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
(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Arlington County Police have confirmed that the two people found dead in a Westover apartment yesterday died as a result of an apparent murder-suicide.
Police say the bodies of Kristy Flowers, 31, and Ray Savoy, Jr., 29, were found in an apartment on the 1200 block of N. Kensington Street on Monday afternoon. Officers were called to the apartment to check on the welfare of the residents, who had not been heard from for a couple days.
Police say they believe Savoy shot Flowers, then turned the gun on himself. The two were a couple, lived together in the apartment and posted photos together on Facebook as recently as November.
“Awesome weekend in NYC with my LOVE BUG,” Savoy posted, along with a collection of photos featuring Flowers, on Nov. 22.
“There was no history of domestic violence at this location nor did either resident have any previous domestic violence arrests,” police noted in a press release this afternoon.
“To me, they were like the perfect couple… there was nothing to indicate that he was a violent person,” Kristy’s mother Patricia Flowers told the Washington Post. However, the Post also reported that Savoy “drank a lot and talked of the gun he kept in his car.”
A window was open in the couple’s second floor apartment at the time of the shooting, which is believed to have happened over the weekend. There were no reports of gunshots in the area, despite the presence of several apartment buildings immediately adjacent to and across the street from the scene.
“Officers and detectives have canvassed the area… we find it very unusual that no one reported it,” ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com.
Flowers is originally from Elyria, Ohio and was studying law at American University, according to social media pages. She worked as an analyst at Reston-based Leidos, the defense contractor formerly known as SAIC, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Savoy’s Facebook page says he’s an Army veteran and a native of Aquasco, Maryland.
Photo via Facebook
(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a possible homicide in the Westover neighborhood.
A man and a woman were found dead this afternoon in a garden-style apartment building on the 1200 block of N. Kensington Street, three blocks from Swanson Middle School. Homicide investigators are on the scene, taking photos and gathering evidence.
Police believe the deaths are suspicious. It’s possibly a case of murder-suicide, but that has not yet been confirmed, a police source tells ARLnow.com. According to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm, “there’s no immediate threat to the community.”
Police initially responded to the scene around 4:00 p.m. for a call to check on the welfare of an apartment resident, Malcolm said. According to the building’s landlord, who declined to be identified, a window in the apartment had been open “for a few days” and the tenant had missed the last rent payment, which was “not like her,” he said.
It has been more than two years since the last murder in Arlington. The last confirmed homicide in the county was the death of 87-year-old Mack L. Wood on Oct. 13, 2012.
Police are not releasing the identities of the deceased nor the cause of death until family members can be notified. ACPD issued the following statement about the investigation Monday night.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Robbery/Homicide Unit is investigating the suspicious deaths of two Arlington County residents.
At 3:57 p.m., Arlington County Police received a “check on the welfare” call for a resident who resides in the 1200 block of N. Kensington Street. Responding officers were able to gain entry into the locked apartment utilizing a key. The bodies of two victims, a 29-year old male and a 31-year old female, were discovered inside. Detectives and crime scene technicians are on scene conducting the ongoing investigation.
At this time, there does not appear to be an immediate threat to the community.
New Details About 2012 Murder — New details have been revealed about the 2012 murder of Old Glebe resident Mack Wood, Sr. Three men, including Wood’s son, have been convicted of the murder. Mack Wood, Jr., who’s now serving life in prison, reportedly hired two men to kill his 87-year-old, terminally ill father to get an inheritance from his multimillion dollar estate. [Washington Post]
Crystal City Transitway Construction Continues — Construction on the new Crystal City transitway is proceeding as planned. The transitway was expected to eventually serve a Crystal City streetcar line. Now that the streetcar project has been cancelled, it will only serve buses. [Greater Greater Washington]
Arlingtonians Satisfied With Their Commute — Arlington residents are more satisfied with their commute to work than those who live in the outer suburbs, according to recently-released survey results. Some 72 percent of Arlington residents said in a survey that they’re satisfied with their commute. The average Arlington resident’s commute is 28 minutes. [InsideNova]
Dems in Disarray Since Streetcar Decision? — Democratic political blog Blue Virginia says that the Arlington County Board’s decision to cancel the Arlington streetcar project has harmed both the county and the Arlington County Democratic Committee. The committee could be spiraling toward “dysfunction and division,” the blog suggests. Meanwhile, there are rumblings that County Board member Mary Hynes may not run for reelection next year, and that Walter Tejada may face a primary challenge. [Blue Virginia, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Alexandria Murder Suspect in Arlington Jail — Charles Severance, who’s charged in the murders of three Alexandria residents, has been transferred to the Arlington County Detention Facility in Courthouse. The transfer is intended “to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest,” since Severance is charged in the murder of the wife of a former Alexandria sheriff. [Washington Post]
Roadside Sunflowers Chopped Down — A patch of sunflowers planted at the intersection of Lee Highway and North Powhatan Street has been cut down by VDOT after someone complained to say the flowers blocked her view while turning. The resident who has been planting the sunflowers for the past seven years mounted a sign in the flowers’ place saying “hope you are happy!” [Falls Church News-Press]
Bocce Produces Outcry in Reston, Too — Remember the neighborhood kerfuffle over a single proposed bocce court in Bluemont? Well, it turns out Arlington isn’t the only place where people get steamed about the sport. In Reston, residents are complaining about potential traffic, parking woes, drinking and the loss of green space after a bocce court was proposed. [Reston Now]
