Submit Content

(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) Police received a report of shots fired inside Washington-Liberty High School this morning, prompting a massive emergency response, but it turned out to likely be something else.

Police say an extensive search of the school found evidence of fireworks being discharged inside but no gunshots. No one has been hurt.

Several 911 callers reported hearing gunshots inside the school, possibly on the fourth floor, shortly before 8 a.m., according to police radio traffic.

That prompted police and medics to rush to the scene en masse and search throughout the building. The school remained on lockdown for much of the morning, until the search concluded around 10:30 a.m. The county bomb squad, including a K-9 unit, was requested to the scene during the search.

Summer school classes were underway at W-L at the time of this morning’s incident. In a School Talk email to families, sent shortly before 9 a.m., Arlington Public Schools said that students will be dismissed for the day once the lockdown is lifted.

W-L Summer School Families

We are following up on this morning’s incident at Washington-Liberty. At [approximately] 7:50 a.m., a student reported that they heard shots in the building. The school [immediately] went on lockdown. During the investigation, police located evidence of discharged fireworks. No injuries have been reported and students and staff are all safe.

W-L remains on lockdown as the ACPD continue to investigate and conduct a [thorough] search of the building. Students will be [dismissed] for the day as soon as the investigation is concluded. Regular dismissal will be followed once the all clear is given.

As of 9 a.m., there was a report of one adult who was inside the school seeking treatment for a minor medical issue.

0 Comments

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Police are investigating a shooting in Arlington’s Green Valley neighborhood.

Initial reports suggest that a man was shot in the arm and chest near the Lucky Seven Food Mart at 3215 24th Street S. around 9:30 p.m. Police are looking for a black Honda Civic that reportedly then fled from the scene.

A large crowd gathered in the area as police arrived but has since dissipated, according to scanner traffic.

The victim was reported to be conscious and breathing while being taken to a local hospital via ambulance. Police said via social media that his injuries are considered serious but not life threatening.

A witness told ARLnow that she heard numerous gunshots and, at first, “thought it was fireworks.” More than a dozen evidence markers could be seen on the ground near where the shooting took place.

A potential motive for the shooting has not been released. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

On Thursday afternoon, Arlington County police released more information about the shooting, revealing that there was a second victim who suffered a graze wound.

From a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on 24th Street S. on the evening of July 6, 2022.

At approximately 9:31 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 3200 block of 24th Street S. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim suffering from a gunshot wound and a second female victim suffering from grazing wounds. The female victim sustained minor injuries and was released on scene by medics. The male victim was transported to an area hospital with injuries that were considered serious but non-life threatening, where he remains in stable condition.

The preliminary investigation indicates a large group had been congregating in the area when the unknown suspect(s) fired multiple rounds, injuring the victims and causing property damage to buildings and a vehicle.

Witnesses stated they observed unidentified individuals as well as a black sedan leave the area at a high rate of speed immediately following the shooting. A lookout for the vehicle was broadcast and officers canvassed the area for the suspect vehicle yielding negative results.

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).

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Contrails and a jet in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Man Accidentally Shoots Self in Crystal City — “300 block of 23rd Street S. At approximately 7:45 p.m. on June 15, police were dispatched to the report of a discharge of a firearm. Upon arrival, it was determined that as the male subject was cleaning his firearm, it discharged resulting in a gunshot wound to his hand… No other injuries or property damage have been reported.” [ACPD]

Home Hunters Keep Housing Hot — “The regional and national real-estate markets may be cooling, but Arlington remains atop the pack in the Washington area when it comes to maintaining home-buyer interest. The county was the highest-scoring among 10 jurisdictions in the latest monthly Bright MLS T3 Home Demand Index.” [Sun Gazette]

More Motorist Mayhem on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: Another 8C crash. This one at 5:50 this morning. It’s pretty much like all the other ones.” [Twitter]

More Permitting Now Online — “Arlington County is launching the third phase of Permit Arlington, its online permitting system, on Tuesday, June 28. Several additional permits and inspections will move into the Permit Arlington system.” [Arlington County]

AFAC Expanding Service — “The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) is partnering with Homestretch, a nonprofit organization located in Falls Church, to provide free nutritious groceries to recently housed families on the path towards self-sufficiency. The new food distribution center will plan to operate weekly and will be AFAC’s first center serving residents outside of Arlington County.” [AFAC]

Cops Seeking Thief in ‘Space Jam’ Hat — “A man wearing a Bugs Bunny ‘Space Jam’ baseball cap is wanted for grand larceny by the City of Falls Church Police and other Northern Virginia jurisdictions. The man was captured on surveillance video by City of Falls Church businesses in February and June while stealing cash in two restaurants.” [City of Falls Church]

It’s Friday — Sunny and humid throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 75. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
Arlington Smoke Shop in Green Valley (photo via Google)

(Updated at 5:35 p.m.) An Arlington jury has found a store employee not guilty in the shooting of a burglar, in a case that received national media attention.

