(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Arlington County Police say there was no shooting last night in Ballston, just a panic caused by a single juvenile male.
In a press release Sunday morning, ACPD said the boy walked into a movie theater playing IT Chapter 2 at Ballston Quarter mall and shouted about a shooter. There was no mass shooting, just a mass panic and a mass exodus from the mall as dozens of police and emergency responders swarmed the area.
“As word of the incident spread, patrons from all areas of the Ballston Quarter began to self-evacuate,” police said. “One individual suffered a minor injury while self-evacuating from the building and was transported by medics to an area hospital for treatment.”
Police searched the theater and the mall well into the night, encountering some patrons who had locked themselves into back rooms or even freezers. They did not find evidence of any violence.
Mall customers and employees were left standing outside the cordoned-off block around the mall, with personal property still inside the building and cars parked in the closed parking garage, which did not reopen until after midnight.
UPDATE: Police are opening the garage. Citizens can access their vehicles. Those who left property in the food hall area of the Quarter can retrieve it now outside True Food Kitchen.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 15, 2019
Police say items left inside businesses should be retrieved from those businesses, while property left inside the Quarter Market food hall can now be claimed by calling the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.
More from the ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department completed a thorough investigation and determined that no shooting occurred at the Ballston Quarter on the evening of September 14, 2019.
At approximately 8:38 p.m., police were dispatched to multiple emergency calls reporting a possible shooter inside the movie theater at the Ballston Quarter located at 4238 Wilson Boulevard. Upon police arrival, the theater was placed under shelter in place status while a systematic search of the entire Ballston Quarter was initiated. The search concluded with negative results and no evidence of a shooting or any victims of a shooting were located.
The preliminary investigation suggests that an unknown juvenile male entered a theater playing the movie ‘IT Chapter Two’ and shouted that there was a shooter, causing patrons to run from the theater yelling for people to call 9-1-1. As word of the incident spread, patrons from all areas of the Ballston Quarter began to self-evacuate. One individual suffered a minor injury while self-evacuating from the building and was transported by medics to an area hospital for treatment.
Patrons who left personal property inside of Ballston Quarter businesses during the incident should claim their property through the individual businesses. Those who left property in the public food hall area of the Ballston Quarter should call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 to facilitate retrieval of their items at the Police Department, located at 1425 North Courthouse Road.
This remains an active investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington County Police responded en masse to an incident at the Ballston Quarter mall Saturday night.
In a 8:50 p.m. emergency alert, Arlington County described the incident as a “possible shooting.” Initial reports suggest a panic at the Regal Cinemas movie theater after a group of teens started shouting about an active shooter.
No evidence of a shooting was found, though police continued to search the theater throughout the night.
On Sunday morning, police said one juvenile male shouted about a shooter during a movie, leading to the panic. No shooting actually occurred, police confirmed.
The panic prompted people to flee and hide, though many sheltered in place in the theaters. In the Quarter Market food hall, below the mall, police responded to a report of people who had locked themselves in freezers. Some neighboring businesses including the Shake Shack across the street locked their doors while customers sought shelter.
One person suffered a minor injury as the mall was evacuated, police said.
Speaking to reporters, a group of Yorktown High School students who were watching IT Chapter 2 in the theater said the screen suddenly went blank and officers entered the theater, saying they were investigating a possible active shooteriVideo shows the students and other patrons walking out of the theater with their hands above their head, at the direction of police.
“It was scarier than the actual movie,” one teen said.
Another video, taken from across the street from the mall shortly after the initial report of a shooter, shows people running from the mall as sirens blared.
The panic spread as police responded to at least two other reports of armed suspects along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.
Around 9:15 p.m., numerous officers responded to the Uncle Julio’s restaurant in Ballston for an unconfirmed report of either a man with a gun or an active shooting. Scanner traffic later suggested that it was actually an angry customer, not a shooting.
Earlier, police also responded to the Clarendon Trader Joe’s for a report of a man with a gun and body armor. A suspect was detained but later released after an investigation determined he was legally open carrying a gun, a police spokeswoman said.
The U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter could be seen flying overhead Ballston during the incident, assisting with the search for any possible suspects, but was later cleared to return to D.C. Park Police, Metro Transit Police, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police, the Federal Protective Service and Falls Church Police were among the law enforcement agencies that responded to the initial shooting reports with ACPD.
Roads around the mall are blocked by police. Officers have cleared crowds of pedestrians from outside the front of the mall, though many — including large groups of mall employees — were still standing along Wilson Blvd on either side of the mall more than an hour after the first 911 call.
There is no timetable for the mall, its parking garage and the roads around the mall reopening, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow shortly after 10 p.m., noting that officers were still conducting a “thorough” search of the building.
UPDATE: The preliminary search of the theater has completed. All individuals sheltering in place have been evacuated. Police remain on scene investigating and a police helicopter is assisting. No evidence of a shooting has been located.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 15, 2019
UPDATE: Police continue to conduct a search of the Ballston Quarter building. One individual suffered a minor injury while self evacuating the building and was transported to an area hospital. No other injuries reported.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 15, 2019
— Jason Surbey (@JasonSurbey) September 15, 2019
— Darcy Spencer (@darcyspencer) September 15, 2019
INCIDENT: Possible Shooting
LOCATION:4238 Wilson Bl – Ballston Common Mall
IMPACT: Police are on the scene of a possible shooting inside of the mall. Avoid the area.
— Arlington Alert (@arlingtonalert) September 15, 2019
Thank you @ArlingtonVaPD for working hard tonight as you always do to ensure the safety of our community.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) September 15, 2019
Video (top) courtesy Gibson L. Video (below) courtesy Naki Mendoza. Screenshot via @JasonSurbey/Twitter.
GMU to Expand Va. Square Campus — “George Mason University wants to transform its Arlington campus into an ‘innovation district’ as it kicks off an Amazon-inspired overhaul… Mason expects to use the expansion to add 3,000 to 4,000 graduate students to the campus by 2024.” [Washington Business Journal]
Man Arrested For Assaulting Police in Ballston — “At approximately 8:32 p.m. on September 11, police were dispatched the report of a disorderly subject inside a restaurant who had allegedly been throwing items and threatening staff. Upon police arrival, the business staff requested the subject be banned from the property. While speaking with the subject, he threatened an officer and took a defensive stance. While placing him under arrest, the subject became combative, kicked and spit at the officers.” [Arlington County]
Home Inventory Tight in Arlington — “New listings in Arlington declined 16.5% in August compared with last year, said Chris Finnegan, vice president at Bright MLS. The median sale price for all home types in the 22202 ZIP code, where Amazon is building and staffing up HQ2, was $749,000 in August. It’s a 23% jump since the company made its HQ2 announcement in November 2018.” [Washington Business Journal, InsideNova]
Tech Company Picks Arlington for U.S. HQ — ” Varjo, the technology leader in industrial-grade VR/XR headsets, today announced the opening of its U.S. headquarters… in Arlington, Virginia, located just outside of Washington D.C.” [Varjo via Potomac Tech Wire]
Potomac Kempo Now Open — Martial arts studio Potomac Kempo yesterday held a grand opening ceremony for its fifth location, at 3650 S. Glebe Road, in the Potomac Yard area. The studio started holding classes on Aug. 31, we’re told. [Facebook]
Video: USS Arlington Crew Welcomed at Fire Station — “Crew members from the USS Arlington were welcomed at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 before running in the The Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race. The USS Arlington honors the 184 victims and the thousands of emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and localities in the National Capital Region who provided critical emergency assistance after the attack on 9/11.” [YouTube]
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A man has been arrested in connection with an overnight shooting along Columbia Pike.
The shooting happened just before 1 a.m., outside a business on the 3100 block of Columbia Pike. Initial reports suggest the man was shot in the abdomen and rushed to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. As of 4 p.m. today, police said the victim was in “critical but stable condition.”
“The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. Police are utilizing the assistance of a helicopter to search for the suspect,” police said via social media, shortly after the shooting. “Suspect described as [a black male], 20s with skinny build wearing dark clothing. Expect police activity in the area.”
Aaron Steele, 29, was arrested and charged with aggravated malicious wounding, shooting in the commission of a felony, and aggravated malicious shooting, the Arlington County Police Department announced Thursday afternoon.
“During the course of the investigation, officers developed a possible suspect description based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews,” said ACPD in the afternoon press release. “A lookout was broadcast and a patrol officer traveling in the area of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike observed the suspect on foot and took him into custody without incident.”
The suspect was also charged with violating a protective order and firing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school — roughly the same distance the Arlington Career Center is from the scene of the shooting.
The Pike was closed between S. Glebe Road and Walter Reed Drive for an extended period of time after the shooting, according to WTOP.
As of 9:30 a.m. detectives were still on scene, canvassing the parking lot of Purple Lounge (3111 Columbia Pike). Discarded medical supplies could be seen along the sidewalk near the parking lot.
The full police press release is below.
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect for his role in an early morning shooting on Columbia Pike. Aaron Steele, 29, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Shooting in the Commission of a Felony, Aggravated Malicious Shooting, Discharging a Firearm within 1,000 feet of a School, Use of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony and Violation of a Protective Order. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.
At approximately 12:48 a.m. on September 12, police were dispatched to the 3100 block of Columbia Pike for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male in the roadway suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately began rendering aid. The victim was transported by medics to an area hospital where he is listed in critical but stable condition.
During the course of the investigation, officers developed a possible suspect description based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews. A lookout was broadcast and a patrol officer traveling in the area of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike observed the suspect on foot and took him into custody without incident.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect and victim are known to one another and that a dispute preceded the shooting. This is an isolated incident and there is no evidence of any continued threat to the community.
This incident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected]. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Airey contributed to this report
Ovi Visits Local Elementary School — “In conjunction with the launch of Ovi O’s, Alex Ovechkin’s limited-edition breakfast cereal, the Washington Capitals’ captain surprised Arlington Traditional School, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and a local Giant store with a visit on Sept. 10.” [NHL]
9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Courthouse — “Officials in Northern Virginia held a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Sen Tim Kaine, Rep. Don Beyer, military commanders, local Arlington County officials and members of the Virginia House attended the remembrance ceremony on Arlington County government plaza.” [NBC 4, WUSA 9]
Local Leaders Set Housing Goals — “Local governments around Greater Washington now plan to set targets for housing production over the next decade, as part of a regional initiative to build 320,000 new homes by 2030 and ease the region’s cost pressures.” [Washington Business Journal, Twitter]
ACPD Plans ‘Coffee With a Cop’ — “Wednesday, October 2 is National Coffee with a Cop Day and the Arlington County Police Department is hosting four events with our Community Outreach Teams to celebrate. Community members are invited to join police at these informal events to ask questions, voice concerns, get to know their neighbors, interact with the Community Outreach Teams and meet officers from other sections of the department.” [Arlington County]
Orthopaedic Office Celebrates Grand Opening — “Ortho OIC Orthopaedic Immediate Care, the area’s first independent orthopaedic specialty urgent care… will be holding a grand opening event on September 19 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The event is open to the public and will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony.” [Press Release]
Farewell, Subway-Centric Paper — “The Washington Post is closing down its free daily commuter paper, Express, this week. The final edition of Express will be published on Thursday. The staff learned of the news at a meeting at noon on Wednesday.” [DCist]
A 55-year-old Arlington woman has died after being struck by a driver in the Williamsburg neighborhood last week.
The woman succumbed to her injuries yesterday, police said. The investigation into the pedestrian crash near Nottingham Elementary School is continuing but so far the driver of the striking vehicle has not been charged.
More from Arlington County Police:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team (CAT) continues to investigate a now fatal pedestrian crash that occurred on Wednesday, September 4, at the intersection of Little Falls Road and North Ohio Street.
At approximately 8:17 p.m., police responded to the area for the report of crash with injury involving a pedestrian. Officers and medics arrived on scene and located the female victim suffering from serious injuries and immediately began to render aid.
The pedestrian, a 55 year old female of Arlington, Va., was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on September 10.
The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim was crossing Little Falls Road in the crosswalk, when she was hit by the oncoming vehicle, which was travelling westbound on Little Falls Road. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. The investigation into this crash remains ongoing and no charges have been sought at this time.
Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or has additional information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective B. Ames at [email protected] or 703-228-7303. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
Arlington 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony — “The County’s wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Bozman Government Center. A moment of silence will be held at 9:37 a.m., the moment when the plane struck the Pentagon and 184 lives were lost.” [Arlington County, Press Release]
Stabbing in Boulevard Manor — “ACPD responded to a domestic violence incident in which a woman was reported stabbed in a home in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood around 11:30 a.m. [Tuesday]. She’s expected to be okay. Police are not releasing additional details, to protect the victim’s identity, per spokeswoman.” [Twitter]
ACPD Considering Ring Doorbell Partnership — “The Arlington County Police Department appears likely to become the fourth Greater Washington law enforcement agency to sign a partnership with Ring Inc., a doorbell-camera company owned by Amazon.com Inc., despite internal concerns over privacy and racial profiling.” [Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Jumps in Rankings — “Great news — Marymount has jumped more than 20 spots in the rankings for top Regional Universities in the South, according to the 2020 Best Colleges Rankings from @usnews!” [Marymount University, Twitter]
Arlington Visitor Spending Keeps Rising — “Arlington visitors spent a record $3.4 billion in 2018, a 4.3 percent increase over 2017, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending since 2009. Tourism generated nearly $94 million in local tax receipts, benefiting County programs and services, as well as state tax receipts of nearly $127 million.” [Arlington County]
Rosslyn Neighbor Drama Does Federal — “A former analyst for the FBI admitted Tuesday to copying the private emails of a conservative conspiracy theorist and sharing them with his superiors while his wife offered them to the press… Tolson, who has left the FBI, agreed to forfeit two phones and two computers and avoid contact with Burkman, his neighbor in Arlington. He was released on bond until sentencing on Dec. 20.” [Washington Post]
Hoskins Wants ‘Innovation Campus’ in Fairfax — “As one of the lead negotiators involved in bringing Amazon.com Inc. to Arlington County, Victor Hoskins also helped Alexandria land Virginia Tech’s new ‘Innovation Campus’ — and now that he’s changed jobs, he wants to help Fairfax County do the same.” [Washington Business Journal]
Thieves burglarized a house in Arlington’s Madison Manor neighborhood Sunday night, terrorizing a family that was inside the home at time.
The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. this past Sunday, on the 1100 block of N. Powhatan Street.
A man inside the home was able to chase off the suspects, but not before they stole some items and a family car. Police are now searching for the vehicle and the suspects.
More from an Arlington County Police crime report:
BURGLARY, 2019-09080227, 1100 block of N. Powhatan Street. At approximately 11:33 p.m. on September 8, police were dispatched to the report of a breaking and entering just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspects gained entry to a residence and began rummaging through items. A female victim heard noise originating from within the home, observed two individuals outside the residence and notified the male victim. The male victim located a suspect inside the residence, confronted him and a brief struggle ensued. The suspect was able to flee the residence and steal the victim’s vehicle, a silver 2013 Ford Escape bearing Virginia license plate VKG7321, and personal property. No injuries were reported. The suspect is described as a dark-skinned black male in his late teens wearing dark clothing. The investigation is ongoing.
A woman identifying herself as one of the victims told ARLnow that her family was terrified during the encounter, which she described as a home invasion-style incident.
“Two intruders entered our home via main-level windows at 1130 p.m.,” she said via email. “One daughter heard noises outside and downstairs, saw men on the street out her window with our car doors open, called dad and sister to alert them in other parts of house — and called 911.”
“The men entered the house through back windows, went down to the basement where our other daughter was by herself, she jumped up and hid in the bathroom,” she continued. “Dad came down and chased them off. They had already taken a set of car keys from the kitchen and they drove off in our car. Everyone’s okay. Missing wallets, iPads, old iPhones, laptop… and car.”
News of the crime has spread quickly on local Nextdoor neighborhood forums, amid a series of mostly vehicle break-ins in northern Arlington neighborhoods.
“The spate of car break-ins (or entry to unlocked cars) in North Arlington has escalated,” the burglary victim write. “Seems like neighborhoods with quick access to I-66 are being targeted. Another car was stolen in the East Falls Church area the same night. Our car keys were tracked to Washington, D.C. yesterday via a Tile on key ring where the other car was located but unfortunately neither car was recovered at that time.”
Police are continuing to remind residents to lock their cars and homes at night, as part of a new initiative dubbed the 9 p.m. Routine. Sunday’s burglary victim urged fellow residents to do just that.
“Don’t just lock your car doors, lock your house doors and windows too,” she said.
Shooting Suspect Arraigned — “The man charged with shooting a woman he knew in her Crystal City, Virginia, office on Aug. 28 has had his first court appearance in Arlington County District Court. Mumeet Muhammad was arraigned on three felony counts: aggravated malicious wounding; use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, 2nd offense; and being a violent felon in possession of a weapon.” [WTOP]
Coastal Flooding Discussion — “The Northern Virginia Coastal Storm Risk Management Study will focus on sites in Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, northern Prince William County, and at the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority’s Reagan National Airport–as part of an effort to reduce coastal flood risk to people, properties, and infrastructure.” [MWCOG]
ACPD Wins State Award — “The Arlington County Police Department received top honors in the Municipal 5: 301-600 Officers Category in the 2019 Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge Awards.” [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Lonely Turkey Vulture — “Hallmark doesn’t have a card for it – yet – but the first Saturday of September nonetheless is celebrated as International Vulture Awareness Day. And in Arlington, that means a visit to Long Branch Nature Center and Tippy the resident turkey vulture.” [InsideNova]
Nearby: Falls Church Sheriff Vehicle Burns — “At approximately 6 a.m., City of Falls Church Police and the Arlington Fire Department responded to a call for a vehicle fire at City Hall… The vehicle was a marked Sheriff’s cruiser and was totaled in the blaze. An officer near the scene stopped a suspicious person for questioning, and subsequently arrested him.” [City of Falls Church]
Water Main Break Near Courthouse — Updated at 8:10 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a 3-inch main at 2000 N. Adams St. The area includes high-rise buildings and some 100 customers could be affected. Traffic is detoured around the work site.” [Twitter]
Gun, Drug Arrest at Pentagon City Metro — A man is facing a litany of gun and drug-related charges after being arrested by Metro Transit Police officers for alleged fare evasion at the Pentagon City station this past Thursday. [Twitter]
APS Hits Full Bus Driver Staffing — “The school year began with full staffing of drivers and bus attendants, who serve 18,000 eligible students over 154 routes, using 200 buses.” [InsideNova]
DCA Starbucks Closing Permanently — “Beginning on or about Monday, September 9, Starbucks on the Ticketing level of Terminal B/C will close to make way for construction of a steel-framed glass divider.” [Reagan National Airport]
Nearby: Alexandria Metro Stations Reopening — “Alexandria Metrorail stations will reopen at 5 a.m. on September 9, with full service following Metro’s summer Platform Improvement Project. Metro closed all four Metrorail stations in Alexandria (as well as two in Fairfax County) for safety repairs on May 25.” [City of Alexandria]
Update on 9/11/19 — The victim has succumbed to her injuries, police say.
Earlier: A woman suffered critical injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood last night, police say.
The pedestrian crash happened around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Ohio Street, near Nottingham Elementary School.
“Police were dispatched to the report of a pedestrian-involved crash,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Kirby Clark. “The pedestrian, an adult female, was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.”
Clark said the driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. ACPD’s Critical Accident Team is investigating the crash.
The victim, whose name and age were not released, remains in critical condition in a local hospital as of noon Thursday, according to Clark. The woman was walking three dogs at the time of the crash, one of which died at a local animal hospital and another of which was injured, she said.
On a neighborhood listserv, a local resident noted that the scene was just steps from where a local mother was struck and killed by a passing truck in 2014.
“It’s been ANOTHER accident waiting to happen!” the resident wrote of the intersection, which is only a 2-way stop . “The children on my block, including my own, saw this poor woman bleeding in the road. I don’t want them or any of us to have to see this again.”
Map via Google Maps