County Seeking ‘Human Rights Heroes’ — Arlington County is seeking nominees for the 16th annual James B. Hunter Human Rights Awards. The awards are intended to honor residents, community groups, non-profits or businesses that have made significant human rights achievements. [Arlington County]
Fmr. Arlington Man Pleads Guilty to Murder — Lamont Deshawn Terry, a 39-year-old former Arlington resident, has pleaded guilty to the 1992 fatal shooting of a D.C. man at Hains Point. Terry had driven from Arlington to D.C. with plans to commit a robbery when he encountered victim Chet Hunter Matthews and his girlfriend in a parked car. [Washington Post]
Heritage Center in Courthouse? — An Arlington Heritage Center, hosting exhibits about Arlington’s history and cultural heritage, could eventually be built in Courthouse. Officials are looking at the redeveloped Courthouse Square area as a potential site for the long-sought center. A heritage center on Columbia Pike, which had been discussed previously, is apparently no longer being considered. [InsideNova]
Crystal City McDonald’s Lease Sells for Millions — A ground lease for the Crystal City McDonald’s, at 2620 Jefferson Davis Highway, has been sold for $7.35 million, a possible record. The McDonald’s, which pays around $300,000 per year to lease the land, is expected to remain there through 2026. [Washington Business Journal]
ACFD’s 9/11 Response — Last Thursday, Arlington County fire chief James Schwartz recounted the department’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Arlington was uniquely prepared for the unfathomable attack, thanks to its location and response to other major disasters like the 1982 Air Florida crash, Schwartz said. He also lauded Arlington’s role in the evidence gathering effort, which included finding the terrorists’ drivers’ licenses. [Falls Church News-Press]
WJLA Takes Right Turn Under New Ownership — Rosslyn-based WJLA (ABC 7) has taken a rightward turn following its purchase by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The station now airs conservative commentary, critical of President Obama and “government waste,” during its newscasts. It has also fired much of its longtime management team. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Highmuckmuck
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington Circuit Court Judge Daniel S. Fiore II sentenced Mack Wood, Jr. on Tuesday to life in prison. The 49-year-old Wood, Jr. pled guilty for the murder of his 87-year-old father.
Wood, Jr. was one of three people arrested last year in the murder-for-hire case. Mack L. Wood was found dead in his Arlington home in October 2012 from what first appeared to be an accident. However, an investigation by the Arlington County Police Department and the Henrico County Police Department uncovered evidence leading to the arrests of Wood, Jr., as well as Jean Caleb Pierre and Sapien Edmonds. All three men lived in Henrico, VA.
Prosecution documents state Wood, Jr. agreed to pay Pierre and Edmonds $25,000 each to kill his terminally ill father. The three began conspiring in April 2012, according to prosecutors, and made a failed attempt to kill Wood in July 2012. They kept in contact and came up with a new plan, which they successfully carried out in October 2012 when prosecutors say Edmonds beat and strangled Wood. Edmonds reportedly then positioned the body to appear as if the victim died from a fall down the stairs.
“It was horribly tragic for the Wood family. Mr. Wood was 87 years old and his wife had died a number of years earlier. They had adopted both of their children. He gave Mack Wood, Jr. his name, and they raised and provided a very good home for them,” assistant commonwealth’s attorney Andrew Parker told ARLnow.com. “Mr. Wood lived by himself and had been diagnosed months earlier with terminal cancer and was very ill. But because of these three men, he died at the hands of a stranger in his own home, by himself.”
Judge Fiore sentenced Wood, Jr. to life in prison for capital murder and an extra 20 years for the charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He is not eligible for parole under Virginia law.
Pierre and Edmonds both are waiting for their sentencing. As part of a plea deal, they agreed to provide information to authorities and therefore will be sentenced for first degree murder instead of capital murder. That means they will receive prison time, but not a death sentence.
Wood, Jr. has claimed his father abused him, but prosecutors have not been able to find any evidence to corroborate the claims. Evidence indicates Wood, Jr.’s motive was to inherit his father’s money. Wood, Jr. told Pierre he forged his father’s name on a contract to sell timber on land his father owned, and that he had received money from the sale. Wood, Jr. said he was afraid his father would reduce or eliminate his inheritance when he found out about the forged contract.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Wood, Jr. gave a lengthy statement. Part of his statement involved apologizing to his sister, Laura Kopack. She read her own statement, in which she explained what a blow this was to her and the family.
Flood Watch for D.C. Area — Arlington and the D.C. area is under a flood watch from noon today through later tonight. Another round of showers and thunderstorm with areas of heavy rain is expected today. [National Weather Service]
Bishop Attends School’s Last Mass — Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde attended the final school mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church last week. He “spoke to the palpable presence of both sadness and hope.” The school is closing due to low enrollment. The church’s pastor, meanwhile, is being transferred to another church against his will. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Micah Edmond Profiled — Micah Edmond, the Republican candidate for congress who will be facing off against Democrat Don Beyer in November, says there is a “realistic way” for him to win the race. Edmond, who is African-American, Jewish, a small business owner and a Marine Corps veteran, says he’ll be “reaching out to communities that are often ignored and listening to their cares and concerns and offering solutions.” [InsideNova*]
Arlington Resident Faces Another Murder Trial — Christopher Deedy, a State Department Special Agent from Arlington who’s accused of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a man in Hawaii, is about to face trial again. Deedy’s trial last year ended in a mistrial. [Associated Press]
* Editor’s Note: This website employs popup ads and, during our visit today, autoplay video ads with audio turned on by default and no option for turning it off. For a better user experience, we have linked to a site that displays the article as plain text.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick