Ahmad El-Khatib, 31, was arrested Sunday morning at a friend’s apartment building on the 800 block of N. Randolph Street. Police say El-Khatib had been out with friends in D.C. Saturday night and came back to his friend’s building.
Around 3:40 a.m., a 13-year-old boy who was sleeping in the club room of the building was awakened to find a stranger touching him in appropriately, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The teen immediately fled the room and reported the incident to a family member, who was working as the building’s overnight concierge.
The concierge reviewed surveillance footage and found that the incident had been caught on video, Sternbeck said. Later that morning, when El-Khatib was leaving the building, an employee identified him as the suspect in the video and called police. El-Khatib was arrested on scene, said Sternbeck.
El-Khatib, an Annandale resident, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and is being held without bond.
El-Khatib is listed as the “founding director” of the NUR Center, an Islamic education, recreation and cultural center with locations in Loudoun County and on Carlin Springs Road in Falls Church. The center offers Montessori classes for ages 3-9, along with after school activities for ages 5-12 and youth day and summer camps.
Also on the NUR Center website, El-Khatib is listed as the coach of a martial arts team based at Abingdon Elementary School, in Arlington’s Fairlington community. On his LinkedIn profile, he’s listed as the “program director” of the NUR Center and a company called Arlington Day Camps LLC.
A website for Arlington Day Camps has the following biography for El-Khatib:
Ahmad El-Khatib has directed art, fitness, and enrichment camps in the DMV area for over 10 years. His programs have been offered at Fairfax County Rec Centers, Sport and Health Clubs, Abingdon Elementary, Drew Model School, Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy, and Randolph Elementary. In 2010, he founded the NUR Center, a Montessori School and After-School recreation center for children and adults. His working partnerships with local schools gave him the ability to establish strong relationships with some of the areas most extraordinary teachers. In September 2013, with the support of his staff and community, he established Arlington Day Camps in an effort to provide quality and affordable camps during school holidays and teacher work days.
A phone number listed for El-Khatib went straight to a full voicemail box. An employee at the NUR Center in Loudoun County did not have any information on El-Khatib’s arrest, and an email to the company has not been returned. Attempts to reach Mary El-Khatib, who’s listed as a NUR Center co-founder and a former Arlington Public Schools teacher, were also unsuccessful.
Sandra Bullock Remembers W-L Cheerleader Days — Oscar-winning actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock says her Washington-Lee High School cheerleading uniform still fits like a glove. “That might come in handy some sexy night. I don’t know who I’m saving it for,” she told Glamour magazine. [Daily Mail]
ICE Detainer for Sexual Assault Suspect — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Melvin Bonilla, the suspect in a string of sexual assaults in Arlington. Bonilla was arrested by Arlington County Police yesterday morning. [Fox 5]
Opposition to Homeless Shelter Winds Down — With Arlington’s new Homeless Services Center now open across from police headquarters in Courthouse, nearby residents are apparently starting to acquiesce to their new neighbor. Reports “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “Many neighbors in condos alongside the Courthouse building at 2020 N. 14th St. have rethought their opposition.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Lockdown Drills for Pre-K Students — An Arlington Pre-K teacher reflects on having her students participate in lockdown drills, which would be used in the event of an active shooting situation. The drills are now routine in Arlington elementary schools, the teacher says. [Washington Post]
Library Launches Sci-Fi Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched “Strange Lands,” a science fiction book club that will meet monthly at Java Shack in Courthouse, starting Oct. 21. [Arlington Public Library]
VOICE Launches Voter Outreach Effort — The pro-affordable housing group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is launching a voter outreach effort this fall. VOICE plans to concentrate turnout efforts on two low-turnout precincts: Arlington Mill and Glebe. [InsideNova]
Police say a 19-year-old Arlington man has been arrested and charged with two counts of attempted abduction in connection to at least three sexual assault cases. The man was arrested early this morning and has confessed to multiple attempted sexual assaults, according to police.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department arrested and charged a 19 year-old subject early this morning with two counts of attempted abduction with the intent to defile for his role in multiple sexual assault incidents. Melvin Perez Bonilla, 19, of Arlington, VA is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Bonilla confessed to multiple sexual assault attempts in the county during questioning at police headquarters and is believed to be responsible for a similar attack that occurred in August. Police are awaiting DNA analysis results from the state lab for that incident for confirmation of his involvement.