It all started with a burglary of the Arlington Smoke Shop, at 2428 Shirlington Road in the Green Valley neighborhood, shortly before 5 a.m. on March 29, 2020. Three masked suspects allegedly broke into the store and started stealing cash and merchandise.

Shop employee Hamzeh Abushariah was sleeping in a back room of the store at the time due to Covid concerns at his D.C. apartment building. Prosecutors alleged that Abushariah grabbed a gun and shot one of the suspects, who was under the age of 18, point blank in the back.

Abushariah was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Reckless Handling of a Firearm and Violation of a Protective Order. Two juvenile suspects, including the one who was shot and seriously injured, were later charged in connection to the burglary.

The Reckless Handling of a Firearm charge was dismissed in April, court records show, a week after Abushariah was levied with a contempt charge for misbehavior in court. The protective order charge remains active, with a hearing set for this coming Tuesday.

But yesterday, after a trial in Arlington Circuit Court that started on Monday, a jury found Abushariah not guilty of Malicious Wounding, the most serious charge.

“I can’t even explain how happy I am,” Abushariah told ARLnow. “I’m home with my family. There’s nothing like being free especially when you know you’re innocent.”

Jowan Zuber, the owner of the store who has appeared several times on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight in defense of Abushariah, said the verdict was vindication.

“I broke down when the verdict, all 12 jurors, came [back] not guilty, self-defense,” Zuber said. “So they saw that the Commonwealth had no evidence holding Hamzeh Abushariah for two years, no evidence, taking him away from his kids and his livelihood when we’ve been fighting.”

He said that video played during the trial showed that it was dark in the store when the break-in occurred.

“So when he shot, he did not know where he was aiming,” said Zuber. “[Prosecutors] really hurt this guy big time.”

He said the verdict brings relief for Abushariah’s family after “two years of nightmare going back and forth.”

“The suffering, the tears that my wife, my kids, my family, my sisters, my parents, it’s not cheap, it’s not nothing. It’s something, it means a lot to me,” Abushariah said.

Abushariah was in jail for several months after the shooting, then released on house arrest for four months before he was arrested again, Zuber said. He has been in jail since, before being released around 6 p.m. Wednesday night.

Both Zuber and Abushariah thanked the jury and said they had to mention defense attorney Robert Marshall’s work on the case. In a video posted to Facebook, Abushariah reunites with his family leaving jail as Zuber says it’s all thanks to Marshall.

“We believed in [Marshall] since day 1, and he just went and just showed what the righteous is about and showed that we shouldn’t protect criminals and you have the right to protect yourself when people are coming to hurt you or break in in a violent way,” Zuber told ARLnow. “This is very bad for Arlington because we are here as citizens, we pay our taxes, and we want to protect the good people, not the bad… The jury, the people, made this happen.”

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington and Falls Church, provided a brief statement to ARLnow.

“As always, we respect the verdict and thank the jurors for their service,” the county’s top prosecutor said.

In response to additional questions from ARLnow, Tafti declined to provide other details about the case and the end result of the charges against the two burglary suspects.

“These were juvenile dispositions, and therefore not public record,” she said.

Newly free, Abushariah said it’s nice to see his children, and the green grass and enjoy the weather and good food.

“The smallest things mean so much when you’re free,” he said. “The smallest things in life matter.”

He said he wishes the person he shot well.

“I hope his life will get better, that he will recover, both of us will,” he said.

Brandi Bottalico contributed to this report

0 Comments

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]

0 Comments

Arlington police say they’re now investigating a series of drive-by paintball and pellet gun shootings.

The shootings are believed to have been inspired by a viral TikTok trend dubbed the “Orbeez challenge,” which has led to numerous reports from across the U.S. of injuries and arrests from people being shot with pellets, paintballs or gel-balls.

