Press Club

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Two people are in jail in Arlington after police say gunshots were fired from their vehicle in the District.

The arrests happened around 11:45 a.m., along southbound I-395 near S. Glebe Road. The incident started when an off-duty U.S. Park Police officer allegedly saw shots fired from the suspects’ vehicle — reportedly a U-Haul truck — at another vehicle.

“An off duty United States Park Police officer reporting for duty observed a vehicle discharge a firearm at another vehicle in the District of Columbia,” a Park Police spokesperson tells ARLnow. “Both vehicles fled the initial scene. The off duty USPP officer called in the incident to report it to on duty personnel.”

“USPP officers located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on southbound 395 in the area of Army Navy Drive,” the spokesperson continued. “The vehicle fled the initial stop before coming to a second stop for officers in the area of southbound 395 prior to Glebe Road. Two individuals were placed under arrest and transported to Arlington County Jail to be presented before a magistrate.”

A gun was found and the investigation is “ongoing,” the spokesperson said.

Arlington County police assisted Park Police during the incident, an ACPD spokeswoman confirmed. Several lanes of I-395 were temporarily blocked while the arrests were made.

More via social media, below.

Hat tips to Dave Statter and Alan Henney

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Update at 3:25 p.m. — The driver has successfully been rescued and is being transported to a local trauma center with serious injuries, per scanner traffic.

Earlier: Firefighters are working to rescue an injured driver after their car careened off the northbound GW Parkway and into a thick patch of woods, just north of Spout Run.

The vehicle is reported to be some 50 feet into the woods, on the embankment that leads down to the Potomac River. Firefighters had difficulty locating it after Arlington County’s dispatch center received a 911 call from the driver, who reported having a leg injury; the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter helped to locate it, according to scanner traffic.

The driver is said to be conscious and alert as rescuers figure out the best way to get him or her to safety.

Fire boats from Alexandria and D.C. also in the area, ready to assist if rescuers need to bring the driver down to the river instead of up to the Parkway.

The northbound GW Parkway is closed in the area as a result of the emergency activity, according to an Arlington Alert. Google Maps shows heavy traffic on the GW Parkway backing up to the Roosevelt Bridge.

This is not the first time a car has driven well into the woods between the Parkway and the river. Earlier this year the Parkway was partially closed to allow for the removal of two crashed cars in the woods.

Map via Google Maps

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Five people were arrested after an armed robbery outside the Harris Teeter store in Pentagon City.

The robbery happened around 4 p.m. Wednesday, in a parking lot near the grocery store. Five people, including at least one who was armed with a handgun, assaulted and stole cash from victims with whom they had arranged a sale of sneakers, according to police.

“At approximately 4:11 p.m., police were dispatched to the 900 block of Army Navy Drive for the report of an armed robbery,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspects and victims met at this location for the pre-arranged sale of sneakers. During the encounter, the suspects brandished a firearm, assaulted the victims, stole an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in a vehicle prior to the arrival of officers.”

The vehicle, a dark-colored Jeep, was soon located by police heading into D.C. on I-395. It was followed by officers until U.S. Park Police stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 9th Street NW in the District.

Five people, all ages 19 and 20, were taken into custody and charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, Savage said. They’re currently being held in D.C.

One of the victims suffered a reported head wound during the robbery and was treated by medics on the scene.

 

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(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) A man who was allegedly involved in a significant crash on the GW Parkway was later stopped by police while walking along N. Glebe Road.

The multi-vehicle wreck blocked the GW Parkway in both directions between Spout Run Parkway and Chain Bridge Road for several hours this past Saturday night.

“At approximately 10:47 p.m., United States Park Police officers responded to a multi-vehicle crash southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway south of the First Overlook,” U.S. Park Police spokesperson Sgt. Roselyn Norment tells ARLnow. “Arriving units discovered four vehicles with significant damage on the north and southbound side of the GWMP.  One vehicle travelling southbound was struck and sent across the median into northbound traffic.”

