching for an armed man who told law enforcement he needed help but then drove off.

The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. in front of the Arlington County courthouse, near police headquarters, in the Courthouse neighborhood.

“A subject in a vehicle stopped in the crosswalk in the 1400 block of N. Courthouse Road and flagged down sheriff’s deputies for assistance,” Arlington police spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “When they approached, they observed the subject to be in possession of a firearm.”

“The subject then drove away from the area and the deputies entered their vehicle and followed to investigate,” Savage continued. “The driver stopped at N. Veitch Street and 14th Street N. and the deputies again attempted to make contact with the subject who had stated he was in need of help.”

At that point, the man suddenly took off in the direction of Route 50.

“The subject then drove off, struck a parked vehicle in the 1200 block of N. Courthouse Road and fled the area,” Savage said. “Police remain on scene investigating the incident.”

The suspect’s vehicle was described as a silver Honda Civic, according to police radio traffic.

Update at 12:25 a.m. — The suspect in this incident has been arrested after he allegedly fired shots at Arlington County police and led them on a chase into Fairfax County.

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(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A pair of incidents involving local businesses and armed suspects were reported in today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report.

One happened on the 2000 block of Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“The female victim was standing outside a business when the suspect walked by and she greeted her,” according to police. “The suspect then allegedly made threatening statements, brandished a knife and held it towards the victim before fleeing the scene on foot.”

Initial reports suggest that the victim was an employee of the Ace hardware store on the block and that the suspect held the knife up to her throat. It’s not clear what, if anything, prompted the alleged attack.

“During the course of the investigation, officers identified the suspect, located her and took her into custody without incident at her residence,” said ACPD. “No injuries were reported.”

A 33-year-old Arlington woman was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery and Abduction, police said. She was held in jail without bond.

Early this morning, meanwhile, police responded to the 3300 block of Langston Blvd in the Cherrydale neighborhood for another report of an armed suspect at a local business.

“At approximately 4:38 a.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery [that] just occurred,” said today’s crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the employee was inside the lobby of the business when the unknown suspect entered and approached the counter. The suspect then brandished a firearm and demanded money. The suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the scene.”

The name of the business was not given by police.

“No injuries were reported,” the crime report said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

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A man upset after being confronted about parking illegally in the Courthouse area allegedly drew a weapon, police say.

The incident happened around 6 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday) near the intersection of Clarendon Blvd and N. Troy Street, a couple of blocks downhill from the Courthouse Metro station.

“At approximately 6:11 p.m. on August 24, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The investigation determined the suspect was illegally parked when the victim approached on foot and confronted him. The suspect then exited his vehicle and allegedly retrieved a weapon, which was later determined to be an airsoft gun, from the trunk. The victim safely left the area and no injuries were reported.”

“Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident,” the crime report says.

Despite the gun ultimately being found to be a pellet gun, according to police, the suspect — a 28-year-old Fairfax man — was charged with brandishing. He was also charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license, and held without bond, per the crime report.

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A driver was nearly carjacked in a parking garage about a block from the Crystal City Metro station.

The incident happened around 10:20 p.m. last night (Wednesday) on the 200 block of 18th Street S.

“A patrol officer was flagged down by the victim who reported an attempted carjacking,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was in his parked vehicle when the suspect approached his passenger side door. The suspect demanded the victim unlock the car door and had what appeared to be a possible firearm in his pocket.”

Despite the would-be carjacker potentially having a gun, the driver drove off it — and was able to successfully flee. He then saw two additional suspects.

“The victim drove away at which time he observed two other possible suspects flee the scene on foot with the first suspect,” said ACPD.

No one was hurt. Police say they are still investigating.

The last reported carjacking in Arlington happened last month along S. Fern Street, also in the Crystal City area.

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Update at 2:25 p.m. on 8/19/22 — Arlington police have released additional information about this incident in Friday’s daily crime report. A 34-year-old man was arrested and a knife — not a gun — recovered from the scene, ACPD said.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY (Significant), 2022-08180122, 2400 block of Washington Boulevard. At approximately 1:22 p.m. on August 18th, a plain clothes officer was in the area when he observed the male suspect allegedly brandish a weapon during a dispute with another individual. Additional officers responded to the area and located the suspect who refused to comply with the offices’ commands and fled the scene on foot. Officers canvassed the area, located the suspect in the unit block of N. Bedford Street and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, a knife was recovered. No injuries were reported. Saul Leal, 34, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Assault and Battery. He was held on a $1,000 bond.

Earlier: Police have a suspect in custody after a man allegedly seen with a gun ran from officers in the Lyon Park area.

Officers and at least one K-9 unit on the ground, as well as the U.S. Park Police helicopter in the air, were looking for the man, who reportedly brandished a weapon at an officer along the 2400 block of Washington Blvd, near the Route 50 ramps, and then ran off.

After a search of the area, a suspect was taken into custody without incident, according to scanner traffic.

Residents should expect to see continued police activity in the area, though the response is now being scaled down. Nearby Long Branch Elementary School was placed in “secure the school mode” during the search, according to scanner traffic. Some roads were also blocked during the search.

