Metro Transit Police are opening an investigation into the cause of July’s train derailment at the East Falls Church Metro station.
About 75 passengers were on an Orange Line train on July 29 when it derailed around 6:30 a.m. The passengers were able to offload “without further incident,” Metro said the day of the derailment.
Though Metro’s safety department was investigating the cause of the incident, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld asked Metro Transit Police to open a parallel inquiry “following a briefing in which investigators advised him of concerns arising from employee interviews, inspection reports, rail defect tracking, and video recordings,” according to a press release.
“The administrative review uncovered information that warrants further investigation by Metro Transit Police,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “While Safety Department investigations determine cause and accountability, it is even more important to understand if other issues must be addressed with the way track inspections and maintenance have been conducted.”
Wiedefeld added that the transit agency uncovered information that “raises potentially serious concerns” in the cause of the derailment.
More about the investigation from a Metro press release:
Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced today that the investigation into the East Falls Church derailment, which began as an administrative review by the Safety Department, has been expanded to include an investigation by Metro Transit Police.
Wiedefeld directed the Metro Transit Police Department to open a parallel investigation into the matter following a briefing in which investigators advised him of concerns arising from employee interviews, inspection reports, rail defect tracking, and video recordings.
“The administrative review uncovered information that warrants further investigation by Metro Transit Police,” Wiedefeld said. “While Safety Department investigations determine cause and accountability, it is even more important to understand if other issues must be addressed with the way track inspections and maintenance have been conducted.”
Metro’s General Counsel, Patricia Y. Lee, has engaged two former Assistant U.S. Attorneys as Special Investigators to support the internal administrative review. Adam Hoffinger, a former AUSA for the Southern District of New York, and Peter White, a former AUSA for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, will work closely with Lee on this matter. Both have extensive prosecutorial experience with complex cases.
“The public has a right to know that the tracks on which their trains run are being properly inspected,” said Wiedefeld. “The information uncovered to date raises potentially serious concerns, and we will take all actions necessary to get answers and hold people accountable.”
Wiedefeld assured riders today that the SafeTrack program underway (in which Metro tracks are being inspected and repaired) has been and will continue to be subject to quality controls from multiple internal and external groups to ensure all track work meets Metro’s high standards. (At the time of the derailment, East Falls Church interlocking had not yet been addressed as part of SafeTrack.) Metro is engaging an outside engineering firm to conduct a comprehensive review of its track inspection program.
“While we continue the due diligence to identify the cause of any conditions that may have contributed to this incident, Metro is simultaneously repairing the system and providing better rules, training, quality control and line management,” said Wiedefeld.
Photo courtesy John Sonderman
Some Receiving Duplicate Tax Bills — A large number of Arlington homeowners have received duplicate tax bills from the county. “As you can imagine, we have heard from many concerned taxpayers today,” Treasurer Carla de la Pava told the Sun Gazette. [InsideNova]
Brutal Beating Still Unsolved — The 1965 beating of a 19-year-old woman in her Rosslyn area apartment is still an unsolved, open case. The woman, Brenda Sue Pennington, survived but never fully recovered, living in a nursing home and depending on Medicare until her death in 2007. [Falls Church News-Press]
Beyer Questions New Social Security Requirement — Those who want to access their Social Security information online now must have a text-enabled cell phone as part of a new security measure. That has led to protests from seniors who don’t own a cell phone — and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) agrees with them, saying they “deserve the convenience of checking their earnings and benefits online.” [Patch]
Medium Unsure If TV Series Will Live On — Monica Ten-Kate, the TV medium who communes with dead people and whose family lives in Fairlington, says in an interview that she’s not sure whether her cable TV reality series will be renewed for a third season. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Metro Transit Police are investigating a sexual assault that occurred last night on a Yellow Line train.
Metro says three men assaulted a woman, grabbing her inappropriately, after she refused to perform a sexual act.