Several people were injured and taken to local hospitals, but none had life threatening injuries, Norment said.

An hour or so later, a person who police say was involved in the crash was taken into custody along N. Glebe Road, in the largely residential Old Glebe neighborhood — about a three mile walk from the crash scene.

“At approximately 11:33 p.m., police received a lookout from USPP regarding a subject involved in a crash in their jurisdiction,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesperson Ashley Savage. “ACPD officers later located the subject in the area of N. Glebe Road and N. Albemarle Street. He was detained and custody was transferred to USPP.”

“One operator was arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident with injury and reckless driving,” Norment said.

Photo (2) via Google Maps

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Officers on the ground and a helicopter overhead searched for a criminal suspect near Rosslyn this morning.

Police were investigating a “domestic incident” this morning around 9 a.m. when they spotted the suspect and he took off running. He was able to evade officers after running down the Custis Trail and then through the woods in the area of the MOM’s Organic Market on Lee Highway, according to scanner traffic.

The exact nature of the incident for which the suspect is wanted is unclear.

The man reportedly changed clothes while on the run. Numerous Arlington County Police and U.S. Park Police officers, including at least one K-9 unit, looked for the man on the ground. The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter was also overhead, helping to search from the air.

The search was largely called off by 10:45 a.m., though police remained on scene investigating.

This morning’s suspect search follows another helicopter-assisted suspect search last night, in the Courthouse area, following an attempted sexual assault.

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Arlington County firefighters and other authorities are investigating a possible hazmat situation on the water at Theodore Roosevelt Island.

A kayaker spotted an oil sheen on the shoreline and called the fire department, we’re told. Arriving firefighters confirmed the sheen, though it initially appears limited in scale.

“We have units on scene (landside) at Roosevelt Island investigating a sheen of a petroleum product around the island,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. “US Park Police Harbor Patrol and Eagle 1 (helo) are also there checking the extent of the spread.”

“It appears to be isolated in nature, possibly due to a passing boat that had a leak in their bilge,” Blunt added. “They’re still investigating and don’t believe there is any threat of harm to wildlife or visitors at this point.”

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A dispute between a cyclist and a jogger led to an indecent exposure incident on the Mt. Vernon Trail yesterday afternoon, police say.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m., on the trail near Roaches Run and Gravelly Point. A man on a bicycle was engaged in an shouting match with a jogger; at one point, police say, the cyclist allegedly flashed the jogger.

“During the argument, the suspect exposed themselves to the other party,” said U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado. The cyclist rode off before police arrived.

Delgado did not provide a suspect description, but police radio traffic at the time described him as riding a road bike while dressed in spandex and red and white striped socks.

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Morning Notes

Online Forums Devolve into Shouting Matches — Falls Church News-Press columnist Charlie Clark writes about how a Nextdoor post about kids not wearing masks during a baseball game erupted into a barrage of insults and debates among neighbors. Nextdoor is not alone in becoming a forum for heated local debates on hot button issues: last month the popular Fairlington Appreciation Society Facebook group shut down after flame wars broke out over issues related to the Black Lives Matter protests. [Falls Church News-Press]

Virtual ‘Arlington Cares’ Event Tomorrow — “This free, virtual event will recognize the 2020 Community Service Award Winners and remind us of the importance of serving others. A heartwarming opportunity for all ages that will celebrate the overwhelming goodness that is within our community.” [Event Calendar]

Reduction in Homelessness Prior to Pandemic — “For the 20th consecutive year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee has conducted a regional Point-in-Time (PIT) enumeration of the area’s residents experiencing homelessness and those who were formerly homeless. This year’s enumeration and survey occurred on January 22, 2020. Arlington saw a 7-percent reduction in overall homelessness, down from 215 persons in 2019 to 199 in 2020.” [Arlington County]

