Prosecutors will not seek criminal charges against the Arlington County Police officer involved in the fatal shooting in Buckingham in May, concluding his use of deadly force was justified.
According to the complete investigation report, Officer Michael Laird “acted consistent with ACPD policies governing use of force” and his actions were “justifiable and necessary to defend himself and others present.”
The report includes this policy, which says officers can use force to “bring an incident or non-compliant suspect under control… and/or protect the lives or personal safety of themselves or others” so long as the force used is appropriate for the situation.
The deceased was 54-year-old Alfredo Rials-Torres, who was shot three times by police in the apartment he shared with his mother, 87-year-old Alicia Torres.
After investigating the incident, the Commonwealth’s Attorney concluded the victim attacked police officers without reason and he presented an “imminent danger of serious injury or death” to those present at the scene.
On May 19, the day of the shooting, Officer Laird and two other officers responded to a call reporting a domestic disturbance in an apartment building at 4219 2nd Road N.
The caller reported she could hear an elderly woman screaming in some kind of domestic altercation. In a later interview, she recalled hearing Ms. Torres tell her son, “I’m not your girlfriend and I will never have sex with you.”
The officers arrived at the apartment, where Ms. Torres opened the door. Statements from all three officers at the scene describe Rials-Torres coming to the door shortly thereafter, looking visibly angry and verbally aggressive as he told officers he would not speak with them.
Rials-Torres then attempted to close the apartment door, and an altercation ensued as the officers tried to keep it open. Laird said in a statement they “did not want to be locked out of the room with her being stuck in there with him.”
Laird unsuccessfully tried to use his Taser on Rials-Torres, instead striking and incapacitating one of the other officers on the small landing outside the apartment.
As he prepared to try again, Rials-Torres struck Laird in the face with a metal pole, causing a deep laceration from his mouth up his left cheek. Bleeding profusely, Laird was able to push through the door. Rials-Torres was still swinging the pole wildly, the report says.
It was then that Laird fired his service weapon three times, the first round striking Rials-Torres in the arm and the following rounds in the back as he spun around. The autopsy, conducted by a medial examiner named Dr. Jocelyn Posthumus, concluded one of the shots to the victim’s back caused his death.
In interviews after the shooting, Ms. Torres denied arguing with her son, insisted that he had not assaulted officers, but stated that he was schizophrenic and possibly off of his medications.
The 9-1-1 caller recalled previous and recent problems with Rials-Torres acting aggressively. Another neighbor said she heard arguing on the morning of the shooting and cited incidents when the victim would threaten other residents.
Rials-Torres also had a criminal history and was convicted of felony assault and resisting arrest in 1997.
The armed robbery and shooting happened around 2:22 a.m. Wednesday, on the street along the 200 block of S. Cleveland Street.
Police say the 20-year-old victim was shot in the arm by the robbery suspect and later transported to George Washington University hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“The suspect is described as a white male, between 5’5″-6’0″ tall and 150-200 lbs,” according to a crime report. “He was wearing torn blue jeans, a grey hoodie and grey tennis shoes at the time of the incident.”
An officer fatally shot 54-year-old Alfredo Rials-Torres in his apartment on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. after responding to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance. Two officers and the deceased man’s mother were hurt in the incident.
“The following timeline provides an account of the incident according to officer and witness interviews,” the department said in an email. “The investigation remains ongoing at this time and will be presented to the Commonwealth Attorney in the future.”
10:51:44 – Initial 9-1-1 received by the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for a possible domestic disturbance. The reporting party informs the dispatcher they hear a female screaming from inside an apartment.
10:54:12 – Two officers are dispatched to scene by ECC for trouble unknown – possible domestic dispute.
10:54:31 – Call changed from trouble unknown to a domestic dispute, older couple in this apartment arguing loudly -possibly drinking
10:55:36 – First officer arrives on scene.
10:56:28 – Second officer arrives on scene.
10:56:39 – Third officer arrives on scene.
· The first two officers make contact with both parties believed to be involved in the domestic dispute at the front door of the apartment.
· Male party becomes confrontational with officers and attempts to slam the door closed.
· One officer places his foot in the door to prevent the door from closing and to avoid losing sight of and contact with the parties involved.
· Male party raises a metal pole in an aggressive manner, prompting an officer at the threshold to deploy his taser. The taser deployment was unsuccessful and the officer is struck in the face with the end of a metal pole by the male party.
· The officer sustains a significant facial injury – a serious laceration.
· A second taser deployment occurred by the same officer. That was also unsuccessful as one of the prongs struck one of the other officers in the arm, temporarily incapacitating him.
· The tased officer retreats to the exterior of the apartment building because he is unable to assist with the situation.
· Physical struggle ensues inside residence with the male party violently swinging the metal pole, prompting the officer to discharge his firearm out of fear for his safety and the safety of others.
· Three shots were fired, each striking the male party in the upper body.
· The third officer enters apartment and secures the scene until arrival of EMS.
10:59:54 – The third officer provides radio transmission w/ situational report, to include injuries to two officers & the parties involved in the domestic disturbance.
11:00:22 – EMS dispatched to scene
11:02:39 – EMS arrives on scene
11:10:22 – EMS transports male party to Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) where he is pronounced deceased by VHC medical staff.
11:18:21 – Injured officers transported to Virginia Hospital Center
(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) A man is dead after being shot by Arlington County Police in the Buckingham neighborhood.
Police say officers responded to the 4200 block of 2nd Road N., at the Gates of Ballston apartment complex, just before 11:00 a.m. for an anonymous report of a domestic dispute. Officers arriving on scene heard screaming inside an apartment and entered it.
An officer-involved shooting followed. An adult male suspect was shot fatally — scanner traffic indicates he was shot twice in the chest — by police, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
An officer sustained what is described as a serious facial laceration. He’s currently undergoing surgery at Virginia Hospital Center but is expected to survive, according to Sternbeck.
Additionally, another officer suffered an injury after being tased, and a woman who was in the apartment suffered minor injuries, Sternbeck said.
Police and medics administered aid to the wounded suspect on scene but he was subsequently pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center. Neighbors say the man who was shot was a middle-aged Ecuadorian man who lived with his mother and was known for occasional angry outbursts.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police identified the deceased suspect as 54-year-old Alfredo Rials-Torres.
Police are conducting an investigation on scene, photographing and processing evidence. Second Road North is closed to traffic and is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time, but police are allowing residents back into their apartments.
After the shooting the female occupant of the apartment was brought to police headquarters and was being interviewed by investigators.
This was the second shooting on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. in the past three years. In March 2012 a man was shot twice and seriously injured by a ski-mask-wearing assailant.
The teen showed up at Virginia Hospital Center at 2:30 a.m. Thursday with a single gunshot wound, according to a crime report (below).
The circumstances behind the shooting are unclear. So far, police do not have a description of the suspect.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 141023003, 2200 block of S. Shirlington Road. At approximately 2:30 am on October 23, a male victim arrived at Virginia Hospital Center with a single gunshot wound. The injury is non-life threatening. There is no suspect(s) description and the investigation is ongoing.
Police say 23-year-old Jeffrey Gaskins showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s house on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street around 9:35 p.m. this past Sunday. He tried to kick in the front door, police said, and when that didn’t work he went to the back of the home, took out a gun and allegedly fired four shots at the house.
The ex-girlfriend, her two young children and an adult male were inside the home at the time but were uninjured. The man fled the scene after firing the shots and remains at large, according to a crime report.
“Warrants for four counts of attempted malicious shooting, shooting into an occupied dwelling, attempted burglary with the intent to commit murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and misdemeanor assault were issued” for Gaskins, police said.
