The crime rate takes into account only “Part I” offenses — homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.
Of those categories, three saw increases in 2015. Robberies were up from 110 to 115, a 4.5 percent increase, aggravated assaults rose from 141 to 144, a 2.1 percent increase, and homicides doubled — from 1 to 2.
Excluding the police shooting of a combative, metal pole-wielding domestic violence suspect — deemed a justifiable homicide but included in the statistics — the homicide rate would have remained steady. The one criminal homicide of the year was the murder of Bonnie Delgado Black; the trial of Black’s estranged husband, David Black, on first degree murder charges is scheduled to begin June 13.
More details on the crime rate, from ACPD, are below.
Arlington’s overall crime rate decreased by 6.01% in 2015. This is the second year in a row the overall crime rate in Arlington County decreased. The crime data is collected using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
The grand total of Part I offenses (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) was 3,631 in 2015, down from 3,863 in 2014. Additionally, the Police Department received a total of 87,475 calls for service during the calendar year. “Safe communities are built on strong partnerships between police and the communities they serve,” commented Chief of Police M. Jay Farr. “We are committed to engaging with our citizens and making our community safer together.”
Following current national trends, property crimes declined in Arlington County in 2015. The largest decrease were the number of burglaries, down 13.59%. In addition, larcenies decreased by 7.08%. Motor vehicle theft resulted in the largest increase at 11.03%. The Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens to always keep doors locked and windows up whenever leaving their vehicle unattended. Valuables should be removed from sight and never store a spare key inside your vehicle.
There were two categories that experiences marginal increases in 2015. Robberies increased from 110 in 2014 to 115 in 2015, a 4.55% increase. Aggravated assaults increased from 141 in 2014 to 144 in 2015, a 2.13% increase. There were two homicides last year in Arlington County, both stemming from domestic-related incidents. There was no change in the number of rapes reported. The police department will continue to be a visible presence throughout Arlington County as officers actively patrol areas and investigate reports.
The Arlington County Police Department remains focused on the reduction of the incidents of crime, and the improvement of quality of life in Arlington County. We will continue to work diligently to reduce crime and keep Arlington’s neighborhoods safe by concentrating on our commitment to community engagement, transportation safety and crime control.
Widening Critics Still Questioning I-66 Deal — “Widening the highway for four miles from Beltway to Ballston will not relieve traffic congestion, according to every expert I’ve spoken to,” writes WAMU transportation reporter Martin Di Caro, regarding the I-66 deal struck by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette, meanwhile, says the overall plan for tolling I-66 is worth the compromise. [Twitter, WAMU]
Arlington Probably Won’t Sue Over I-395 HOT Lanes — After mounting an expensive legal battle over a plan by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) administration to convert the HOV lanes on I-395 to High Occupancy Toll lanes, Arlington appears poised to accept a similar HOT lane plan by VDOT and the McAuliffe administration. There are some key differences between the two proposals, observers say. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlington Man Arrested in D.C. Cold Case — Arlington resident Benito Valdez, 45, has been arrested and charged with an alleged accomplice in a 1991 triple homicide cold case in the District. [Associated Press]
Chamber Concert in Lyon Park This Weekend — On Saturday, IBIS Chamber Music will hold a free concert of chamber music in the newly-renovated Lyon Park Community Center (414 N. Fillmore Street). The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. and feature music by Schubert, Beethoven and Debussy. [ARLnow]
Local Resident’s Cat Story Appears in Book — A story by Arlington resident April Riser is featured in the new book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat,” according to a PR rep for the publisher.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Potential Supreme Court Nominee Lives in Arlington — Sri Srinivasan, who’s on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees, lives in Arlington with wife and two children. Srinivasan is seen as a moderate who would be difficult for conservatives to oppose. [Fusion, Politico]
County Considering Two-Tier Historic Designations — Arlington County is considering establishing a two-tier system for local historic designations, one for Arlington Public Schools and another for residents. APS wants less stringent rules to keep costs down and speed up construction. Residents in historic districts must seek permission from a historic affairs commission to make changes like installing a new driveway, replacing a garage door or even replacing windows. [InsideNova]
Jailhouse Informant Found Murdered — The man who helped to convict former Marine Jorge Torrez of murder by getting him to confess on tape while at the Arlington County jail has been found dead. Osama El-Atari was found shot to death in his truck in Upper Marlboro, Md. [Fox 5]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Edwin Umana was charged in the homicide of a 22-year-old man, Eduardo Almendarez, whose body was found stabbed in Four Mile Run Park, near Potomac Yard, on Dec. 4.