The assault took place on a train near the Braddock Road Metro station. Transit Police investigated the incident at the Crystal City Metro station Thursday night, just before 10 p.m., prompting delays on the Blue and Yellow lines.
Late Friday afternoon, Metro released a press release (below) and surveillance images of the suspects (above).
Metro Transit Police are investigating a reported sexual battery aboard a Yellow Line train last night and are seeking the public’s assistance to identify three persons of interest pictured below.
The victim, an adult female, advised officers that she was approached by three males at around 9:30 p.m. aboard a northbound train from Huntington. As the train traveled between Eisenhower Ave and Braddock Road stations, the males approached the victim and asked her to perform a sexual act. When the victim refused, the suspects assaulted the female, including grabbing her body through her clothing.
The victim reported the incident to MTPD officers who broadcast a flash lookout and conducted a canvass of trains and stations along the line. The victim declined medical assistance and was subsequently transported to her residence by MTPD officers.
The suspects were described as follows:
1. Black male (medium complexion), age 18-30, height 5’8″-5’11”, weight 140 wearing red t-shirt with “aero” logo and blue jeans
2. Black male (medium complexion), age 18-30, height 5’8″-5’11”, weight 140 wearing black t-shirt with white shirt underneath and black jeans
3. Black male (medium complexion), age 18-30, height 5’8″-5’11”, weight 140 wearing black Nike shirt with yellow “P” Pittsburgh Pirates logo and blue jeans
Anyone who may have information about this incident is urged to contact Metro Transit Police detectives by calling (202) 962-2121 or by sending a text message to “MyMTPD” (696873).
The incident happened around 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Police say a woman “awoke to an unknown male sexually assaulting her.” After the attack, he fled the scene.
Police are looking for a man in a tan four-door sedan, who was last seen wearing a black hooded shell jacket with a hood.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a suspect involved in the sexual assault of a female victim which occurred at a residence in the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street in the early morning hours of May 15, 2016.
At approximately 4:56 a.m. a female victim awoke to an unknown male sexually assaulting her. Following the attack, the male suspect fled the scene. The victim was then able to call 911. The victim advised that earlier in the evening, at approximately 2:30 a.m., upon returning to the residence she observed an unknown adult male walking away from the rear of the home. That individual left the area in a tan colored four door sedan. He was described as wearing a black hooded shell jacket with the hood up. The male suspect involved in this incident was described as wearing similar clothing.
Detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit are actively investigating this incident. Responding officers attempted a canine track in the area with negative results and officers canvased the area speaking with possible witnesses. Officers will continue conducting extra checks in the area.
If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective G. Sloan of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4198 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) A 17-year-old has been charged with murder following a fatal stabbing Friday night.
Police say the teen is a “relative” of the victim, and that the stabbing “resulted from a domestic incident that took place in a residence in the 3600 block of 3rd Street S.”
The deceased victim was identified as 46-year-old Arlington resident Dennis Adams. This was Arlington County’s first homicide of 2016.
From an ACPD press release:
On April 1, 2016 shortly after 8:00 p.m., Arlington County Police officers were dispatched to the 100 block of S. Glebe Road for an assault with injuries. Arriving officers located one juvenile male suffering from minor injuries. A police unit responding to the scene was flagged down by medics at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and 3rd Street S. where a second male victim suffering from numerous stab wounds was located. The second victim, Dennis Adams, 46, of Arlington VA was transported to George Washington University Hospital Trauma Center where he was pronounced deceased.
The juvenile male was able to provide police with a detailed account of the events that occurred on April 1. Through the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered a number of inconsistencies in the juvenile’s account of these events and other evidence that lead them to believe his account was fabricated.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit has determined that this stabbing resulted from a domestic incident that took place in a residence in the 3600 block of 3rd Street S. Detectives have charged a 17-year-old relative of the victim with murder and stabbing while committing a felony.