More Flood Damage in Waverly Hills — “After countless floods in Arlington’s Waverly Hills neighborhood soaked his basement, Tom Reich finally ordered a custom-made waterproof door to protect his home’s bottom level.
On Tuesday, the day before it was scheduled to arrive, yet another storm dumped buckets of rain on the region — and especially on 18th Street North. There, overwhelmed storm water mains sent three feet of water coursing down the street.” [Washington Post]

Beyer Furious at Response to Shooting Inquiry — “‘For nearly three years Bijan Ghaisar’s family and community have sought answers from federal authorities about why these officers killed Bijan and what consequences they will face. This response which tells us nothing after an eight-month delay is an insult to the people we represent,’ said [Rep. Don] Beyer. ‘The contempt such a pathetic answer shows for public transparency and accountability is unacceptable and will further damage the standing of the U.S. Park Police at a time when the region’s trust in them is already at an all-time low.'” [House of Representatives]

Report Businesses Flouting the Rules, Gov. Says — “As Virginia starts seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Ralph Northam reiterated Friday what has become a familiar message about limiting crowds, washing hand frequently and wearing face coverings. But he added a new fourth point: Report businesses flouting the rules to the local health department.” [InsideNova]

Freddie’s Closes Temporarily — “Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close temporarily. One of our employees has tested positive for COVID-19. We are actively reaching out to customers and staff who may have been in contact since Wednesday July 8. We are beginning the process to have the restaurant fully sanitized so we may safely reopen as soon as possible.” [Facebook]

Nearby: MoCo Starting School Year Online — “Montgomery County students will begin the next academic year online, with a phased approach to bring them back to school buildings part-time by the end of November, according to the school district’s draft plan released Saturday.” [Bethesda Magazine]

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The National Park Service has a 3,000 pound problem: a car that ran so far off the GW Parkway that it wound up near the banks of the Potomac River.

The crash happened the afternoon of Sunday, June 7, just north of Windy Run in Arlington County.

Arlington firefighters, along with the D.C. police Harbor Patrol Unit, the D.C. fire boat and the U.S. Park Police helicopter responded to the crash scene after a report of a vehicle travelling in the northbound lanes that went over an embankment.

“Upon our arrival our incident commanders established a unified command with all agencies and our personnel located the vehicle near the water’s edge, approximately 60 feet down the embankment,” ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli told ARLnow earlier this month.

“The driver had already extricated himself from the vehicle and we confirmed that he was the only occupant of the vehicle,” Tirelli continued. “ACFD medical personnel treated the patient and transferred care from the Virginia shoreline to the DCFD fire boat, where he was transported with non-life threatening injuries to a waiting ambulance on the D.C. shoreline.”

Hikers on the rocky Potomac Heritage Trail have since been encountering the startling sight of the crashed car, not knowing for sure whether anyone is inside.

“I was hiking the Potomac Heritage Trail this weekend and there is a car down there that was not there a few weeks ago,” local resident Melissa Mathews said in an email to ARLnow earlier this week. “It must have been driven off of the GW Parkway that runs (far, far) above the trail. The car has been tagged by either insurance or police so I assume there is no body inside.”

The crashed vehicle is located on national parkland, within the confines of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado tells ARLnow that the car will be removed, but authorities are still trying to figure out how to do that, exactly.

“The National Park Service is still trying to determine the best course of action for the vehicle’s removal,” Delgado said.

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Morning Notes

Police Mutual Aid Agreements Under Review — “The force Park Police officers have used against protesters could cost the agency its working relationship with some local police departments. In a statement to News4, Metropolitan Washington’s Council of Governments confirms it is now planning to review the regional mutual aid agreement which governs those relationships.” [NBC 4, Connection Newspapers]

Planning Commission to Restart Meetings — “After a layoff of four months, the Arlington Planning Commission soon will be back in business – albeit in ‘virtual’ format, at least for the time being. Having last met on March 11, the advisory panel will hold its first COVID-era gathering on July 6, catching up on a backlog of items but likely focused on matters headed for County Board consideration later in the month.” [InsideNova]