Alexandria Police say the the crime was “gang-motivated” and that Umana was a member of the MS-13 gang. Almendarez was not in the gang, said Alexandria Police spokesman Crystal Nosal.
Alexandria Police also today announced that three suspects were in custody in connection with the homicide of a 24-year-old man found dead at a playground in Alexandria’s Beverly Park. That murder was also perpetrated by MS-13 members, Nosal said.
The suspects and the victims of both crimes were all undocumented immigrants, according to police.
The press release about the arrest of Umana is below.
Alexandria Police have charged a suspect in connection with the homicide of Eduardo David Chandias Almendarez, who was found deceased in Four Mile Run Park on December 4, 2015.
Edwin Alexander Guerreo Umana, 18, of Arlington, was charged with Murder on January 13, 2016. He is being held without bond.
“The hard work of Alexandria Police detectives and vital assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations directly led to this arrest and closure for the victim’s family”, said Police Chief Earl Cook. “This homicide investigation continues and the Alexandria Police Department is unwavering in its determination to arrest all responsible for this young man’s death. The safety of this community is of utmost importance to us. ”
The Police Department asks that anyone with information about this investigation contact Detective William Oakley at 703.746.6606.
Prosecutor: Black Asked for Help Killing Wife — At a bond hearing Monday, prosecutors said that David Black asked a friend to help kill his wife in a classic case of domestic violence. Black was denied bond and will remain in jail, charged with killing his estranged wife Bonnie Black in their home near Pentagon City. The trial is set for Feb. 29. [WUSA 9]
One of the Worst Traffic Bottlenecks — Arlington has one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, according to the American Highway Users Alliance. I-395 between Washington Blvd and the GW Parkway ranked No. 26 on the list, wasting 1.1 million hours and 322,600 gallons of fuel annually. [WTOP]
TSA HQ Move May Be Delayed — The Transportation Security Administration’s headquarters may be staying in Pentagon City past 2017 after all. A judge has halted the TSA’s move to Alexandria in response to a protest of the lease bidding process by a losing bidder. [Government Executive]
Arlington GOP May Ditch Office — In order to save money, the Arlington County Republican Committee is considering giving up the $1,100 per month office it rents in the Dominion Arms apartment building. [InsideNova]
See Something, Type Something — Arlington County’s website has a “Homeland Security Tip Form,” for reporting “suspicious activity that may be related to terrorism” in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Murder Victim Feared Her Estranged Husband — Bonnie Black, who was found dead in her home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood on April 17, feared her estranged husband, court documents show. After months of continuing to live in the neighborhood a free man during the investigation, David Black is now in jail, charged with murder. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield, W-L Fall in Football Playoffs — The playoff runs for the Wakefield and Washington-Lee high school football teams have ended early. Wakefield could’t hang on to a 6-0 lead at halftime, falling to Potomac Falls 21-6, while W-L lost 44-20 to Westfield. [InsideNova, Washington Post]
Arlington Wants I-66 Widening Delayed — This week the Arlington County Board is scheduled to decide its position on the plan for tolling on I-66. At its Saturday meeting the Board made clear that it wants to delay the widening of the highway as long as possible. Meanwhile, responding to questions from county officials, VDOT says it’s not able to fully enforce existing HOV restrictions on I-66 because the enforcement causes significant traffic delays. Nearly half of the clogged rush hour traffic on I-66 is believed to be HOV rule breakers. [WTOP, WTOP]
County May Ask for Paper, Plastic Bag Tax Authority — Despite failing efforts in previous years, Arlington County’s draft legislative agenda seeks to again ask the Virginia General Assembly for the authority to levy a small tax on single-use paper and plastic bags. The proposal may exempt bags for certain items, like newspapers, dry cleaning and prescription drugs. [InsideNova]
Historic House for Sale — A 145-year-old house known as “The Hill” is now for sale in Arlington’s Old Glebe neighborhood. Originally a summer home for a prominent D.C. family, the four-bedroom house is on the market for $1,568,000. [Preservation Arlington]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington County Police have arrested a suspect in the April 17 stabbing death of Aurora Highlands resident Bonnie Delgado Black.