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A man allegedly got mad and drew a gun when an employee at a local car wash asked him to move his vehicle.

The incident happened around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Mr. Wash car wash on the 100 N. Glebe Road, according to scanner traffic. No one was hurt.

Police say they have since identified the suspect.

From today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

BRANDISHING, 2022-08160067, 100 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 10:16 a.m. on August 16, police were dispatched to the report of a brandishing. Upon arrival, it was determined an employee of the business approached the suspect and requested he move his parked vehicle which was blocking other customers. A verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect allegedly brandished a firearm before fleeing the scene in his vehicle. No injuries were reported. During the course of the investigation, officers identified the suspect and obtained a warrant for Brandishing a Firearm within 1,000 feet of a School. The investigation is ongoing.

Also Tuesday morning, a man allegedly robbed a 7-Eleven store in Virginia Square, assaulted an employee, and then went back into the store to steal more items.

ROBBERY, 2022-08160042, 3500 block of Fairfax Drive. At approximately 8:42 a.m. on August 16, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined the unknown male suspect entered into the business, took several items off of the shelves and attempted to leave without paying. An employee confronted him, during which a verbal dispute ensued. Another employee attempted to intervene and the suspect struck him before leaving the business. The suspect quickly reentered the business, stole additional merchandise and fled the scene on foot. A lookout for the suspect was broadcast and officers canvassed the area yielding negative results. No injuries were reported.

That afternoon, another retail robbery led police on an ultimately futile search for the suspect, who is believed to have fled via Metro.

The robbery happened at the Costco store in Pentagon City.

“At approximately 12:54 p.m. on August 16, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery,” ACPD said. “The investigation determined the unknown male suspect was allegedly attempting to leave a business with unpaid merchandise when he was confronted by loss prevention.”

“A verbal dispute ensued, during which the suspect implied he had a knife before fleeing the scene with the stolen items,” the crime report continues. “The employees followed the suspect out of the business as he continued to verbally threaten them.”

The suspect was seen fleeing into the Pentagon City Metro station, but officers arrived at the platform just as a Blue Line train was departing, according to scanner traffic. That led to unsuccessful efforts to get Metro to stop the train at the Pentagon, at the Arlington Cemetery station, and finally in Rosslyn, per police radio traffic.

“A lookout for the suspect was broadcast and officers canvassed the surrounding area with negative results,” said the crime report.

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Gun store Nova Armory is now open in Clarendon, after moving from its previous Lyon Park location.

The store at 2607 Wilson Blvd opened on the same day that ARLnow reported on the move, according to a Facebook post.

So far, the storefront is not marked from the outside, though there is a sign on the door instructing delivery drivers not to leave boxes outside. Opposition to Nova Armory’s opening in Clarendon was more muted than its original opening in Lyon Park, which was subject to community meetings, a letter from local lawmakers and a lawsuit (filed by Nova Armory against its critics).

The store’s actual time in business has seen considerably less drama, save for several burglaries and large crowds of customers at the outset of the pandemic.

That all said, what do you think of a gun store operating in the Clarendon neighborhood? Does the Metro corridor location change youe opinion compared to the store’s current location near Route 50?

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Morning Notes

Hazy afternoon at DCA (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

First Day of School Three Weeks Away –” It seems as if summer just started, but before you know it, the 2022-23 school year in Arlington will be starting. The first day of classes for Arlington Public Schools is Monday, Aug. 29.” [Patch]

Pet Adoptions Down Slightly — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington reports that 2,444 cats, dogs and small animals were adopted from its shelter during the 12-month period ending June 30. That’s down slightly from the 2,587 in the preceding year, which may be a positive sign that things are calming down in the get-along-with-COVID world that is now being experienced.” [Sun Gazette]

Another Gun Seized at Airport — ” Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington stopped a Charlottesville man on Wednesday from bringing his loaded handgun onto a flight… The man told officials that he was in a rush to fly to Florida to attend a funeral and ‘forgot that he had his loaded gun with him,’ according to TSA.” [Patch]

Arlington Man Charged With Robbery — “The investigation determined the suspect entered into the business, selected a beverage and allegedly attempted to leave without paying. A female employee confronted the suspect, who ignored her and selected additional merchandise. The employee attempted to stop the suspect, during which he struck her before fleeing the scene on foot. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had stolen merchandise from an additional business.” [ACPD]

West Glebe Bridge Demolition — “After months of being closed, much of West Glebe Road Bridge has finally been torn down ahead of eventual reconstruction. Demolition started earlier this week and is expected to finish by the week of Sept. 5. Demolition work is expected to continue Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.” [ALXnow]

It’s Monday — Humid throughout the day. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 8:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti at Arlington Democrats election watch party in November 2019, when she was elected to office (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) The Arlington police union is pushing back on accusations that officers mishandled the search of a suspect who is now linked to a double murder.

In a rare public rebuke of Arlington’s top prosecutor, the Arlington Coalition of Police this afternoon sent out a press release accusing Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti of “ineptitude” and “deflection of blame.”

The barbs stem from a 2020 case against Francis Rose, who is currently in jail in Alexandria after a series of break-ins at an apartment complex there reportedly led to two construction workers, a stepfather and stepson described as “innocent bystanders,” each being fatally shot in the head.

As ARLnow exclusively reported last week, Rose was released from Arlington County jail this past February after the 2020 case against him fell apart when a judge ruled that evidence was obtained during an unconstitutional search of his bag. With the gun and the drugs allegedly found in Rose’s bag disallowed as evidence, prosecutors dropped the charges against him, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Rose spent nearly two years in jail awaiting trial before being freed when charges were dropped.

“As court records show, our office attempted to proceed on those charges, but during a suppression hearing, a judge ruled that the police had performed an unconstitutional search and, as the law required, suppressed the evidence in the case,” Dehghani-Tafti told ARLnow last week. “Obviously, we could not prove a case without the evidence, and therefore dismissed it.”

“My heart breaks for the families and loved ones of the people killed this weekend,” she added.

Dehghani-Tafti subsequently said on Twitter, in response to criticism from the Virginia Republican party, that she’s “not casting blame on anyone” for the case falling apart.

The Arlington Coalition of Police, however, suggests that Dehghani-Tafti should be taking more of the blame, accusing her of “attempting to throw police officers under the bus for a lost [evidence] suppression hearing.”

The full statement from the union is below.

Commonwealth Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti’s recent statements regarding the suppression hearing for Francis Rose, intentionally worded to cast fault on the officers involved, were based on self-preservation and deflection of blame.  Unlike the Commonwealth Attorney, the Arlington Coalition of Police ordered the transcript of the hearing to have a full understanding of what happened before making public comment.

Prior to the hearing, the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney handling the case believed there would be “no problem” regarding the suppression and believed the officer’s actions were lawful.  At the time of the suppression hearing, Mr. Rose had spent approximately two years in jail awaiting trial. The Commonwealth Attorney opposed giving him bond on multiple occasions.  If the Commonwealth Attorney believed the actions of the officers were unlawful, opposing bond and holding Mr. Rose for two years would be unethical.

Read More

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Morning Notes

Rain showers and thunderstorms at the Marine Corps War Memorial (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cruel Summer in the Pool — “Arlington’s four summer swimming teams in the Northern Virginia Swimming League had a combined losing record of 9-11 this season. It was the first summer since the 2012 campaign that the four had a cumulative losing mark… This summer Overlee also was the only one of the four with a winning mark, at 3-2.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington = Jersey City? — A TikTok creator, talking about her viral map comparing parts of the D.C. area with New York City area locales: “I completely understand that people are going to disagree with this, but it was Arlington and Jersey City — you know, being literally across the river from a big economic center that people commute into. I think the way people in DC talk about Arlington — it just sounded very familiar to some of the things that I’ve heard people in Manhattan saying about people who live just across the water in New Jersey.” [Washingtonian]

Another Gun Caught at DCA Checkpoint — “A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented an Alexandria, Va., resident from bringing his loaded handgun onto his flight this morning, July 25. It was the 16th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.” [Press Release]

Brittany O’Grady’s Latest Project — From actress and Arlington native Brittany O’Grady: “I’m filming an Amazon show called The Consultant, with Nat Wolff and Christoph Waltz. It’s about a man who takes over a company, and my character and others are challenged on their morality. I’m also excited to finally play women [rather than teenagers]. The storylines get deeper.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

A Spring and Arlington’s Oldest Home — “This land was originally patented by Thomas Owsley in 1696 with the caveat that he had to build a house on the land within a year or forfeit rights to the land. It’s believed that Owsley built the stone house that sits at Dawson Terrace Recreation Center, one street west of the Spring Site. If true, it is the oldest house in Arlington County…  The spring is located inside a spring house at the bottom of a stone stairway at the end of North Scott Street.” [Atlas Obscura]

It’s Tuesday — Cloudy, then rain starting in the afternoon. High of 80 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:27 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) You might soon be able to buy a Beretta where you could previously sip a bumble.

Gun store Nova Armory appears poised to open in the former This Is Fine Coffee and Kino Coffee space at 2607 Wilson Blvd. Boxes outside the storefront are addressed to Nova Armory and its parent company, while the store has the address listed on a “contact us” page on its website.

Nova Armory has an existing location on N. Pershing Drive in Lyon Park that opened amid considerable local controversy in 2016. A representative of the store told ARLnow via email Monday afternoon that the Pershing Drive location will close.

“We [will] only have one location at Wilson Blvd,” the store rep said. “The old location is being shut down.”

Already, early word of the potential opening is causing its own controversy. One of several tips sent to ARLnow called it an “unacceptable, reckless addition to the neighborhood.”

Despite drawing the ire of some neighbors and experiencing several burglaries, the local gun store is seemingly popular with customers given its online reviews while reporting growing business a couple of years after opening. Like many gun stores, Nova Armory also experienced a boom in business at the outset of the pandemic.

Kino Coffee, which was noted for serving a unique (at least for the United States) orange juice-espresso blend called bumble coffee, closed late last year, citing Covid-related business challenges.

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