Anyone with information about this incident and/or who may have observed anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact Detective S. Bertollini of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Police Seek Witness in Pentagon City Investigation — Arlington County Police are trying to find a witness who rendered aid to an injured man found face down in the street in Pentagon City. The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. on February 25, on the 1200 block of S. Eads Street. The 65-year-old man remains in critical but stable condition. [Arlington County]
Group Forms to Oppose Gun Store — Updated at 11:05 a.m. — A group called Act4LyonPark has formed to oppose NOVA Armory, the gun store that’s planning to open on March 26 at 2300 N. Pershing Drive. So far, Act4LyonPark has raised $6,300 to support its activities. The group says that in a recent vote, 88 percent of residents who responded voted for the Lyon Park Citizens Association to take an official stance against the gun shop.
Board to Consider Relaxed Historic Rules for Schools — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote Saturday on a proposal to make it easier for Arlington Public Schools to make changes to schools within local historic districts. The proposal would remove schools from the oversight of the county’s rigid Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board. Facing a school capacity crunch, APS says going through HALRB adds unnecessary delays and costs to projects. [InsideNova]
One Person Filed 6,500 Noise Complaints Against DCA — A single individual is responsible for 6,500 of the 8,670 noise complaints filed against Reagan National Airport last year, according to the airports authority. [WTOP]
Chamber Savors Hotel Tax Victory — With Arlington’s 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge reinstated, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a long-awaited legislative victory. “Reinstating Arlington’s [Transient Occupancy Tax] was the Chamber’s top priority for the 2016 legislative session, with the funds generated by the additional TOT providing much needed support to ensure that Arlington remains competitive in attracting leisure and business travel,” said Chamber president and CEO Kate Roche. [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
Update at 4:15 p.m. — The man who punched a wall was treated for a possible hand injury. Police believe that sound may have been mistaken for gunshots.
Update at 3:45 p.m. — The scene has been cleared, no evidence of a shooting was found and Columbia Pike is reopening, according to scanner traffic.
A Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said the earlier crash on S. Buchanan Street involved a deputy who was responding to the shots fired call. Neither the deputy nor the other driver involved — who was issued a traffic citation — was seriously injured, said Maj. Susie Doyel.
Update at 2:40 p.m. — Two residents have exited the building and told police that they were having an argument in which one half of the couple punched a wall, according to scanner traffic. Police are still taking a cautious stance and maintaining a perimeter around the building. Also, a parent says that nearby Kenmore Middle School is in “secure the school” mode, possibly as a result of the incident.
Arlington County Police have shut down Columbia Pike in the area of S. Frederick Street, just west of the Arlington Mill Community Center, while officers investigate reports of shots fired inside an apartment building.
The shots fired calls came from residents in an apartment building, the Arbor Heights Apartments, on the 800 block of S. Frederick Street. One resident told police he or she heard gunshots and then saw people running from the building.
In addition to the closure of Columbia Pike, S. Frederick Street is closed between the Pike and 8th Road S.
Police have staged outside the apartment complex but have not entered it yet.
Meanwhile, police and medics are responding to a report of an accident with multiple injuries on the 900 block of S. Buchanan Street, several blocks away from the possible shooting scene.
Photo courtesy @Dorchester2040
Virginia State Police are investigating a serious single-vehicle crash on I-66 near East Falls Church.
The wreck happened early this afternoon in the westbound lanes near the Sycamore Street exit. Photos show a dark gray sedan with heavy front-end damage on the side of the road, next to a crumpled-up guardrail.
One lane is blocked and westbound traffic is backed up to Glebe Road. Drivers should also expect delays approaching the crash in the eastbound lanes.
“Seek alternative routes,” Arlington County Police said, in a tweet.
Plain clothes officers arrested Alexandria residents Jose Euseibo Guevara-Rodriquez, 39, and Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 38, on Tuesday.
According to police, the men sexually assaulted a woman who was involved in “escort-related activity” at a motel in south Arlington, threatening her with a weapon and stealing her iPad before leaving the room.
Investigators believe the suspects could have other victims — specifically, sex workers who do not speak English and who are therefore less likely to report a crime to police.