Police arrested 46-year-old David Black, the victim’s ex-husband, earlier today following a grand jury indictment. He’s charged with first degree murder and burglary.
Last month police searched Black’s house — which was several blocks from his estranged wife’s home, where she was found dead — and removed bikes and other items as evidence. Speaking to television reporters at the time, neighbors said they were nervous to have Black still living in the community.
Bonnie Black was a psychologist who did contract work for the FBI. She was found stabbed to death after her young children were found wandering outside her home by a neighbor.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit and Tactical Unit have taken David Black, 46, of Arlington, VA, into custody pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. These charges stem from the murder of his estranged wife, Bonnie Black which occurred on April 17, 2015 in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood of Arlington County. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charges him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony.
A neighbor discovered the victim’s two young children wandering outside of the home in the early morning hours of April 17, 2015. At 7:50 a.m., Arlington County Police responded to the 1100 block of 18th Street South where officers discovered the 42 year-old female victim deceased inside her residence.
A special investigative grand jury was convened by the Arlington County Circuit Court and heard evidence and testimony surrounding the murder of Bonnie Black. Today that grand jury returned an indictment against David Black and he was arrested without incident.
Arlington Man Arrested for Murder — A 51-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged in the strangulation death of a man in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The alleged crime happened Saturday afternoon. The suspect was arrested by U.S. Marshals and Arlington County Police in Arlington; we hear the arrest took place at a McDonald’s restaurant, but so far that has not been confirmed. [WHAG]
Couple Hopes to Find Owner of Lost Ring — A school custodian and his girlfriend are searching for the owner of a lost gold wedding ring. Dennis Avery found the ring in June following an event at Glebe Elementary School. The ring has engravings that offer clues as to who the owner may be, including a date and a pair of initials. [WJLA]
Self-Driving Cars Come to Arlington — State officials, Virginia Tech researchers and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) demonstrated self-driving cars for the media on the closed-off I-395 HOV lanes yesterday afternoon. A press conference for the event was held in Pentagon City. [WTOP, Fox 5]
Part of Park Is Being Used for Parking — A portion of the 22-acre Jennie Dean Park along Four Mile Run near Shirlington is being used as a temporary parking lot for ART buses and vehicles from Shirlington-based public TV station WETA.County officials have promised residents that the portion of the park used will go back to being a park, but admitted they didn’t have any other good options for ART bus parking at the moment. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Samer Farha
McMenamin Leads Cash Race — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Michael McMenamin has the most cash on hand of the four candidates in the race. McMenamin’s campaign reported $13,699 on hand as of Aug. 31, compared to $10,127 for Democrat Katie Cristol, $8,853 for Democrat Christian Dorsey and $1,657 for independent Audrey Clement. Dorsey has thus far spent the most on his campaign: $55,048, compared to McMenamin’s spending of $2,050. [InsideNova]
‘Demolition Derby’ for Old Houses — All over Arlington, older, more modest homes are being torn down and much larger, more lavish homes are being built in their place. The actual number of homes destroyed is low relative to Arlington’s population — the county reported 124 demolition permits for the first six months of 2015 — but it still worries long-time residents. “Can middle-income people in their 30s, first-time buyers, still live in Arlington?” asked one woman. [Falls Church News-Press]
Local Youth Pilgrimage to Philly — Six hundred teenagers from around Northern Virginia, plus 185 students from Arlington’s Bishop O’Connell High School, will be making a pilgrimage to Philadelphia for the visit of Pope Francis. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Death Nears for Man Who Raped, Killed in Arlington — A man suspected of raping and killing a woman in Arlington in 1988 is scheduled to be executed in Virginia in two weeks. Alfredo Prieto has also been convicted of or is suspected in a number of other murders and rape cases in Virginia and California. [Los Angeles Times]
Grants for Serving Those with Disabilities — Arlington County has $111,910 available for grants to groups that provide services to Arlington residents with physical and sensory disabilities. The deadline for grant applications is Oct. 30. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
(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.