The initial attack occurred July 25, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Scott Street at approximately 1:20 a.m. as the 25 year-old victim was walking alone in the Clarendon area. A second attack took place August 8, 2015 in the 1900 block of N. Highland Street at approximately 2:45 a.m. as a 29 year-old year victim was walking alone. A third attack occurred on September 29, 2015 in the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street at approximately 10:20 p.m. on a 23 year-old female victim as she was walking home.
The victims in each of these attacks assisted detectives by providing details of the events and the description of their assailant. A composite sketch based upon a victims’ description had previously been released. Detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit and investigators assigned to the Tactical Unit worked with Metro Transit Police to obtain surveillance video and other information to identify the suspect. Tactical Unit officers took Bonilla into custody when they observed him exiting a Metro Bus in the Courthouse area in the early morning hours of October 7, 2015.
“Our officers have taken a dangerous individual off the streets and the community should feel a little safer knowing he is behind bars,” comments Daniel J. Murray, Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations Division for Arlington County Police Department.
Anyone who has information regarding these incidents or concerning Bonilla is asked to call Detective Icolari at 703.228.4240 or email [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Office Vacancy Down in Arlington — Arlington has had a 1.6 percent positive net absorption of commercial office space so far this year. Crystal City in particular has done well, gaining 313,000 square feet of occupancy. [Bisnow]
History Plan for Arlington Centennial — Arlington County is seeking public comment on the mid-term report produced by the Arlington History Task Force. The task force is trying to come up with a plan for preserving Arlington’s history, in time for the county’s centennial in 2020. [Arlington County]
McLean Up in Arms Over Gun Store — Nova Firearms, the gun store that tried unsuccessfully to open a store in Cherrydale, has moved its McLean store to a larger location but is now incurring the wrath of a group of residents. Parents object to the fact that the new store is behind a local elementary school, in view of at least one classroom. [Washington Post]
Gym Responds to String of Sexual Assaults — Responding to a string of attacks on women in Arlington, including a sexual assault near Rosslyn over the weekend, the Nova MMA CrossFit gym is offering a free self-defense seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 7-9 p.m. [MyFoxDC]
Road Closures for Army Ten-Miler — Route 110, the northbound I-395 HOV lanes, S. Eads Street, Army Navy Drive, Long Bridge Drive and Washington Blvd are among the roads in Arlington that will be closed Sunday morning for the annual Army Ten-Miler race. [Arlington County]
The incident was reported on the 1800 block of N. Scott Street — two blocks north of the Colonial Village Shopping Center — around 2:30 a.m.
“A 23 year-old female victim was followed home and pushed into the bushes by an unknown male subject,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The subject touched the victim inappropriately and implied that he had a knife.”
“The suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s, approximately 5’10”-5’11” tall and was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt,” the crime report said.
A woman was also grabbed from behind and pushed into some bushes near Quincy Park and Washington-Lee High School last week, but the attacker quickly fled the scene. The crimes do not appear to be related.
Police say the 23-year-old woman was walking down the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. The man tried to pull her into some nearby bushes but quickly fled the scene.
“The victim screamed out for help causing the suspect to flee,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20-30’s, approximately 5’6″-5’8″ and weighed 130-160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, loafer shoes, and a backpack at the time of the incident.”
Though the suspect description is similar to that of a man suspected in up to a half dozen similar attacks on women in August, police say they don’t think it’s the same person.
“It doesn’t appear that this is the same guy, but we’re not going to rule that out,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said there’s additional information or evidence that suggests it’s a different suspect, but so far that information is not being publicly released while investigators continue to work the case.
Police say a man walked up to a 31-year-old woman on Columbia Pike near S. Courthouse Road at 9:35 p.m. and asked for directions. The suspect then allegedly groped and kissed the woman before running off.
“When the victim looked down at her phone the male subject touched her inappropriately and kissed her on the cheek,” according to a police report. “The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male in his twenties, approximately 5’4″ tall with a thin build. He was wearing a grey t-shirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident.”
Police do not believe this incident is related to a series of a half dozen sexual assaults that have been reported within the past month.
The Arlington County Police Department is looking for a man suspected of trying to sexually assault a woman on the W&OD trail last weekend.
The victim was running on the Glencarlyn Park area of the W&OD trail when the suspect allegedly grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground. The suspect tried to cover her mouth with his hand, but she was able to scream, causing the suspect to flee, police say.
The woman worked with a sketch artist to provide a sketch of the suspect. He is described as “a dark skinned Hispanic male between 20-30 years old, approximately 5’6″ tall, weighing 140 pounds,” according to police. At the time, he was wearing long, baggy gray shorts and was not wearing a shirt.