More Changes to Marathon Planned — “Our working solution is to break the 45th MCM up into 24 waves that will start over an expanded window of time on event morning. This plan will necessitate a smaller field of in-person participants. Those in the late waves will have less time to Beat the Bridge. Twelve minutes per mile is the best we can offer at this time. It possibly might have to go even lower.” [Marine Corps Marathon]

Four Bond Referenda Planned — “Arlington taxpayers would be asked to approve four bond referendums totaling just under $92 million in the November general election… More than half the total amount – $50.8 million – will be used to address stormwater-management issues. Additional bonds are being proposed for transportation and Metro ($30 million), infrastructure ($7.5 million) and parks ($3.6 million).” [InsideNova]

District Doughnut Promotion — “To celebrate the reopening of our Ballston Quarter store, we are treating you to extra doughnuts! From Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th, the first 50 customers each day will receive a free doughnut with any purchase.” [Facebook]

Here’s Who Adopted Cupid the Cat — Cupid, an injured kitten brought to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington after being shot in the head with an arrow, has a new adoptive mother: NBC 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts. Cupid made a recent appearance on the station’s morning weather report. [Instagram]

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) Despite what you might have seen on TV, the Arlington police officers who were sent to assist the response to protests in D.C. conducted themselves professionally, county leaders say.

In a half-hour phone interview with ARLnow, Police Chief M. Jay Farr, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz discussed the decision to send officers to help U.S. Park Police in D.C., and the subsequent decision to bring them back to Arlington — which is facing criticism from the local police association.

The origin of what has become a national news story started Saturday night, when U.S. Park Police — facing mounting officer injuries and exhaustion from guarding Lafayette Square, near the White House, amid large-scale protests over the death of George Floyd — formally made a mutual aid request for Arlington County Police to assist 0n Sunday. Such requests are common in the multi-jurisdictional D.C. region, and made for everything from suspect searches to large events like an inauguration.

“The numbers and the amount of protests had accelerated to the point that they definitely could use our assistance,” Farr said. ACPD was also asked to help fill in for USPP by patrolling the George Washington Parkway. Alexandria and smaller local jurisdictions were not asked to provide

Farr agreed to the requests, Schwartz and Garvey were informed and concurred with the decision, and on Sunday Arlington officers in riot gear made their way to the District.

The officers were held in reserve for much of the day but at night, as peaceful protests gradually gave way to violence and destruction, they were called to help push protesters back, allowing D.C. firefighters to battle several fires, including at St. John’s Church. Live news footage showed the officers in their ACPD riot helmets, maintaining a perimeter as objects were thrown in their direction,

On Monday, Park Police asked ACPD for another day of aid, pending the arrival of backup from other federal law enforcement agencies. Dozens of USPP officers had been injured in the protests, out of a force of about 300, Farr said. Arlington again agreed to the request. But this time turned out to be different.

A harbinger, Schwartz said, was a conference call President Trump held with the nation’s governors, in which he told them that “you have to dominate” to control the protests.

“It was a disturbing phone call,” said Schwartz. But it wasn’t until shortly after he read about the call that word reached him about what had happened in front of Lafayette Square.

It was 6:35 p.m when police at the park, including Arlington officers, started to suddenly move toward the crowd, which had to that point been mostly peaceful.

Live coverage on CNN showed Arlington officers on left side of the screen, forcefully but steadily pushing back a small group of protesters. To their right, other riot gear-clad officers — Farr believes at least some of them were Park Police — shoved members of the crowd much more aggressively. Cloud-spewing munitions were fired, which some believed to be tear gas, something USPP denied Tuesday.

Shortly after protesters were pushed out of the way, President Trump walked out of the White House, walked to the fire-damaged church, held up a bible as photos were taken, and then walked back.

Outrage followed on social media. Images of Arlington officers in the midst of the fracas, including one holding a pepper ball gun (as seen above), started to make the rounds.

“This is absolutely not what our tax dollars should be used for,” one local tweeted. “Nothing about this made Arlington or DC safer.”

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