The department’s Homicide Robbery Unit is investigating the incident. They’re asking victims who may have had an encounter with these suspects to call Det. Greg Seibert at 703-228-4199.
From the ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide Robbery Unit is investigating two suspects involved in a sexual assault and are seeking additional victims. On January 12, 2016, the female victim was involved in escort-related activity at a motel in S. Arlington when two suspects unknown to the victim knocked on the door. Upon entering the motel room, the suspects sexually assaulted the victim while using the threat of a weapon to hold her against her will. The suspects fled the room with the victim’s iPad. The suspects were apprehended by police working a plain clothes detail in the area.
Jose Euseibo Guevara-Rodriquez, 39, of Alexandria, Virginia was charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, rape, abduction with intent to defile and resisting arrest. Elmer Umberto Lopez-Velasquez, 38, of Alexandria, Virginia was charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted rape and abduction with intent to defile and resisting arrest. Both suspects were arrested and held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Investigators believe the suspects are targeting non-English speaking victims in hopes that they will not report crimes to police. Anyone who had past inappropriate encounters with the suspects is asked to call Detective Greg Seibert at 703-228-4199 or email [email protected]
Family members of the man who was critically injured earlier this month after he jumped from a bridge while running from police are searching for answers about what exactly happened that night.
The man has been identified by his family as 36-year-old Jivon Lee Jackson of Fort Washington, Maryland. According to Jivon’s father Richard Jackson, he is currently in a coma and stable at George Washington University Hospital.
“What’s murky is how the situation escalated so quickly from getting pulled over to Jivon jumping from a bridge,” Jackon said. “We believe there will be a moment in time when we get those answers, but the longer it takes, the colder information gets. We’re trying to jumpstart that process now.”
On Nov. 3, the night of the incident, Jackson said Jivon was on his way to a friend’s house and was supposed to pick up his mother from Union Station later that night.
Around 11 p.m., he was pulled over after being spotted driving recklessly on I-395, weaving in and out of traffic and driving on the shoulder at excess speeds, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow shortly after the incident.
Jackson exited the highway at Shirlington and pulled into the Exxon parking lot. When he stopped the car he got out of the vehicle and started running, according to police; shortly after, he jumped from the Shirlington Road bridge and fell approximately 20 feet onto the rocks below. Police reported he suffered from a “severe head injury” and was bleeding profusely.
As of this morning, police could only confirm that the process to transfer Jivon to a rehabilitation facility began last week. No police report on the incident was available.
According to Jackson’s sister Mara Doss, Jivon is a well-known theater producer, director and actor throughout the D.C. area. He earned a degree in communications from Howard University in 2001 and got a master’s in management and marketing from the University of Maryland University College. In 2012, he was named to the inaugural Prince George’s County Forty Under 40 list.
At the time of the incident, Jivon was producing and directing a play called Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues at the Anacostia Playhouse in Southeast D.C.
Doss described Jivon as an active, energetic and health-conscious young man who prioritized work and family.
“Jivon is sort of the glue of the family,” she said. “Right now, the family is kind of broken, and we just want to get some answers.”
Prosecutors will not seek criminal charges against the Arlington County Police officer involved in the fatal shooting in Buckingham in May, concluding his use of deadly force was justified.
According to the complete investigation report, Officer Michael Laird “acted consistent with ACPD policies governing use of force” and his actions were “justifiable and necessary to defend himself and others present.”
The report includes this policy, which says officers can use force to “bring an incident or non-compliant suspect under control… and/or protect the lives or personal safety of themselves or others” so long as the force used is appropriate for the situation.
The deceased was 54-year-old Alfredo Rials-Torres, who was shot three times by police in the apartment he shared with his mother, 87-year-old Alicia Torres.
After investigating the incident, the Commonwealth’s Attorney concluded the victim attacked police officers without reason and he presented an “imminent danger of serious injury or death” to those present at the scene.