ARLnow reported yesterday that four people were struck by paintballs shot from a passing car in Crystal City on Friday. One person was hospitalized. Today Arlington police said two recent incidents of people being shot by pellet guns, fired from passing vehicles, may be tied to the social media trend.

“The Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible,” said the police department.

More from an ACPD press release, below.

The Arlington County Police Department is investigating four reports of paintballs and pellets being discharged from vehicles at community members in the last week. Similar incidents have been reported in other states and appear to stem from challenges originated on social media. While the motivation behind the Arlington incidents is unknown at this time, the Arlington County Police Department takes these incidents seriously and continues to actively investigate to identify those responsible.

Reported Incidents

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03160222, S. Eads Street at 12th Street S. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 16, police were dispatched to the report of disorderly conduct. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and discharged a pellet gun, striking the victim. The suspect vehicle is described as a maroon SUV.

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2022-03180231/0254, 1400 block of S. Eads Street/15th Street S. at S. Eads. At approximately 7:24 p.m. on March 18, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined the two victims were walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and the passenger discharged a paintball gun striking the victims, a parked vehicle and the door to a business. At approximately 9:10 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an assault and determined two additional victims were walking in the area when they were struck by the suspect discharging a paintball gun from the vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver, older model four door sedan.

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-03210246, Washington Boulevard at N. Highland Street. At approximately 4:54 p.m. on March 21, police were dispatched to the report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined the victim was walking in the area when he was struck by pellets discharged from a vehicle. The suspect vehicle is described as a gray or light blue small SUV.

Report Information and Incidents to Police for Investigation

These remain active criminal investigations. Anyone with information related to these incidents is asked to contact the Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

If you are the victim or witness of similar incidents, report immediately to police by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible including vehicle description, license plate, direction of travel and suspect(s) description.

0 Comments
Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Someone in a passing vehicle shot several people with paintballs in Pentagon City this weekend, sending at least one victim to the hospital.

The two incidents happened about two hours apart Friday night, along S. Eads Street near the Amazon HQ2 construction site. At least four people were struck by paintballs fired by the passenger inside an older, silver sedan, police said.

From an ACPD crime report today:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2022-03180231/0254, 1400 block of S. Eads Street/15th Street S. as S. Eads. At approximately 7:24 p.m. on March 18, police were dispatched to the report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined the two victims were walking in the area when the suspect vehicle approached and the passenger discharged a paintball gun striking the victims, a parked vehicle and the door to a business. At approximately 9:10 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of an assault and determined two additional victims were walking in the area when they were struck by the suspect discharging a paintball gun from a vehicle. One victim self-transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The suspect vehicle is described as a silver, older model four door sedan. There are no suspect descriptions at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

One of the victims posted about the incident on a local Facebook group.

“Crystal City folks, watch out,” the victim posted. “Some idiots shot us with souped up paintball guns tonight…. this happened at the corner of 15th St and S Eads St.”

She added that it happened while walking home from the nearby Whole Foods store.

More on what transpired, from the victim’s post:

We suddenly heard what sounded like rapid gunfire. Immediately my ear got hit, [my husband’s] chest did too. We then kept getting hit all over non stop. With the adrenaline rushing we had no idea what was happening and thought we had really been shot, luckily it was only paintballs! We eventually see where it’s coming from, which was a car full of idiots shooting a souped up paintball gun and we were their targets. We tried to take cover behind a van but they turned down another road and started tearing into us again until we were out of their sight. […] They lit us up pretty good, the pictures don’t show how bad the bruises/welts are. My back and knee are covered. [My husband’s] wrist and shoulder got hit as well. One pic shows how close they got to my eye.  It’s ridiculous that people think this is funny. Now that our adrenaline has calmed down we are thankful it wasn’t worse, but hope they find these punks before they do real damage.

Hat tip to Alan Henney

0 Comments

(Updated at 11:20 p.m.) Arlington County police are investigating a possible shooting in the Ashton Heights neighborhood near Ballston.

The investigation seems to be centered around the intersection of N. Piedmont Street and 5th Street N., about two blocks from Mosaic Park to the north and the Buckingham Center shopping strip to the south.

