Arlington, VA

A man arrested for what was initially described as the “discharge of a firearm” in Rosslyn early New Year’s morning was heavily armed and determined to confront Black Lives Matters supporters, according to new reporting.

A search warrant affidavit obtained by The Auburn Citizen, a newspaper near suspect Moses Geri’s home in central New York state, suggests that he became enraged after fellow guests in his hotel shouted “Black lives matter” at him.

The initial report of the shooting only said that Geri was drunk and firing gunshots in the air, in what one might have interpreted as misplaced New Year’s revelry.

From an Arlington County police press release on Jan. 1:

At approximately 1:48 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun in the 1500 block of Clarendon Boulevard. While en route to the location, a lookout for the suspect was broadcast and officers observed the suspect on the sidewalk holding a firearm as they arrived on scene. The suspect was compliant and taken into custody without incident.

The investigation determined that the victim was in their hotel room when they heard gunshots outside. Upon looking outside, they observed the suspect outside pointing a firearm upwards towards their window. The suspect then entered their vehicle, retrieved a second firearm, and was observed by the victim pointing it upwards again. Nobody was injured and no damage to property was reported.

Moses Geri, 38, of Weedsport, New York, was arrested and charged with Discharge of a Firearm in a Public Place (x2), Discharge of a Firearm In/Across a Road (x2), Brandishing a Firearm (x2), Reckless Handling of a Firearm, and Drunk in Public. He is being held without bond.

The Citizen reports that Geri, seen smiling in his mugshot, may have had more sinister motives: to confront those who support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Geri told police he fired the shots, according the report, after arguing with several people on a hotel balcony.

According to the affidavit, Geri had drunk a quarter of a bottle of moonshine when, around 2 a.m. Jan. 1, he was seen walking around the Rosslyn hotel with a chrome-plated .44 magnum pistol holstered at his hip. When asked why he was carrying the gun — by individuals the affidavit identifies as “minorities” — Geri gestured at them and said it was to protect himself from them.

Geri then left the hotel, retrieved a rifle from his pickup truck and got into an argument with the same individuals, the affidavit continues. The individuals, who were on their balcony, claimed Geri pointed the gun at them. He then fired at least two rounds into the air, which he later admitted to Arlington County police. When they responded to the scene, they found him in possession of five spent shell casings matching the caliber of the rifle. He was also found in possession of three firearms and several edged weapons, and the search of his truck three days later would reveal more than 800 rounds of ammunition, including 5.56 mm armor piercing, soft point and white phosphorus tracer rounds. Geri possessed a shovel, canteen and tactical clothing as well.

Additional reporting suggests that Geri was in the D.C. area to take part in the pro-Trump protests that would turn into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. According to The Citizen, Geri told police that he had a snow plow attached to the front of his truck because “You don’t know what you are gonna come across down here… These Black Lives Matter activists are shooting other people and I don’t want to take it anymore.”

According to court records, Geri is pleading guilty to a felony charge of firing a gun within 1,000 feet of a school and is scheduled to be sentenced in Arlington County Circuit Court on April 23.

A police department spokeswoman referred questions about the affidavit to Arlington General District Court, though courts are closed today due to the weather. ARLnow is awaiting further comment from the Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney.

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(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) I-395 in Arlington was the scene of a shootout on wheels last night.

Virginia State Police say gunfire was exchanged between two cars headed northbound, between Shirlington and Pentagon City. One driver was shot and suffered serious injuries, while the other vehicle — a Nissan Maxima with a Texas license plate — remains at large.

The shooting prompted the temporary closure of northbound I-395 near the Pentagon last night.

“At 10:36 p.m. on Nov. 18, Virginia State Police received a call about a Toyota Corolla and Nissan Maxima exchanging gunfire as the vehicles were traveling north on I-395 just south of S. Glebe Road,” state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said this morning. “The Toyota was fired upon again as the same two vehicles passed by the S. Joyce Street overpass.”

The driver of the Toyota was shot, but kept driving into the District. He stopped at a Metro station and was given first aid by police before being rushed to the trauma center at GW Hospital for “serious, but non-life threatening, injuries.”

WTOP reports that the victim was a Metro employee and that he was shot in the shoulder in what’s described as “an apparent road rage incident.” No gun was recovered from the victim’s vehicle.

State police are still investigating the shooting, noting that “there is no evidence of any other vehicles being fired at or damaged during the course of the shootings.”

“The dark-colored Nissan Maxima with Texas plates has yet to be located,” Geller said. “Anyone who may have witnessed the incidents or has information about the suspect vehicle is encouraged to call Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or email us at questi[email protected]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Morning Notes

Possible Microwave Attack in Arlington — “Shortly after Thanksgiving 2019, according to three sources familiar with the incident, a White House staffer was hit while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia… the staffer passed a parked van. A man got out and walked past her. Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face.” [GQ]

Arrest in Arlington Mill Shooting — “Charges have been sought against a juvenile suspect related to the shooting that occurred on October 21, 2020. The suspect has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony.” [Arlington County]

‘Headlines’ Mobile Art Project in Arlington TodayUpdated at 10:30 a.m. — Per a press release: “The exhibit is called #HeadlinesAreFrontlines, a multimedia show deployed on mobile trucks featuring 12-foot screens of 1,460 daily news headlines, in order, about Donald Trump. The traveling exhibit moves through the streets of DC and Arlington on October 26th at 9am. Look for the multimedia truck in Rosslyn and Crystal City.” [Instagram, BYT]

Locals Recognized for Good Works — Two Arlington residents were recently featured on ABC 7’s local news broadcasts: 26-year-old Dominique Cross, an abuse survivor writes song to uplift victims of domestic violence, and 15-year-old Chip Nordlinger, who spends his free time helping homeless veterans.

Boy Gets Award for Saving Ailing Mom — “On October 13, 2020, tragedy struck one of our own. While playing outside, Aiden, son of Firefighter Josh Wise, noticed that his mom began suffering from a serious medical emergency. He recognized the situation and courageously called 911, providing his address and full details… Aiden was awarded an honorary Lifesaving Award, one of the department’s highest honors, for his efforts in saving his mother’s life.” [Facebook]

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) A boy was shot in the hand Wednesday in the Arlington Mill neighborhood near Columbia Pike.

The shooting happened on the 800 block of S. Frederick Street around 4:15 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department said.

Police were not called until 25 minutes after the shooting. They were dispatched nearby, to the 900 block of S. Dinwiddie Street, where they found the victim.

“Arriving officers located the juvenile male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the hand and rendered aid,” ACPD said in a press release Thursday afternoon. “He was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”

Three suspects reportedly fled prior to officers arriving on scene.

“Preliminarily, it is believed that the victim and three known suspects became engaged in a dispute, during which one suspect produced a firearm and discharged it, striking the victim,” police said. “The suspects then fled the scene and the victim left the area on foot and sought assistance nearby.”

“This is an active investigation,” ACPD said on social media. “Anyone with information is asked to call ACPD’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180.”

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Morning Notes

Changes Proposed to Rosslyn Development — “Arlington County Board members on [October] 17 will be asked to ratify relatively minor changes to the approved-in-2019 redevelopment of the Rosslyn Holiday Inn site. The request, if approved, would add residential units and delete hotel units from the project, while keeping the overall density of the project unchanged.” [InsideNova]

Today: Online Discussion With ACPD — “On Wednesday, October 14, 12-1 p.m., CPRO will be joined by members of the Arlington Police Department and County staff for our next Connecting & Collaborating Session: ‘Working Together to Keep Arlington Safe.’ We’ll be discussing safety concerns across the County and the effect on Columbia Pike.” [ARLnow Events, Zoom]

PMI to Settle JBG Parking Lawsuit — “Parking Management Inc. has agreed to pay at least $1.45 million and to take other measures to settle a lawsuit filed against it by an affiliate of JBG Smith Properties in response to the District-based parking operator’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy efforts.” [Washington Business Journal]

Suit Seeks to Extend Va. Voter Registration — “An accidentally severed fiber-optic cable in Virginia effectively shut down most of the state’s online voter registration on its last day Tuesday, prompting voter advocates to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an extension of the deadline that they argue thousands of voters missed because of the disruption.” [Washington Post]