Anyone with information can contact Detective K. Bercovicz at [email protected] or 703-228-4235. Those wishing to stay anonymous can call the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).
The attempted sexual assault on the W&OD trail was the first of two such incidents in Arlington that weekend. A woman was also grabbed and thrown to the ground while she walked home near the intersection of N. Thomas Street and N. Pershing Street in Buckingham. A sketch has not been released for the suspect.
Last week police released a sketch of a suspect in another sexual assault incident near Courthouse.
Arlington County Police are looking into whether pair of sexual assaults over the weekend are linked to a sexual assault in Courthouse last month.
Over the weekend, two women, both in their late 20s to early 30s, were grabbed from behind and tossed to the ground. The crime and the suspect descriptions in both cases are similar to that of the assault in Courthouse on July 24, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“We’re not saying it’s the same guy at this point, but there are some similarities in terms of the attack and the suspect description,” Sternbeck said.
The first attack happened at 8:45 p.m. on Friday. A woman was running alone on the W&OD trail when a man grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground, according to a police report. The woman screamed causing the man to flee.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’6″ tall and 140 lbs. He was wearing long gray shorts, a belt, and no shirt at the time of the incident,” according to a police report.
On Saturday, at 11:26 p.m., a 25 year-old woman was walking near the intersection of N. Thomas Street and N. Pershing Street in Buckingham when a man grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground. The man allegedly touched the woman inappropriately, and she bit one of his fingers and he fled, the police report said.
“The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, between 5’0″-5’3″ tall, with black hair and a mustache. He was wearing a gray t-shirt and jeans at the time of the incident,” according to police.
The incident happened early Sunday morning, on the 900 block of S. Randolph Street in the Alcova Heights neighborhood. It started with an Uber ride that left D.C. at some point between 2:45 and 4:00 a.m.
Police say an intoxicated woman, 29, and her friend ordered an Uber, but ended up getting in “an Uber cab that was not her intended ride.”
While in transit, the woman vomited in the back seat, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. The driver dropped off the friend before driving to S. Randolph Street to drop off the victim. It’s at that point that the alleged assault occurred.
“Despite the ride not being established via the app, the driver consented to provide a ride,” said the crime report. “The driver allegedly sexually assaulted the female victim when she was unable to pay the fare.”
The victim then fled to a friend’s house and called police. Police are now trying to track down the driver.
“The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male with short, curly black hair, and a goatee,” according to the police report. “He was wearing a dark polo shirt and jeans at the time of the incident.”
As of this afternoon police said they had not yet reached out to Uber but planned to do so soon. An Uber spokesman said the company has contacted police and offered to assist with the investigation.
“We have contacted the authorities to offer our support in their investigation, and we continue to gather more information,” said Uber’s Taylor Bennett. “Our thoughts are with the victim during this difficult time.”
The Arlington County Police Department is seeking a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 25-year-year old woman in Courthouse.
The suspect allegedly forced the woman into bushes near the corner of 15th Street N. and N. Scott Street early Saturday morning. The woman was able to kick the man in the groin and fight him off after he grabbed at her pants, police say.
A sketch artist worked with the victim to produce a sketch of the suspect. He is described as a Hispanic man weighing between 150 to 175 pounds and is between 5’6 and 5’8 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and jeans and has an athletic build.
Anyone with information can call Detective Robert Icolari at 703-228-4240 or email him at [email protected] Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous can call 866-411-TIPS (8477) to leave a tip with Arlington County Crime Solvers.
Arlington County Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking home from a Friday night out in Clarendon when a man began trying to talk with her. When she walked past him, the man started following her, and she tried walking faster to get away.
At the intersection of 15th Street N. and N. Scott Street, the woman was grabbed from behind and pulled into some nearby bushes. The attacker grabbed the woman’s groin area and tried tugging on her clothing, according to police, but the woman fought him off by punching, kicking and screaming.
After being kicked in the groin, the man walked away towards Clarendon Blvd. The woman lost her phone in the struggle and flagged down a passerby to call police. Officers attempted to track the attacker down, but he escaped and remains at large.
“The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male, 20-30 years of age, 5’6″-5’8″, 150-175 lbs, wearing a white tank top and dark pants,” according to a police report.
The incident happened just before 8:00 p.m. Tuesday in a restaurant on the 900 block of N. Stafford Street in Ballston. We’re told the restaurant was the IHOP on the corner of Stafford Street and Fairfax Drive.