On May 19, the day of the shooting, Officer Laird and two other officers responded to a call reporting a domestic disturbance in an apartment building at 4219 2nd Road N.
The caller reported she could hear an elderly woman screaming in some kind of domestic altercation. In a later interview, she recalled hearing Ms. Torres tell her son, “I’m not your girlfriend and I will never have sex with you.”
The officers arrived at the apartment, where Ms. Torres opened the door. Statements from all three officers at the scene describe Rials-Torres coming to the door shortly thereafter, looking visibly angry and verbally aggressive as he told officers he would not speak with them.
Rials-Torres then attempted to close the apartment door, and an altercation ensued as the officers tried to keep it open. Laird said in a statement they “did not want to be locked out of the room with her being stuck in there with him.”
Laird unsuccessfully tried to use his Taser on Rials-Torres, instead striking and incapacitating one of the other officers on the small landing outside the apartment.
As he prepared to try again, Rials-Torres struck Laird in the face with a metal pole, causing a deep laceration from his mouth up his left cheek. Bleeding profusely, Laird was able to push through the door. Rials-Torres was still swinging the pole wildly, the report says.
It was then that Laird fired his service weapon three times, the first round striking Rials-Torres in the arm and the following rounds in the back as he spun around. The autopsy, conducted by a medial examiner named Dr. Jocelyn Posthumus, concluded one of the shots to the victim’s back caused his death.
In interviews after the shooting, Ms. Torres denied arguing with her son, insisted that he had not assaulted officers, but stated that he was schizophrenic and possibly off of his medications.
The 9-1-1 caller recalled previous and recent problems with Rials-Torres acting aggressively. Another neighbor said she heard arguing on the morning of the shooting and cited incidents when the victim would threaten other residents.
Rials-Torres also had a criminal history and was convicted of felony assault and resisting arrest in 1997.
(Updated at 1:15 p.m.) Arlington County Police are executing a search warrant on the house of David Black, the ex-husband of murder victim Bonnie Delgado Black.
Police arrived at the house near Pentagon City early this morning, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Black was at the house at the time but has since left, and is so far not in custody and not charged with a crime, Sternbeck said.
“We have an active police presence at this time at David Black’s residence,” said Sternbeck. Police are searching for “potential items at the residence that could contain forensic evidence that can assist us in the investigation.”
Bonnie Black was found stabbed to death in her Aurora Highlands home the morning of April 17, after a neighbor saw her children wandering around outside the house. Black, who was 42, worked as a psychologist and did contract work for the FBI.
Bonnie Black’s ex-husband’s house is also in Aurora Highlands, several blocks away from the murder scene. Police this morning could be seen searching the ex-husband’s garage and removing two bikes, including one with a child carrier attached. The bikes were later taken away as evidence by police.
So far no one has been charged in the murder, a fact that has caused concern in the community. David Black remains a “person of interest” in the case, Sternbeck said.
“I’m very happy to see some action taking place,” neighbor Lynn Primo told reporters. “We’re all very concerned… this man continues to live here and the whole neighborhood believes he has something to do with [the murder].”
Primo said she has seen Black coming and going from the house, but has not observed any unusual activity.
The couple’s children are in the custody of Bonnie Black’s family, but David Black still has visitation rights, according to Sternbeck.
Police are still not willing to say that the attacks are the work of the same sexual assault suspect, but did say “there’s potential” that it’s a serial attacker.
The latest incident happened just after 8 p.m. on Friday, as a woman was walking down a path with her young child in Lubber Run Park, near N. George Mason Drive and Barrett Elementary School.
The 27-year-old woman saw an apparently intoxicated man approach her as she tried to get back to the busy road. As he neared, she bent down to shield her three-year-old child, and the suspect groped her, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“The victim was able to scream causing the suspect to flee,” according to a crime report. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’7″ tall with a medium build. He was wearing a solid grey t-shirt, black shorts, and black tennis shoes at the time of the incident.”
