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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30th Street S. and S. Abingdon Street (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Police swarmed the Fairlington neighborhood Friday afternoon after a car chase came to an end near Abingdon Elementary.

Virginia State Police troopers were chasing suspects in a stolen vehicle when the vehicle sped into Fairlington and then crashed, according to police.

“ACPD is assisting [VSP] with the search for three suspects who fled on foot from a stolen vehicle at S. Abingdon Street and 30th Street S.,” Arlington police said via Twitter shortly before 3:45 p.m. “Expect continued police activity in the area.”

The elementary school, which had already dismissed for the day but still had some teachers inside, according to a tipster, was quickly placed in “secure the building mode,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.

On a neighborhood Facebook group, a resident said she saw what happened.

“Happened right in front of me,” she wrote. “I was walking down Abingdon Street. Car was speeding chased by 2 police cars. Car made a sharp turn onto 30th and crashed into a parked car. Two people — looked like teenagers — got out and ran. Third person ran a different direction so I didn’t see.”

“I shudder to think what could have happened if this was just a bit earlier at school dismissal time,” the resident added.

The Fairfax County police helicopter was called in to help search for the suspects. As of 4:15 p.m., police started breaking down the perimeter they had previously established as part of the search and the school’s security stance was lifted, according to scanner traffic.

The suspects remain at large, according to a Virginia State Police spokeswoman, who recounted the series of events that led to the chase ending in Fairlington.

“At 3:17 p.m. Friday, a Virginia State Police trooper was alerted to a Toyota Camry that had been reported stolen traveling south on I-395 near Exit 4,” VSP’s Corinne Geller tells ARLnow. “When the trooper activated his emergency lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop, the vehicle refused to stop and sped away. A pursuit was initiated.”

“The stolen vehicle took Exit 4 and entered… Arlington. The driver of the Toyota lost control and the vehicle ran off the road and struck a light pole at S. Abingdon Street and 30th Street S.,” Geller continued. “The driver and two passengers fled on foot. A search perimeter was established and, with the assistance of Arlington police, a search was conducted in the area for the three males. None [were] located. The search was discontinued.”

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Morning Notes

Man Convicted of Crystal City Shooting — “A convicted murderer has been found guilty on four charges for shooting and wounding his ex-girlfriend in her Arlington, Virginia, office in 2019. Mumeet Muhammad forced his way into the woman’s office, in the 1500 block of Crystal Drive in Crystal City, and shot the woman on Aug. 28, 2019. Muhammad also was shot by police.” [WTOP]

Body Found Near Roosevelt Island — “A death investigation was underway Wednesday after a body was found in the Potomac River, D.C. police said.  Authorities said the body was found in the water between Teddy Roosevelt Island and the Virginia shoreline under the footbridge pedestrians use to access the island… Officials with knowledge of the investigation said the body was heavily decomposed.” [NBC 4, Twitter]

GW Parkway Chase Leads to Lawsuit — “A D.C. police captain sued the District on Tuesday, alleging he was retaliated against after trying to stop a high-speed pursuit last month that ended with a car overturning on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, causing injuries and bringing rush-hour traffic to a halt.” [Washington Post]

Task Force: Expand County, School Boards — “Increasing the size of the Arlington County Board and School Board by at least two members is among the recommendations of the Arlington County Civic Federation’s task force on local governance, which on April 12 delivered the first of what are expected to be two sets of proposals to be voted on by the organization in June.” [Sun Gazette]

PSA: Steer Clear of River Near Chain Bridge — From D.C. Fire and EMS: “The river knows no boundaries. All this holds true for the District. One slip off the rocks can lead to a fall into a deceptively calm looking river actually laden with treacherous currents and hidden rocks that quickly pull you under. Especially the case around Chain Bridge.” [Twitter]

Lease Change Scores Big Bucks for County — “Arlington County Board members on that date voted 5-0 to support a change in technical aspects of the lease that guides the relationship between the county government, which owns substantial parcels in the Courthouse area, and the developer JBG Smith, which holds ground leases and owns the buildings on some of those very same parcels… By making the changes, which staff say carry little risk to the county government or taxpayers, the Arlington government coffers would receive somewhere in the area of $10 million to $12 million in a one-time payment from JBG Smith.” [Sun Gazette]

ARLnow Article Confuses Chicago Suburbanites — From the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Police Department: “The incident was reported by Virginia news outlets with the headline ‘Barricade situation in Arlington Heights.’ News reports were then shared on social media using the #ArlingtonHeights. We understand this created some confusion and concern for our residents. The Arlington Heights Police Department would like to clarify the above incident occurred in Arlington County, Virginia.” [Facebook]

It’s Thursday — Rain and storms in the afternoon and evening. Southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. High of 76 and low of 59. Sunrise at 6:34 am and sunset at 7:45 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated on 4/12/22) A man and two juveniles were taken into custody today after a robbery and a carjacking in Arlington, and a car chase on I-395.

The crime spree started around 1 a.m. Sunday, for a reported robbery and attempted carjacking near the Westin hotel in Ballston.

“At approximately 1:00 a.m. on April 10, police were dispatched to the 800 block of N. Glebe Road for the report of a robbery by force,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “The victim was inside his parked vehicle when the three unknown suspects approached. The suspects opened the vehicle’s doors, struck the [victim] and stole his wallet and credit cards. When the victim exited the vehicle, the suspects entered and attempted to steal the vehicle, however, it had become immobilized.”

“The suspects then fled the scene on foot,” Savage added. “The victim declined medical attention.”

Just a few minutes later, a block or so away from the original crime scene, the same three suspects carjacked two people inside a parked car.

“At approximately 1:03 a.m. on April 10, police were dispatched to N. Vermont Street at N. Tazewell Street for the report of a stolen vehicle,” Savage said. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the two victims were inside their parked vehicle when the three suspects approached, opened the driver’s door and demanded the victims exit. The suspects then fled the scene in the stolen vehicle.”

Three hours after that, Virginia State Police spotted the stolen vehicle on I-395 in Fairfax County and started to chase it.

“At approximately 4:00 a.m., officers were notified that Virginia State Police had initiated a pursuit of the vehicle on I-395 in Fairfax County,” said Savage. “Arlington officers joined the pursuit once it entered Arlington County. The driver disregarded all commands to stop and fled into Washington D.C.”

The chase was caught on camera by public safety watchdog Dave Statter, from his perch in Pentagon City.

The suspects were eventually able to elude police, but the carjacked vehicle was spotted again by D.C. police later Sunday morning.

According to multiple reports, three suspects were taken into custody after the vehicle crashed, following a chase through parts of D.C. and Prince George’s County. The reports also suggest that two other people were in the car at the time of the crash.

Savage confirmed that one adult suspect is facing multiple charges, while “petitions… are pending” for two juvenile suspects.

“The Metropolitan Police Department later located the stolen vehicle and detained the vehicle’s occupants,” Savage said. “As a result of the investigation, detectives obtained warrants for the adult suspect for Conspiracy to commit carjacking (x2), Carjacking (x2) and Robbery.”

The man was later identified by police as 21-year-old Laysohn Jones of Suitland, Maryland.

This was the third carjacking in Arlington over the past week, and the fourth so far this year. A total of eight carjackings were reported in 2021, according to ACPD.

The carjacking that happened this past Wednesday morning involved three suspects and took place near N. Glebe Road, just south of Ballston, in the Buckingham neighborhood.

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A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A young man in a carjacked Honda is facing charges after police stopped him from fleeing just before crossing a bridge into D.C.

Video of the Saturday morning incident shows police performing a PIT maneuver on the Honda as it’s being pursued in the I-395 Express Lanes, causing the car to spin and crash. It’s relatively rare for police to employ the technique in the immediate D.C. area due to safety concerns.

The video, courtesy of Dave Statter, is below.

Though Arlington County police could be seen in pursuit, it appears that a Virginia State Police trooper was the one who made contact with the fleeing car before it entered the District’s jurisdiction, which typically requires pursuing Arlington or VSP officers to call off the chase.

The Arlington County Police Department said that the pursuit started on Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City, about a block from Amazon’s under-construction HQ2.

“At approximately 10:49 a.m. on February 26, officers observed two subjects enter a parked vehicle that had been reported stolen during a carjacking in Maryland,” ACPD said in a crime report today. “Stop sticks were deployed and officers activated their emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver continued to flee onto the NB I-395 Express Lanes.”

“A vehicle pursuit was initiated and, with assistance by Virginia State Police, the suspect vehicle was stopped and both occupants were detained,” the crime report continues. “During a search of the driver, a firearm was recovered.”

The 18-year-old driver from Capitol Heights, Maryland “was transported to an area hospital and once medically cleared, arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Goods, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Eluding and No Driver’s License,” according to police. “He was held on no bond.”

Separately, a person selling a car in the Arlington Forest neighborhood was carjacked during a test drive Sunday afternoon. Police say the person taking the test drive pulled out a gun and stole the victim’s car, phone and wallet.

From the ACPD crime report:

CARJACKING, 2022-02270120, Unit block of N. Columbus Street. At approximately 12:35 p.m. on February 27, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and victim met for the prearranged sale of a vehicle. During a test drive of the vehicle, the suspect brandished a firearm, threatened the victim and demanded his property. The victim was able to exit the vehicle before the suspect fled the scene in the stolen vehicle with the victim’s cell phone and wallet. The victim was not injured. The suspect is described as a Black male, approximate 25 – 35 years old, 5’8″ – 5’10” tall with black hair and brown eyes. The stolen vehicle is described as a gray 2012 Nissan Maxima. The investigation is ongoing.

A patient reportedly suffering a mental health crisis overpowered a Butler Ambulance crew at a Montgomery County hospital and took it on a wild ride followed by police cars from several jurisdictions.

The pursuit eventually ended in Arlington, near the Pentagon, after more than 30 minutes.

It started the Maryland hospital around 2:40 a.m. when the patient started wrestling with the crew. He overpowered them and sped off with the strobe lights activated and the rear doors wide open.

The man traveled at modest speeds ranging between 55 and 65 mph while driving the ambulance on the major roads to reach I-270 and then the Beltway, according to scanner traffic.

For much of the trip he was reportedly on the phone with the Montgomery County 911 center. The operators urged him to pull over, but he refused. He continued driving on the Beltway, across the Potomac into Virginia, before turning onto I-66.

Finally, around 3:15 a.m., the man brought the ambulance to a stop in the area of Washington Boulevard and Route 110, adjacent to the Pentagon reservation, and was taken into custody by Arlington County police without further incident.

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An employee at a local McDonald’s was beat up over an incorrect order last night.

The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. Monday on the 5000 block of Wilson Blvd, in Arlington’s Bluemont neighborhood, west of Ballston.

Police say they were dispatched to “the report of a dispute at a business” when they spotted a vehicle matching the description of a vehicle involved in the dispute. They were trying to pull the car over, at the busy intersection of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd in Ballston, when “the driver accelerated and proceeded through two red lights before coming to a stop.”

“The passenger, Suspect Two, then attempted to flee on foot but was located by officers and taken into custody,” said the Arlington County Police Department, in a crime report this afternoon “The driver, Suspect One, remained in the vehicle and was taken into custody.”

According to ACPD, the incident stemmed from an incorrect order the suspects received at a restaurant drive-thru.

“The investigation determined that the two suspects had become involved in a verbal dispute with an employee after receiving an incorrect order through the drive-thru,” said the police department. “Suspect One allegedly threw a water bottle through the window, before parking the vehicle and entering the business. Suspect One continued the dispute with the employee before the two suspects began physically assaulting and striking the employee.”

The employee was taken to a local hospital with what are described by police as non-life threatening injuries. Though ACPD generally does not name businesses that are victims of crimes, the only late-night drive-thru on that block of Wilson Blvd is the McDonald’s.

The suspects who were arrested, a man and a woman, are both in their mid-20s.

The woman, a D.C. resident whose first name is Justice, is charged with Malicious Wounding and Eluding Police. She was previously convicted of petty larceny in Arlington in 2018 and had her entire sentence suspended, but never paid the fine, according to court records.

The man, a resident of Capitol Heights, Maryland, is charged with Assault and Battery and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. His previous felony conviction was not in Arlington.

Both suspects are set to be in court for a bail hearing tomorrow.

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Morning Notes

Demolition almost complete on Central Methodist Central Church in Ballston (photo courtesy Dale Reisfield)

Water Main Break Repaired in Courthouse — A significant water main break on N. Courthouse Road, near Arlington police headquarters, was repaired in less than 24 hours by county crews over the weekend, after shutting down the road for an extended period of time. [Twitter, Twitter]

Pentagon City Apartment Building Sold — “The Millennium at Metropolitan Park — an apartment building located directly across from where Amazon.com Inc.’s first HQ2 buildings are under construction in Pentagon City — is under new ownership. Affiliates of D.C.’s The UIP Cos. Inc. and Hawthorne, New Jersey’s Churchill Living have purchased the 19-story, 300-unit building located at 1330 S. Fair St. from New York-based Clarion Partners LLC in a deal that closed Thursday.” [Washington Business Journal]

Driver Eludes ACPD on Four Flats — From Dave Statter: “Caught on video: An unusual @ArlingtonVaPD pursuit of a stolen car. While it was through heavy I-395 traffic it was low speed. The car had 4 flats thanks to police spikes.” [Twitter]

It’s Monday — Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 37. Sunrise at 7:20 a.m. and sunset at 5:21 p.m. Tomorrow there is a slight chance of rain showers after 1 p.m., mixing with snow after 4 p.m. Otherwise, mostly cloudy with a high near 43. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 6:15 p.m.) Four people have been taken into custody after a police pursuit through Pentagon City.

Initial reports suggested that police were trying to pull over two suspects in a white SUV near the Fashion Centre mall. The SUV had at least one flat tire, possibly flattened by officers using “stop sticks,” but refused to stop.

The driver, struggling to control the SUV due to the flat tire or tires, reportedly took a sudden detour through the Harris Teeter parking lot with police trailing behind.

A traffic camera showed the SUV exiting the parking lot onto Army Navy Drive, near the mall garage entrance, followed by multiple police cruisers. Arlington County police have a policy against giving chase except in certain circumstances, but officers radioed to the dispatch center that they were merely following the swerving SUV at a rate of speed below the speed limit.

The SUV could be seen turning onto S. Hayes Street, and shortly thereafter its occupants fled on foot. One person ran through the mall, with officers in pursuit, before being taken into custody in the parking garage on the food court level, according to scanner traffic. Officers told dispatchers that they subsequently recovered two guns.

Many of those details were confirmed in an account of the incident provided to ARLnow. From Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

At approximately 3:41 p.m. on November 23, police were alerted to a possibly stolen vehicle in the area of the 800 block of Army Navy Drive. Officers located the parked, unoccupied vehicle and confirmed its status as stolen. Five subjects subsequently returned to the vehicle and police attempted to stop them. Two subjects were detained without incident, one subject fled on foot, and two subjects fled in the vehicle. Officers deployed stop sticks, causing the rear tires of the vehicle to deflate, however the driver continued to travel at a low rate of speed around the area. Arlington County Police did not pursue the vehicle. With the assistance of Virginia State Police, the vehicle was stopped at 12th Street S. and S. Hayes Street and the driver of the vehicle was taken into custody without incident. The passenger fled on foot and officers initiated a brief foot pursuit before taking the subject into custody without further incident. One subject remains outstanding. During the investigation, two firearms were recovered. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

At least one vehicle was reported to have been struck while the suspects made their attempted getaway, though at this point it’s unclear where.