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department does not have new leads for any of its 22 cold cases, some of which date back to 1970, but is an the lookout for new tips and evidence.
The oldest cold case in ACPD’s files is the murder of Maria Currier, 23, from 1970. Currier was found strangled in her bedroom on 100 block of N. Columbus Street on Jan. 8, 1970.
There are two other cold cases from 1970 — Rene Karam, who was strangled in March 1970, and Frank Shipley, who died under unusual circumstances in May 1970.
Shipley and his wife returned home to find a burglar in their house. Shipley suffered a heart attack while complying with the burglar’s demands.
The suspect was described as “a white male in his 20s, approximately 5″8′ tall with a slight build and dark-brown or black wavy hair,” according to the ACPD’s cold case website.
There were 10 deaths between 1970 and 1975 that remain unsolved — three in 1970, two in 1971, three in 1974 and two in 1975. The deaths of the 12 other cold case victims occurred between 1986 and 2006, with two deaths in 1988.
One of the 1988 unsolved cases is 38-year-old Constance Holtzman, who was shot and killed on Nov. 9, 1988. She was found in her bedroom on the 4400 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. Police still do not have a suspect description.
The most recent cold case is nearly 10 years old. Paul Matthew Zeller was killed while walking near the Pentagon Row shopping center in 2006, according to ACPD.
On the night of his murder, Zeller stopped at a grocery store before heading to his Aurora Highlands home, according to detectives. Police found the 24-year-old Iraq war veteran shot on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street, after receiving 911 calls shortly after midnight. There is a reward of up to $10,000 for any information on that case.
The cold case squad is also working on the 2012 double homicide in Hall’s Hill, where two men were found in an apartment on N. Culpeper Street. The case is not technically considered a “cold case” because it is still actively being worked, said Det. Rosa Ortiz.
“I do have several leads that are good leads,” Ortiz said. She declined further comment.
Ortiz heads the cold case squad and has been the lead detective in some of the police department’s most high-profile solved cases, including the Carl Diener murder and a 25-year-old rape case that was solved last year.
Anyone with information on any cold case or recent crime can call the ACPD Tip Line at 703-228-4242 or the Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
“Any new information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could help detectives solve this case and bring the victim’s family some closure,” the cold case website says.
Update at 2:35 p.m. — Flanagan was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital at 1:30 p.m., authorities said. Following the shooting this morning, he sent a suicide note to ABC News.
Update at 12:35 p.m. — Virginia State Police has issued the following statement:
“Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Virginia State Police spotted the suspect vehicle headed eastbound on Interstate 66. With emergency lights activated the Virginia State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. Minutes later, the suspect vehicle ran off the road and crashed. The troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound. He is being transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
The male driver is believed to be the same male subject who shot three people this morning in Franklin County during a television news interview.”
Update at 11:50 a.m. — WDBJ reports that Flanagan has shot himself on I-66 in Fauquier County (see below).
Earlier: The suspect in the murder of two television journalists near Roanoke this morning may be heading for the D.C. area.
A lookout for the suspect, Vester Lee Flanagan II, was broadcast to Arlington County Police earlier this morning. The lookout said the suspect was armed and dangerous and believed to be heading to the D.C. area.
An ARLnow.com reporter also overheard officers talking about the suspect and the possibility he may be heading to the area at a public event this morning.
According to various news reports, Flanagan is the suspect in the shooting death of WDBJ7 photographer Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker during a live television broadcast this morning.