Northam Targeted By Militia Members — “The group of men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part an alleged terrorist plot also targeted Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the Detroit News reported Tuesday morning. An FBI special agent testified during a hearing in federal court that the three defendants had discussed ‘taking out’ a sitting governor, specifically mentioning Whitmer and Northam.” [Virginia Mercury, Press Release]

Nearby: Video of Shooting Released — “Detectives have released video footage related to a Sunday shooting in Bailey’s Crossroads as they continue to investigate. Officers responded to the Build America Plaza in the 3800 block of South George Mason Drive around 1:19 a.m. Sunday after several reports of gunshots. Not long afterward, Arlington County Police located a man with a gunshot wound.” [Patch, WTOP]

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Morning Notes

Shooting Near Arlington Border — An early Sunday morning shooting that could be heard in parts of south Arlington “happened along the 3800 block of South George Mason Drive at approximately 1:19 a.m., according to Fairfax County police. Police said when they arrived at the scene, they discovered bullet casings but no victims. Shortly after, Arlington County police stopped a vehicle along I-395 and found a victim who had been shot in the abdomen and was trying to drive to a hospital.” [WTOP]

Purple Lounge Loses Liquor License Again — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has temporarily suspended the alcohol licenses of the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge, LLC after finding the establishment in violation of the terms imposed… on September 16, 2020. As a result of this action, the alcohol licenses of the Purple Lounge will remain suspended for a minimum of 10 days with reinstatement dependent upon approval by Virginia ABC.” [Arlington County]

Local Tourism Boomed in 2019 — “After a record-breaking 2018, tourism spending in Arlington rose to $3.6 billion in 2019, according to data released today by the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Arlington has led Virginia counties in visitor spending for 12 consecutive years, with local tourism in 2019 generating $97.8 million in local tax receipts… [but] early numbers for 2020 project a sharp decrease in tourism spending.” [Arlington County]

Those Darn Kids Are At It Again — “Certain mountain bikers have blazed new unauthorized trails down the historic hillock known for 300 years as Brandymore Castle. They’ve angered tree stewards and parks protectors who bemoan damage to plant life on that secluded tree-lined formation in Madison Manor Park… The problem, Allen said, is not that mountain biking is inherently bad, but that a few practitioners lack education in the environmental impact of their behavior.” [Falls Church News-Press]

National Landing = Copenhagen on the Potomac? — From a local cycling advocate, regarding the possibility of adding more cycling infrastructure around Crystal City and Pentagon City: “We can turn @NationalLanding into Copenhagen in one fell swoop if we want to.” [@CarFreeHQ2/Twitter]

Today’s a Holiday — As a reminder, ARLnow is on a limited publishing schedule today due to the federal holiday. Arlington County offices and facilities, however, are open. Trash and recycling are being collected, though metered parking is not being enforced.

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An Arlington man was arrested last night after police say he accidentally fired a bullet into the apartment below his.

The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. on the 3800 block of Columbia Pike, a couple of blocks west of S. Glebe Road.

The suspect was “engaged in a dispute with a group of people,” police said. “When the suspect allegedly went inside to retrieve his firearm, it discharged and a bullet entered the residence below.”

Police were called when the downstair resident “observed a stray bullet come through the ceiling.” No one was hurt.

The 36-year-old suspect is facing a number of charges, including “possession of a firearm by a foreign national.”

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2020-09270168, 3800 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 9:30 p.m. on September 27, police were dispatched to the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was inside his residence when he heard noise and observed a stray bullet come through the ceiling. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect was engaged in a dispute with a group of people behind a residential building. When the suspect allegedly went inside to retrieve his firearm, it discharged and a bullet entered the residence below. Officers located the suspect outside his residence and took him into custody without incident. No injuries were reported. Jose Gomez, 36, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm, Discharging a Firearm or Missile in/at an Occupied Building, and Possession of a Firearm by a Foreign Alien.

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Purple Lounge is resuming operations after reaching a settlement with Virginia ABC for the restoration of its liquor license.

Six people have been shot in violence linked to the business at 3111 Columbia Pike since last September, including a double shooting late last month and a triple shooting, in which one person was killed, in June. The continued violence, complaints from neighbors, and repeated code violations led Virginia ABC to suspend Purple Lounge’s license to serve alcohol earlier this month.

As a result of a settlement this week the business can resume serving alcohol — but with a number of restrictions.

The restrictions include “stopping all sales and consumption of alcohol at 12:45 a.m.,” “closure of the business no later than 1:00 a.m. and no reopening sooner than 8:00 a.m.,” and keeping four certified security guards on duty — including in the violence-prone parking lot — when the lounge is open at night.

In a press release Wednesday night, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said the county would have preferred the business been fully closed by Virginia ABC. She noted that further violations, however, could result in a permanent loss of Purple Lounge’s ABC license.

More from the county press release:

Today, Arlington County officials were informed of a settlement agreement reached between the management of the Purple Restaurant and Lounge and the Virginia ABC. Arlington County is not a party to this settlement.

“We are very disappointed that ABC did not fully close or revoke the liquor license for The Purple Lounge.  We view the result in this matter as only a partial step towards ensuring our community’s safety, which is our primary concern,” Libby Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County Board noted. “The restrictions now in place, if followed, at least offer a path forward. The penalties for failure to adhere to the restrictions include permanent loss of licensure. Our police and public health officials will work closely with Virginia ABC to ensure that this settlement is strictly followed. Our staff will be conducting regular visits and monitoring activity inside and outside of the Purple Lounge to ensure full compliance.” Community members who observe behaviors believed to be outside of the negotiated agreement are urged to contact Virginia ABC or the Arlington County Police Department.

On September 1, following a series of disturbing events at the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge (Purple Lounge), the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (“ABC”) issued an Order of Summary Suspension, temporarily suspending its alcohol licenses.

After an investigation, Virginia ABC cited two violations against the Purple Lounge relating to its failure to take reasonable measures to prevent violence on the property, and the Purple Lounge’s adverse effects on neighboring properties.  A formal hearing was scheduled to occur on September 16-17th regarding the status of the Purple Lounge’s liquor license as a result of these charges. Possible outcomes ranged from full reinstatement of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses, partial reinstatement of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses with restricted hours, or full revocation of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses.

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A man was shot and killed outside a nightclub in the Eden Center just after midnight this morning.

Falls Church police say the shooting happened outside Diva Lounge, which is located at 6763 Wilson Blvd, in the rear of the shopping center near Planet Fitness.

“At approximately 12:05 a.m. police responded to a 911 call about a shooting at the Diva Lounge,” police said. “Police and medic units responded to the scene, where they discovered a male victim deceased from a gunshot wound.”

“Witnesses to the incident report the suspect shot the victim then fled the scene on foot,” the police statement continues. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 30s, with dark hair, who was wearing black shorts and a blue polo shirt. There is no camera or video footage of the suspect available at this time.”

Police say they are actively investigating the case but believe there is “no continuing threat to the community.”

“If you witnessed or have any information regarding this incident, please call Detective Darian Chuquillangui at (703) 248-5165,” police said.

Just over ten years ago, the same nightclub space — it was then V3 Lounge — was the scene of a large, early morning brawl.

Photo via Google Maps

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The father of a man killed in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood this spring has been arrested and charged with his murder.

Marshall Stephens, 45, was found dead the evening of April 23, in the driver’s seat of a car parked on the 1900 block of S. Lowell Street. Police said Thursday that 65-year-old Marshall Stephens, Sr. shot and killed his son in a “domestic-related homicide.”

The victim was an Arlington resident while the elder Stephens is a resident of Baltimore County, Maryland. Stephens, Sr. is currently being held in the Arlington County jail on a charge of murder and a weapons violation.

More from Arlington County police:

The investigation determined this incident to be a domestic-related homicide. Marshall Stephens Sr., 65, of Parkville, MD, has been arrested and charged with Murder and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

A police spokeswoman said the department does not speculate about motives and did not have any additional information to release.

Stephens’ death was the second of three homicides so far this year in Arlington.

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