Southbound S. Hayes Street in front of the mall was partially blocked by the police activity after the incident.

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(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Expect heavy traffic on the southbound GW Parkway just after Spout Run due to a crash following a police pursuit.

Initial reports suggest that Virginia State Police troopers chased a fleeing suspect in a Dodge up the Spout Run Parkway and then back down onto the southbound lanes of the Parkway, when the suspect crashed.

Arlington medics were requested to the scene to evaluate possible minor injuries.

Numerous police cruisers were still on scene of the crash as of 5:30 p.m. The wreck appeared to involve the red Dodge, which ran up an embankment on the right ride of the Parkway, and a second non-police vehicle, which had its airbags deployed after crashing into the left-hand stone wall.

One center lane of traffic was squeezing by the police response. As of 5:45 p.m. Google Maps shows traffic on the Parkway backed up to Route 123 in McLean.

Map via Google Maps

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Virginia State Police troopers engage in a chase on I-395 earlier this month (via Dave Statter/Twitter)

It’s been a common occurrence lately, documented by public safety watchdog Dave Statter: Virginia State Police engage in high-speed chases on I-395 but abandon them at the D.C. line.

That’s because VSP’s loose restrictions for initiating a chase tighten when troopers reach state lines.

“Sworn employees may initiate a pursuit when a driver fails to stop after the sworn employee has given a lawful order to stop by activating emergency lights and/or siren,” according to state police chase policy. But anyone being chased for a possible misdemeanor or traffic violation, who manages to reach D.C., is in the clear.

“Unless the violator’s offense is a felony, sworn employees will discontinue pursuit at the state line,” the policy says. “If the violator is being pursued in connection with a felony offense (in addition to felony eluding police), the pursuit may continue into the District of Columbia or any adjoining state except Kentucky with the approval of a supervisor.”

Asked about which types of incidents typically lead to troopers calling things off at the 14th Street Bridge, and which lead to chases continuing into the District, VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller said “there’s no one-size-fits-all answer that I can provide.”

“In accordance with Virginia State Police policy, each pursuit is assessed on a case-by-case basis,” she said. “The trooper and supervisor will assess the pursuit based on the variety of factors that are known and unknown at every stage of the pursuit, which will then determine if/when it is in the best of the interest of the public to terminate a pursuit.”

Sometimes, of course, police are able to stop fleeing drivers before they enter the District. Statter posted video of state police stopping a vehicle and making an arrest with guns drawn on I-395 near the Pentagon this past weekend.

If VSP chases a suspect in Arlington County, local police can and have helped nab suspects, but Arlington County Police Department policy specifies officers can only give chase when there’s a serious crime involved. While both have jurisdiction on state highways in Arlington, VSP predominantly handles enforcement there, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage says.

Arlington officers can only give chase if there is probable cause that a driver or occupant has committed a violent felony or an offense involving the use or threatened use of a firearm, or has warrants on file for either reason. Additionally, ACPD officers can give chase if the pursuit could “abate a danger of a substantial likelihood of death or serious bodily injury,” the policy reads.

When they reach county lines, officers don’t have to stop, but they should consider their “level of familiarity” with the area, per the policy.

While Arlington police will maintain a lookout for a vehicle that flees from them on traffic or minor charges — searching the area without giving chase — the only other recourse in the moment is to notify state police and other local and federal law enforcement agencies.

As for joining other pursuits, the ACPD policy says “officers shall not join in a pursuit initiated by another jurisdiction that enters Arlington County unless the driver or occupant is wanted for any of the above-listed offenses.”

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