Flanagan is reported to be a former WDBJ7 reporter who went by the name Bryce Williams. Just after 11 a.m., a Twitter account associated with Flanagan posted accusations of workplace mistreatment along with two horrific first-person videos of the shooting.
Flanagan is described as a black male, 6’3″ tall and weighing 250 lbs. He was last seen driving a gray, 2009 Ford Mustang according to the police lookout, but some reports suggest he might have since switched vehicles.
— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) August 26, 2015
— NBC PHOTOG (@bforte22) August 26, 2015
Arlington Native Murdered in California — Christopher Wrenn, an Arlington native, was shot to death in a San Jose, California office park last week. The motive for the shooting remains a mystery, but two of the three suspects have since been shot and killed by police. Wrenn, a Washington-Lee High School graduate and Marine Corps veteran, was noted for having a big personality and always having a story to tell — like how he was baby-sat by actress Sandra Bullock as a kid. [San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, CBS Bay Area]
Arlington Little League Memories — The local little league used to keep statistics on each player, and “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark recently dug up some of those records. Among the batting averages of some notable Arlingtonians are .172 for CNBC managing editor and anchor Tyler Mathisen, .212 for Italian Store owner Bobby Tramonte and .290 for Clark himself. [Falls Church News-Press]
Renovations at Nam Viet — Long-time Clarendon restaurant Nam Viet is undergoing some renovations this week. A sign in the window says the eatery at 1127 N. Hudson Street will reopen Monday, Aug. 24.
Hat tip to Benjamin M. Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi.
More Details in Aurora Highlands Slaying — Investigators have sent hairs found in the hands of murder victim Bonnie Black to a lab for DNA testing. Police have also thoroughly searched the house of Black’s estranged husband, confiscating items like a Swiss Army knife, computers and a hair brush. [Washington Post]
DCA Terminal Proposal Unveiled — Officials have unveiled a $800 million plan to build a new commuter aircraft terminal at Reagan National Airport. The terminal would be built to the north of the existing terminals, replacing a headquarters building and a hangar. Currently, 5,000 commuter jet passengers a day use a single gate and are bussed to their planes. [InsideNova]
Silver Line Phase 2 Delayed — The second phase of Metro’s Silver Line is delayed by just over a year, officials announced Monday. The Silver Line is now not expected to reach Dulles Airport until late 2019 or 2020. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building the Silver Line, blames project changes intended to enhance safety. [NBC Washington]
Ballston Tech Firm Acquired — Ballston-based Applied Predictive Technologies has been bought by MasterCard for $600 million. The company “uses cloud-based analytics to help clients measure marketing, merchandising and operations efforts.” [Bloomberg]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Police Answer Resident Questions About Murder — Arlington County Police held a community meeting in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood last night to answer questions about the murder of Bonnie Black. Police said that Black was stabbed in the chest and neck. Officers have been conducting extra patrols but police say no immediate danger to the community. Meanwhile, it was revealed that police are searching the home of Black’s estranged husband, who so far is not being named as a suspect. [MyFoxDC, WTOP]
Judge Considering Deaf Inmate’s Suit — A federal court judge is considering testimony in the lawsuit against the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office by a deaf inmate who says he was denied access to an American Sign Language interpreter during a jail stay last year. [Associated Press]
TDM For APS Teachers — Arlington County has launched the first transportation demand management (TDM) program in the U.S. for public school faculty and staff. The program is “aimed at reducing the drive-alone rate of the more than 5,000 employees of Arlington Public Schools (APS), one of the top employers in the county.” [Mobility Lab]
No ‘Bells and Whistles’ for Lubber Run — Arlington County is in the early stages of a plan to renovate the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive), but the officials are already tamping down any expectations of gold-plated features. “We’re not going to build everyone’s wish list,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes on Tuesday. A community forum about the renovation project is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:30 at the community center. [InsideNova]
Arlington Native Named People’s ‘Most Beautiful’ — Actress Sandra Bullock, a 1982 graduate of Washington-Lee High School, has been named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2015. [Patch]
Photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk