Blue and Orange Line Changes Today — “There will be no rail service between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations due to the ongoing investigation into Tuesday’s derailment between Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Rosslyn, Arlington Cemetery, and Pentagon stations. Blue Line service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square stations only… Orange Line service will operate between Vienna and New Carrollton stations and Silver Line service will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center stations, with single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom.” [WMATA]
Suspicious Object in Pentagon Parking Lot — From the Pentagon Force Protection Agency yesterday afternoon: “At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) Police unit on routine patrol in South parking when they observed a suspicious object. The area was immediately cordoned off, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked from the area. PFPA Hazardous Device Unit responded and the object was rendered safely at about 6:50 a.m. The all clear was given at 7:35 a.m… There is no threat to the Pentagon and surrounding area. The incident is under further investigation.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Arlingtonian Swims Around Manhattan — “What’s that popular phrase often given as the reason climbers attempt to scale Mount Everest: ‘Because it is there.’ That’s pretty much the same explanation Andie Nelson gave, in addition to being a new challenge, for successfully completing the 28.5-mile 20 Bridges Manhattan Swim around the famous New York City island-borough on Aug. 24. It was the first time the Arlington resident attempted the swim.” [Sun Gazette]
Pair Face Drug, Robbery Charges — “800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 5:43 p.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary just occurred. Based upon information provided by dispatch and witnesses in the area, a lookout was broadcast and two of the three suspects were located and taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the three known suspects allegedly forced entry into the victim’s apartment and physically assaulted her before stealing two cell phones and fleeing the scene on foot. During a search of the two suspects incident to arrest, items consistent with drug paraphernalia were recovered.” [ACPD]
Clarendon Road Closure Today — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Wednesday 9am – 1pm: Temporary closure of EB Washington Blvd between N Kirkwood and Wilson Blvd for roadway infrastructure. Expect detour at Kirkwood to 10th St North, then to Wilson. WB Washington Blvd open but expect delays.” [Twitter]
Volunteer to Remove Trail Bumps — From Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail: “Tired of those bumps on the trail? Volunteer to help us fix them. Volunteer to fix the bumps near Memorial Bridge on 10/16.” [Twitter, Eventbrite]
Video Tour of Local Fire Station — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Since COVID prevented us from opening up our fire stations to tours during fire prevention week, we hope our community enjoys this video tour of Fire Station 5 given by the members assigned there on C Shift.” [Twitter, YouTube]
A group of Marines in their dress blue uniforms braved floodwaters along Columbia Pike to help a stranded motorist.
Video of the rescue has gone viral on TikTok, racking up more than 800,000 views as of this article’s publication. It appears to have taken place on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Thursday, amid a torrential downpour that flooded a number of roadways around Arlington.
The Marines, in their formal white pants and blue jackets, are seen getting out of a Marine Corps bus that’s stopped on the side of Columbia Pike, under a bridge carrying traffic on Washington Blvd. High standing water can be seen around the driver’s car.
“The Marines are going to help us?” she’s heard asking. “We just got stuck.”
The group trudges through the floodwaters and then is seen pushing the car to safety.
“Oh my God, this is the most American thing ever,” the driver says. “Thank you so much!”
In the comments on TikTok, the driver further expressed her gratitude.
“As an immigrant we don’t usually see these thing in the country I grew up in,” she wrote. “I am so grateful for the country and its Marines and military.”
It’s all in a day’s work for members of the Corps, said others in the comments.
“I am going to tell you right now, they LOVED helping you out,” one man wrote. “Cause this is what we Marines do.”
Hat tip to @theblueapple
Firefighters Recount 9/11 Horror — “Arlington County firefighter Matthew Herrera was racing to a call for an apartment fire in Rosslyn, Virginia, 20 years ago, when his crew was rerouted. Their new destination: the Pentagon, for a report of a plane down in the area. It was Sept. 11, 2001. Herrera, now a captain, struggled to get through piles of debris inside the building, right where the plane had hit, to fight the blaze. ‘The first time I fell, I got up real quick and I remember (thinking), ‘I hope I’m not stepping on somebody.’ And I knew that I probably was,’ Herrera told WTOP.” [WTOP]
More Recollections of Sept. 11 — “What they encountered was catastrophic, unprecedented and unforgettable. ‘There was just one piece of the plane I could see,’ recalls Scott, who today holds the rank of Captain II with Arlington Fire/EMS. ‘It was the letter C, from American Airlines.’ Along with countless other responders, Scott spent hours working to suppress the fire raging on the Pentagon’s west side.” [Arlington Magazine, WJLA, NBC 4]
Car Break-ins Around Arlington Ridge — “2300 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road / 1200 block of Oakcrest Road. At approximately 9:52 a.m. on September 3, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between 10:30 p.m. on September 2 and 9:52 a.m. on September 3, the unknown suspect(s) entered approximately four vehicles and rummaged through them. A variety of tools and personal items were reported stolen from the victim vehicles.” [ACPD]
First Hurricane Dog Adopted at AWLA — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Over the weekend, the first of our Louisiana dogs was adopted! We think Milo is very happy with his new family . More of the dogs from Louisiana will be available in the coming days/weeks so keep an eye on our website!” [Twitter]
Yorktown Football Undefeated So Far — “When it come to his team’s execution on offense, Bruce Hanson is hard to please. The longtime head coach of the Yorktown Patriots has a 2-0 football team already this fall that has scored 19 and 43 points in each of those high-school contests. Yet Hanson isn’t satisfied with what he says is sloppy and uneven performances, including during Yorktown’s 43-17 blowout of visiting Wilson on Sept. 2.” [Sun Gazette]
A Capital Problem Along Route 50 — “@VaDOTNOVA: Please fix the capitalization error on this sign. Should read ’14th Street,’ not ’14Th Street.’ Has annoyed me for years. On WB Arlington Blvd (US 50) near the Marine Corps Memorial.” [Twitter]
(Updated 8/27/21) The long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is aiming for a September 2025 opening, executive director Jim Laychak tells ARLnow.
A video announcement with updated designs, plans, and visuals for the education center that will be located along the soon-to-be-realigned Columbia Pike will be unveiled in the coming weeks and prior to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Laychak says.
The website and provided renderings currently shows a sleek, modern design with exhibits, “interactive biographies” of those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11, a rooftop terrace, ample parking, and a family gallery.
Construction on the anticipated companion to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is expected to start within two years.
“September 2023, we could start construction and, in two years from that, we will be open,” says Laychak, who also oversaw the building of the nearby memorial. “It’s about a two year construction [phase].”
However, that timeline isn’t set and and is dependent on the completion of the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads Project. That project will realign Columbia Pike, modify the S. Joyce Street intersection, and shift the Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd. interchange. This is all being done to allow for Arlington National Cemetery to expand.
“The site where we are going to build is on that whole grassy area where the gas station used to be,” says Laychak. “It’s got a cloverleaf there and… that needs to change to a parallel on and off ramp… to Washington Blvd. So, all of that needs to happen first.”
Construction on the road realignment was originally slated to start in “summer 2021,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, but work hasn’t begun yet.
ARLnow has reached out to the department about an updated timeline for the project but has yet to hear back as of publication.
The Pentagon Memorial opened to the public in 2008, but the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center wasn’t announced until late September 2015. It will sit on land owned by Arlington National Cemetery.
“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location,” the museum’s website said back in 2015. “Right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial.”
In 2016, renderings were displayed at the Pentagon City mall. Initially, it was expected to be completed by 2020 but that didn’t happen due to the project needing to wait for the ANC expansion and roads projects to take shape, says Laychak.
The last few years have mostly been filled with completing the architecture design, raising money, and reassembling a board of directors that now includes Sean Connaughton, a former Virginia transportation secretary.
The project has raised about $5 million, which was used to complete the design of the education center and exhibits. Overall, it will need to raise another $80 million, which Laychak estimates will be a split between federal appropriations (much like what was the case for the memorial) and private funds. The executive team is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise those funds.
Laychak believes the addition of the education center, along with the expansion of the cemetery and the roads project, will transform the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial into a “destination location.” It will also make the memorial much easier to get to, he says, since right now it can be a bit of a maze of a walk through parking lots, concrete barriers, and closed access points.
The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is currently closed to the public due COVID protocols and may not be open to the public by September 11, a Pentagon spokesperson confirms to ARLnow.
At this point, it’s unlikely that the memorial in Arlington will be reopened to the public on September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Pentagon.
“We can not predict when it will be open again,” Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough tells ARLnow.
As of August 2, the Pentagon reservation has been under Health Protection Condition Bravo (HPCON Bravo), meaning there’s “moderate” community transmission. This lines up with CDC’s data on August 2 showing that Arlington, as a whole, was seeing “substantial” community transmission. (It was recently upgraded to “high” by the CDC.)
Gough says the restrictions on the memorial will only loosen when the entire reservation moves to HPCON Alpha — “limited” community transmission.
While the memorial is outside, it operates under the parameters of the entire Pentagon. Meaning, it will only reopen to the public when the Defense Department shifts the entire reservation back to HPCON Alpha.
While the memorial probably won’t be open for visitation by the general public, there will be a small ceremony on the morning of September 11 for families and invited guests only.
Arlington’s Biggest House Numbers? — “In the early days of the pandemic, I went on a quixotic quest to walk every one of the 1,114 blocks in my Arlington, Virginia, ZIP code, cataloging the styles of the address numbers on every house along the way… I have kept an eye on the house numbers in Arlington ever since, and imagine my joy this spring when suddenly, on a street I biked down every week, a new set of enormous house numbers appeared.” [Slate, Twitter]
Stepped Up DUI Patrols Begin Today — “This Labor Day, the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) is participating in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign, which runs from August 18th through September 6th, 2021. This campaign aims to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways through a two-pronged approach of education and enforcement.” [ACPD]
Fallen Pentagon Police Officer Laid to Rest — “A Brooklyn-born Pentagon cop who was stabbed to death while on duty in DC was hailed as a “warrior” and a hero at his funeral Monday… ‘He fought ’til the end,’ his NYPD sibling, Rodney Rubert, said during funeral services at St. Barbara Roman Catholic Church in Bushwick.” [New York Post]
Beyer Proposes Healthcare Provider Vax Mandate — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today announced the introduction of the Protecting Vulnerable Patients Act, which would require healthcare providers who see Medicare or Medicaid patients to be vaccinated following final FDA approval of a COVID vaccine.” [Press Release]
Arlington Hotels Still Hurting — “Hotel-occupancy rates improved in June but, overall, the first half of the year remained a bust for the Arlington hospitality industry. The occupancy rate of 44.7 percent in June was better than the cumulative 34.4-percent rate recorded over the first six months of the year, according to new data from Smith Travel research and Arlington Economic Development. But that 34.4-percent rate was anemic even compared to the weak first six months of 2020, when it stood at 37.3 percent.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Office Vacancy Rate Rising — “The Arlington office-vacancy rate continues to go in the wrong direction, according to new second-quarter data. The overall office-vacancy rate countywide was 19.4 percent for the quarter, according to figures reported by CoStar and Arlington Economic Development. That’s up from 18.5 percent in the first quarter and 16.6 percent a year ago.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Nonprofit Eyes Tysons Development — “The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing is adding another project to its new Fairfax County pipeline, pitching a development in Tysons that could become the neighborhood’s first apartment building made up entirely of committed affordable units. The nonprofit hopes to build up to 175 new apartments on about 2 acres on Spring Hill Road near the Silver Line station of the same name, converting car dealership parking lots that are part of the massive Dominion Square development site.” [Washington Business Journal]
Langston Blvd Plan Meets Resistance — “Following this May’s release of area planning maps and a presentation on density from consultant AECOM, a furious screed was published by Lyon Village Civic Association president John Carten. Though the process is still in the community engagement phase that precedes concrete recommendations, the hint of possible changes in the General Land Use Plan prompted the Lyon Village group to predict a parade of horribles.” [Falls Church News-Press]
New Clarendon Apartment Building Sold — “Trammell Crow Residential has sold the Alexan Earl, a 333-unit multifamily building at 1122 N. Hudson St., to Lincoln Property Co. for $192 million… The Earl represents the first phase of the long-planned Red Top Cab redevelopment… Shooshan continues to plan for the second phase, a roughly 250-unit building fronting Washington Boulevard at the intersection with 13th Street North. It expects to start demolition this fall.” [Washington Business Journal]
Online Fundraiser for Fallen Officer –” The family of George Gonzalez started a memorial fund Sunday for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer who was fatally wounded Tuesday on the platform of the Pentagon Transit Center… By 3 p.m. on Monday, the GoFundMe campaign had already raised $15,000, outstripping its original goal of $1,000.” [Patch, GoFundMe]
Local BBQ Joint Competing in ‘World Championship’ — “Arlington’s Smokecraft Modern Barbecue… has been invited to compete in the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Taking place in Lynchburg, TN on on October 8th and 9th, ‘The Jack’ as it is known, is widely considered the world’s most prestigious barbecue competition.” [Press Release]
Va. AG Continues to Fight Robocalls — “Attorney General Mark R. Herring today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight back against the scourge of illegal robocalls by moving up the deadline for smaller telephone companies to implement caller ID technology. Attorney General Herring joined a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general have in submitting comments to the FCC.” [Press Release]
Pentagon to Require Vaccinations — “The Pentagon will require members of the military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo on Monday. About 64% of active duty military members are fully vaccinated, a low enough rate to pose concern for potential outbreaks and international deployment.” [Axios]
Fallen Pentagon Officer Remembered — “George Gonzalez was a proud New Yorker, ever loyal to his home turf of Brooklyn and the New York Yankees. He was also a proud Army veteran, having served a ferocious tour at the height of the Iraq War, always mindful of his comrades who didn’t come home. And he was a proud police officer, like his older brother, having served as an airport security agent, a federal jail guard and finally a Pentagon police officer.” [Washington Post]
DCA Passenger Traffic Still Down — “The airport’s passenger count in July was down 35.2 percent from the same month in 2019… The biggest challenge facing Reagan National will be an ongoing dearth of business travel. While some airline executives are expecting to see some rebound this fall, the U.S. Travel Association predicts that business-travel spending will not be back to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.” [Sun Gazette]
VHC’s New Lobby Piano Debuts — “We were honored to host Arlington resident, Andrea as our first volunteer to play the Steinway B Grand Piano featured in our newly refurbished lobby. The piano was recently gifted to Virginia Hospital Center by Sid and Reva Dewberry, longtime Arlington residents and VHC donors.” [Twitter]
Local Workers Want Telework to Continue — “Nearly half (48 percent) of area workers have teleworked in the past month, according to the Washington Post-Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University poll, and more than half want to continue to telework at least some of the time. With a larger population working remotely, fewer people and less money would come to dense commercial areas that rely on a steady stream of people.” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Health Directors Urge Mask Wearing — “Today, all five Northern Virginia Health Directors issued a joint letter of interim recommendations for mask wearing in Northern Virginia. The letter was issued by Health Directors from the City of Alexandria, as well as Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties to Northern Virginia Mayors, Chairs and Chief Administrative Officers with the recommendation that individuals wear masks while indoors in government and other public settings, regardless of vaccination status.” [City of Alexandria, PDF]
Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Fallen Officer — From NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen: “Secretary of Defense orders Pentagon flags flown at half-mast to honor Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer killed in the line of duty this morning.” [Twitter]
Metro Changes for Pentagon Investigation — From WMATA: “Pentagon update for tomorrow (Aug 4): Pentagon Station expected to remain closed all day. Yellow & Blue line trains will bypass the station. All Metrobus service to/from Pentagon Transit Center will operate from Pentagon City (S Hayes near 12th St).” [Twitter, Twitter]
Delayed Request for Assistance at Pentagon — From local public safety watchdog Dave Statter: “Heard shots at approx 10:37 am. This video was at 10:38 am. I’d love to know why Pentagon Protection Force Agency waited until 10:50 to request @ArlingtonVaPD & @ArlingtonVaFD for an active shooter?” [Twitter, Twitter]
Training Exercise Today at Fort Myer — “Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will hold a routine training event for its first responders Wednesday, Aug. 4, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Myer side of the base. Wright Gate, located at N. Meade Street and Marshall Drive in Arlington, will be closed from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m… Arlington County first responders will also participate in the training, so expect to see an increase in emergency response vehicles near the base. Neighboring communities may hear the base’s external ‘giant voice’ loudspeaker during the training.” [Press Release]
Former Red Top Cab Exec Dies — From the Washington Regional Alcohol Program: “Today, WRAP mourns the passing of former, longtime WRAP Director George Pakidis. The former VP of Red Top Cab in Arlington, George was a beloved member of WRAP’s Board for 14 years 12 of which he ably served as the nonprofit’s #SoberRide Committee Chair.” [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
(Updated at 2:15 p.m. on 8/4/21) A police officer was attacked and killed Tuesday morning at the Pentagon bus platform, outside the Metro station, prompting a massive emergency response from Arlington and other local jurisdictions.
At least three people were initially reported to be hurt, two seriously, as shots rang out around 10:30 a.m. The incident was initially described as an active shooting, though the attack was later reported to have involved a knife in addition to gunfire.
One “person of interest” was sought by police in the wake of the deadly attack, leading to an extensive search, though reports of a suspect being on the run now appear to be based on erroneous witness reports.
Dave Statter, a nearby resident and public safety watchdog, said he heard “at least a dozen shots” and saw CPR being performed on two people who were lying on the ground. Video taken by Statter shortly after the shooting shows police covering a person lying in the street, near a Metrobus, with a white sheet. Officers with guns drawn surrounded another person.
Just before noon on Tuesday, Pentagon police said “the scene of the incident is secure” but “still an active crime scene.” Metro trains were halted while police continued to search the area, including the Metro tunnels.
The Pentagon remained “on lockdown” until just after noon, when the lockdown was lifted. The Metro station and bus platform remained closed as of Wednesday.
Police and firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and other jurisdictions, as well as the FBI, responded to the scene. The Fairfax County police helicopter was called in to assist with the search. Numerous news crews gathered in Pentagon City as the situation unfolded.
Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted that he is “closely following the situation.”
“As we await more details from authorities, I am thankful for the efforts of law enforcement to keep everyone safe,” Rep. Beyer said.
A large number of police officers gathered outside of GW Hospital Tuesday afternoon, where the seriously injured officer was rushed after the shooting. He later was pronounced dead, according to the Associated Press, which reported that the officer was stabbed and that the suspect was shot by police and died on scene.
During an afternoon press conference at the Pentagon, authorities declined to confirm or deny whether an officer was killed, how many people were injured, whether the suspect was shot, whether a suspect is in custody, and whether there is a second suspect, as some initial reports suggested.
Police would only say that “several” people were injured after an officer was “attacked” on the Metrobus platform. The scene at the Pentagon is now “secure and secure” and the incident “is over,” police said. The FBI leading what was described as an “active, ongoing investigation” that “continues to evolve.”
“We are not actively seeking another suspect at this time,” Pentagon Force Protection Agency Chief Woodrow Kusse said.
Authorities declined to provide other information in response to reporter questions, pledging to provide more details at a later time.
On Tuesday night the Associated Press, citing law enforcement sources, identified the shooter as 27-year-old Austin William Lanz, a Georgia resident who unsuccessfully tried to join the Marine Corps in 2012.
On Wednesday morning Pentagon police identified the fallen officer as George Gonzalez, a Brooklyn native, military veteran and a member of the agency since 2018.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, he was a die-hard Yankees fan. He was a graduate of New York City’s Canarsie High School. George Gonzalez joined the @PFPAOfficial as a police officer on July 22, 2018.
— Pentagon Force Protection Agency (Official) (@PFPAOfficial) August 4, 2021
The FBI’s Washington Field Office released further details Wednesday afternoon, revealing that the officer was stabbed and then shot by Lanz, who took Gonzalez’s gun during the sudden, unprovoked attack. Lanz subsequently shot himself and may have also been shot by police, the FBI said, adding that a bystander was injured during the chaos but is expected to be okay.
A struggle ensued, in which the subject mortally wounded Officer Gonzalez and then shot himself with the officer’s service weapon. Other PFPA officers engaged the subject, who ultimately died at the scene.
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) August 4, 2021
The deceased subject has been identified as Austin William Lanz, 27, most recently of Acworth, GA. The #FBI continues to investigate the incident.
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) August 4, 2021
Beyer Lauds Vaccine Mandate for Feds — “Requiring vaccinations for the full federal workforce is the right thing to do for the health of the workforce and the nation they serve. Including all civilian federal employees and contractors in this mandate is huge, it will mean this covers a very large number of workers. This policy rightly prioritizes federal workers’ health.” [Press Release]
No Mask Mandate in Va. So Far — “Virginia recommends that even vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in certain circumstances, but with different locations experiencing different levels of COVID-19 transmission, the state has stopped short of issuing a mandate.” [Tysons Reporter]
Mask Mandates for Pentagon and D.C. — “Effective immediately, the Department of Defense has ordered that masks must be worn at all Pentagon facilities, regardless of vaccination status.” “Masks will again be required indoors in D.C. beginning Saturday, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser ordered, in a reversal of recent policy driven by new federal guidelines that recommend indoor masking in areas where coronavirus transmission is high.” [InsideNova, Washington Post]
Reports of Sick Birds Decreasing — “After Virginia and other states began receiving reports of a mysterious illness sickening or killing birds in late May, reports are starting to go down. However, the cause of the birds’ illness and deaths remains unknown.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources provided the update on the bird mortality event Wednesday.” [Patch]
Bus Bay Closures Start Sunday — “To make way for the Ballston-MU Multimodal Improvements Project, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) will be temporarily closing several Metrobus bays near the Metrorail station. Starting Sunday, bus bays A,B,C,D, and J will be closed, which will impact a number of Metrobus routes. The changes will also cause many detours as the buses alter their routes to access the new bays.” [Patch]
Local Diver Wins Another Title — “A triple-crown high-school diving champion from the winter season has added another title to her 2021 resume. Dominion Hills diver Ellie Joyce won the oldest-age senior girls age group with a 227.75 point total at the Divisional 4 championships of the Northern Virginia Swimming League. During the high-school campaign as a sophomore for Washington-Liberty, Joyce won Liberty District, 6D North Region and Class 6 state championships for the Generals.” [Sun Gazette]