Police say a boy entered the restaurant’s bathroom without parental accompaniment and was “pulled into a stall and touched inappropriately” by 53-year-old Cesar Muz-Moya.
Muz-Moya, of no fixed address, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery and abduction. He was held without bond.
This is just the most recent brush with the law for Muz-Moya.
Earlier this year he was arrested for and later convicted of peeping through a woman’s bedroom window in the Ballston area. He was sentenced to two months in jail.
On May 11, Muz-Moya was arrested and charged with being drunk in public in Fairfax County. His next hearing date in that case is scheduled for August.
Three bills dealing with sexual assault on college campuses, championed by local state Sen. Barbara Favola, were signed into law by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe yesterday (May 28).
The bills deal with reporting of sexual assault occurrences on public college campuses. State Sen. Barbara Favola, who represents part of Arlington in Virginia’s 31st District, helped write the legislation, including a bill that required campus safety officials to be part of a threat assessment team formed after a student reports sexual assault. The establishment of a threat assessment team is required by Title IX.
Under Title IX, a federal law that deals with preventing discrimination based on gender, certain college administrators must report sexual assault to law enforcement. It is also part of the Clery Act, which requires schools publicly report crimes on campuses. The new laws will make it a state requirement as well.
Under the Favola’s amendment to the bill, a threat assessment team, which will include campus safety officials, has to investigate a sexual assault claim without releasing the name of the survivor. If the team determines that there is a legitimate threat to the survivor, it will then release the name to local law enforcement or a local state attorney if necessary.
The bill was originally authored by Sen. Richard Black, who represents Viriginia’s 13th District. The original bill, sparked by the Rolling Stone article about University Virginia, had campus officials report a sexual assault to law enforcement immediately after a report was filed, Favola said.
When campus administrators heard about the bill, they came to Favola for help. The officials told her they thought the bill would discourage people from reporting sexual assaults to the school because it would go to the police, she said.
Many sexual survivors have to process the trauma of a sexual assault, and some survivors do not want to report to police, Favola said.
The signed bill now allows survivors to have time to accept the traumatic event as well as get some counseling, Favola said. A second bill, also signed by McAuliffe, includes a memorandum of understanding, which helps survivors get counseling.
“I think we ended up in the absolute right place,” Favola said.
The bill is another “hammer” to make sure colleges do not sweep sexual assault reports under the rug, according to Favola. Sexual assault reporting has garnered national attention as the Department of Education opened Title IX investigations to look at how colleges handle sexual assault reports. As of May 13, there were 111 colleges on the list, including five Virginia schools, according to the Huffington Post.
Favola is not sure if reported cases of sexual assault will go up with the new laws in place. Some believe there will be more cases reported because the state government is trying to make the bill very public in order to ensure that students and colleges know about the new process.
Arlington’s Marymount University will be among the colleges subject to the new laws. Marymount reported two cases of forcible sex offenses on campus for 2013, in its 2014 Campus Safety report.
Favola says she’s not done with sexual assault legislation. She is now turning to prevention at colleges.
“As a parent, as a woman, as someone who’s been a part-time employee of a university for 19 years, our children need to be safe,” Favola said.
Doorways for Women and Families, a nonprofit designed to support women and children who suffer from domestic violence and homelessness, launched the hotline to pair with its 37-year-old, 24-hour domestic violence hotline.
The hotline’s number is 703-237-0881.
Like the domestic violence hotline, victims can call in and Doorways partners with Arlington County to provide resources, such as shelter or police support.
“We’re pleased to partner with Doorways for Women and Families on this important resource for our community,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a press release. “Doorways’ track record with the domestic violence hotline has been outstanding, providing victims with expert advice and linkages to needed services. By expanding hotline services to include sexual assault, we will again tap into Doorways’ expertise and knowledge to quickly and effectively link people to vital community services and resources.”
The hotline will pair Doorways with the Arlington County Police Department, the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and Department of Human Services. Among the services provided will be Commonwealth’s Attorney accompaniment during hospitalization for victims — a frequently traumatic event, Doorways said.
“We will play an important role in our community’s response, but it is one of many,” Doorways Executive Director Caroline Jones said. “Now is the right time to intentionally define our community’s coordinated response as we are seeing record numbers of people reaching out for our help — realizing they no longer have to face these issues in silence and shame.”
The full press release announcing the new hotline can be read after the jump.