“From the suspect description provided there is a possibility it could be the same guy, but we’re not willing to suggest that quite yet,” said Sternbeck. “We have not identified or arrested the suspect or suspects involved in the attacks.”
ACPD is advising residents to trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings, travel in groups if possible and to contact police immediately if you are a victim of a crime.
The incident happened on the 800 block of S. Frederick Street around 10:30 last night (Thursday) and is the fifth such attack in the past month.
“An unknown male subject carrying a stick grabbed a female victim’s wrist and attempted to drag her into the woods,” according to a crime report. “The suspect fled with the victim’s cellphone after she screamed for help.”
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’5″ tall, with a slim build and short hair,” the report continues. “He was wearing black pants and a black shirt at the time of the incident.”
The nature of the attack, the description of the suspect and the fact that he was scared off by the victim fighting back are all at least somewhat similar to four other such attacks that have happened since July 25.
On July 25, a man sexually assaulted a woman while walking home near Courthouse. On July 31 a woman running on the W&OD Trail was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground. On Aug. 1 a woman in Buckingham was also grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground. And this past Saturday, Aug. 8, a woman was approached from behind by a man who put a pillow case over her head and pushed her to the ground.
Police are “not willing to say… just yet” whether any of the attacks are related, but Special Victims Unit detectives were planning to talk to the victim today to gather additional details.
A police spokesman said ACPD has been stepping up its efforts to catch the alleged predator or predators who have been perpetrating these recent attacks, but the department can use tips from the public.
“We’re going to continue to put resources on the streets, in a plain clothes capacity along with additional patrol officers,” said Dustin Sternbeck. “We are looking for the public’s assistance with this as well.”
Photo via Google Maps
An officer fatally shot 54-year-old Alfredo Rials-Torres in his apartment on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. after responding to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance. Two officers and the deceased man’s mother were hurt in the incident.
“The following timeline provides an account of the incident according to officer and witness interviews,” the department said in an email. “The investigation remains ongoing at this time and will be presented to the Commonwealth Attorney in the future.”
10:51:44 – Initial 9-1-1 received by the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for a possible domestic disturbance. The reporting party informs the dispatcher they hear a female screaming from inside an apartment.
10:54:12 – Two officers are dispatched to scene by ECC for trouble unknown – possible domestic dispute.
10:54:31 – Call changed from trouble unknown to a domestic dispute, older couple in this apartment arguing loudly -possibly drinking
10:55:36 – First officer arrives on scene.
10:56:28 – Second officer arrives on scene.
10:56:39 – Third officer arrives on scene.
· The first two officers make contact with both parties believed to be involved in the domestic dispute at the front door of the apartment.
· Male party becomes confrontational with officers and attempts to slam the door closed.
· One officer places his foot in the door to prevent the door from closing and to avoid losing sight of and contact with the parties involved.
· Male party raises a metal pole in an aggressive manner, prompting an officer at the threshold to deploy his taser. The taser deployment was unsuccessful and the officer is struck in the face with the end of a metal pole by the male party.
· The officer sustains a significant facial injury – a serious laceration.
· A second taser deployment occurred by the same officer. That was also unsuccessful as one of the prongs struck one of the other officers in the arm, temporarily incapacitating him.
· The tased officer retreats to the exterior of the apartment building because he is unable to assist with the situation.
· Physical struggle ensues inside residence with the male party violently swinging the metal pole, prompting the officer to discharge his firearm out of fear for his safety and the safety of others.
· Three shots were fired, each striking the male party in the upper body.
· The third officer enters apartment and secures the scene until arrival of EMS.
10:59:54 – The third officer provides radio transmission w/ situational report, to include injuries to two officers & the parties involved in the domestic disturbance.
11:00:22 – EMS dispatched to scene
11:02:39 – EMS arrives on scene
11:10:22 – EMS transports male party to Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) where he is pronounced deceased by VHC medical staff.
11:18:21 – Injured officers transported to Virginia Hospital Center