The gunfire happened around 3:45 p.m. Multiple people called 911 to report hearing 2-3 shots fired and seeing an SUV fleeing from the scene, along with a man fleeing on foot, according to scanner traffic.

So far no injuries have been reported, but officers say they found some broken glass, potentially from the SUV’s back window.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

Two people were arrested along Columbia Pike today after a man was shot to death Saturday morning a few blocks away.

Arlington County police say a 46-year-old woman has been charged with murder and a 48-year-old man was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the death of 45-year-old D.C. resident Reginald Scott, who was found dead in a parked car.

The suspects were arrested Sunday morning at a bus stop at Columbia Pike and S. Quincy Street. Witnesses described to ARLnow a “heavy police presence and crime scene tape” across a two-block stretch of the Pike after the arrests.

Scott was found dead about four blocks, shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, inside a car that was parked in a business parking lot on the 3600 block of the Pike.

No motive for the killing has been released.

More on today’s arrest from an ACPD press release:

The preliminary investigation into the suspicious death indicates the victim, Reginald Scott, 45, of Washington D.C., suffered an apparent gunshot wound. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death. This incident is being investigated as a homicide.

During the course of the investigation, detectives developed possible suspect descriptions based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews. Arrest warrants were obtained and the suspects were located near a bus stop at Columbia Pike and S. Quincy Street on the morning of February 27. They were taken into custody without incident. April Puckett, 46, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Murder, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. James Harris, 48, of No Fixed Address has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The suspects are being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Detectives continue to investigate the events that preceded the homicide. Anyone with information that may assist with this investigation is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]

0 Comments
Gavel (Flickr photo by Joe Gratz)

An Arlington County jury found a 66-year-old man guilty on Monday of killing his son in Green Valley in 2020.

Marshall Stephens Jr., 45, was found alone in his vehicle in the 1900 block of S. Lowell Street with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head on April 23, 2020. His father — Marshall Stephens — was found guilty of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Stephens, who is scheduled to be sentenced April 1, faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and maximum of life behind bars for the murder charge and a minimum of three years for the firearm charge, prosecutors say.

“While there is nothing we can do to bring back Marshall Stephens, Jr., we are grateful for the jury’s verdict and attention to this case,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. “We hope this helps bring some level of closure to the surviving victims as they continue their difficult healing process.”

The full press release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is below.

On Monday January 24, 2022, an Arlington County jury unanimously found Marshall Stephens, 66, guilty of first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Stephens was found guilty in connection with the April 23, 2020, shooting of his 45-year-old son, Marshall Stephens, Jr. in the Green Valley neighborhood of Arlington. The victim was found alone in his vehicle, with a single gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Successful prosecution was possible because of a careful investigation on the part of the Arlington County Police Department and collaboration between ACPD and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

“While there is nothing we can do to bring back Marshall Stephens, Jr., we are grateful for the jury’s verdict and attention to this case,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. “We hope this helps bring some level of closure to the surviving victims as they continue their difficult healing process.”

First degree murder carries a statutory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison; use of a firearm in the commission of a felony carries a statutory minimum sentence of 3 years.

Stephens is scheduled to be sentenced on April 1, 2022, in the Arlington County Circuit Court.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Local Man Charged in Bailey’s Xroads Shooting — “Fairfax County police have charged a 33-year-old Arlington man in connection with a shooting that occurred Nov. 20 at the Food Star supermarket at 5521 Leesburg Pike. According to police, officers were called to the store at 6:43 p.m. by Harvey Coleman, of Arlington, after he reported to police he had shot someone in self-defense… Following several interviews and the review of surveillance footage, detectives have charged Coleman with malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.” [Sun Gazette]

Ice Cream Store Now Open in Pentagon City — “Have I got a scoop (get it?) for my followers! For those who may be in search of a sweet treat this afternoon, Mimi’s Handmade Ice Cream opened today at ⁦@PentagonRow⁩ (Westpost). Impressive variety.” [Twitter]

Arlington Vet Chooses Health Career — “After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, she was commissioned as an Army officer and chose to attend flight training, following in her late father’s footsteps. Soon, she was soon piloting Blackhawk helicopters… it was the time she was in the military that really prepared her for physician-assistant school.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 46. Northwest wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Sunrise at 7:06 a.m. and sunset at 4:47 p.m. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 51. South wind 5 to 8 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. [Weather.gov]

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list