Former Sheriff Sentenced for Shooting — Former Arlington County sheriff’s deputy Craig Patterson has been sentenced to six years in prison for a fatal shooting in Alexandria. Patterson shot and killed 22-year-old Julian Dawkins, a driver for the Shirlington-based PBS NewsHour, during a late-night confrontation in May 2013. Patterson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in December. [Washington Post]
Metro Track Work This Weekend — Track work on the Blue and Orange lines this weekend will result in trains running every 16 minutes, instead of the normal daytime service of a train every 12 minutes. [WMATA]
Yorktown Defensive End Signs with Citadel — Star Yorktown High School defensive end Logan Robinson will be playing football for The Citadel this fall. Robinson signed a national letter of intent for the military school on Wednesday. [Sun Gazette]
Pacers to Host ‘Cupid 5K Run’ — The Pentagon Row Pacers store (1101 S. Joyce Street) will host a Valentine’s Day-themed “fun run” next week. The run will start at the store at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, and will end at Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.), which will offer discounts to runners wearing white clothing or cupid wings. [Facebook]
Art Show at House of Steep — House of Steep (3800 Lee Highway) is hosting a collection of watercolors by Howard C. Smith, co-owner of Clarendon-based Beth Singer Design, through March 31. The company designed the current ARLnow logo. [Beth Singer Design]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
After Arlington Public Schools received word of the shooting, on the 2400 block of Ridge Road in Alexandria, Gunston Middle School, Oakridge Elementary and Abingdon Elementary were placed in a secured state, which generally means exterior doors were locked. That’s different than a “lockdown,” in which all classroom doors are locked.
The shooting happened in a residential Alexandria neighborhood around 11:30 a.m. A 59-year-old woman was killed and another woman was injured. Police are still looking for the suspect, described as an older white male, according to the Washington Post.
Gunston, Oakridge and Abingdon were secured for about 20 minutes, according to APS spokeswoman Jennifer Harris. The schools are all near the border with Alexandria, but are 2+ miles away from the shooting itself. Arlington school officials sent the following message to parents during the incident.
APS is sending this message to notify you that Gunston Middle School, Oakridge Elementary School and Abingdon Elementary School buildings are currently secured, due to an ongoing Alexandria Police investigation in the immediate area. All students, staff, and visitors to the school are safe. APS will update you when we are able to resume normal operations. We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation.
A man was shot overnight in Falls Church, a city spokeswoman said in a press release Saturday morning.
The shooting occurred on the 900 block of W. Broad Street, about a mile away from the Arlington border.
At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 28, City of Falls Church Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 900 block of W. Broad St. An adult male was transported to Fairfax Hospital for gunshot wounds; last report received is that he was in surgery. Police are on the scene investigating. More details will be released as they become available.
WUSA9 reports that the man was shot multiple times in the parking lot of a Taco Bell restaurant.
An Arlington couple is selling t-shirts they came up with as a way to raise money for those impacted by last month’s Navy Yard shooting.
Chris and Jennifer K. (they prefer not to reveal their full last name) had been trying to find a way to help those affected by the incident at the Navy Yard, where Jennifer works. Jennifer remembered a “Boston Strong” t-shirt she bought following the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this year. The couple figured something similar might work for the Navy Yard shooting, because Chris was already planning to run next month’s marathon in Athens, Greece. The “Run for the Navy Yard, 26.2-for-20” theme honors the 20 victims killed or wounded at the Navy Yard.
“We just thought this would be a great way to raise funds and help keep the victims’ memories alive through wearing the shirts,” said Chris.
Jennifer had been working on the third floor of building 197 when the shooting took place. She had been near an emergency exit and managed to escape to safety. Chris explained that his mother-in-law works just down the hall from Jennifer, but luckily had been on vacation that day. His mother-in-law’s office ended up being used as a shelter where employees barricaded themselves inside.
Chris said the family is incredibly thankful for Jennifer’s safety, and now the focus has turned to helping the families of those who weren’t so lucky.
“We just want to promote the t-shirts right now,” Chris said.
The money raised by the t-shirt sales goes to the Navy Yard Relief Fund. The couple already completed one round of fundraising, during which they sold 95 shirts. They recently launched a second round that runs through October 29. Although the fundraising websites Chris used required him to list a specific amount of money as an end goal, he and Jennifer don’t really have a set amount they’re aiming for. They just want to help out as much as they can.
“It’s just to really raise as much money as we can for the families and people who are really affected by it,” he said. “Any support people can give by buying the shirt or spreading the word is greatly appreciated.”
Anyone who wishes to buy one of the $25 shirts may do so online. The shirts will ship around two weeks after the fundraiser ends on October 29.
The incident took place this evening (Friday) on the 2400 block of S. Oxford Street.
So far, police are not confirming any details about the incident; it’s unclear if anyone was injured. Police are on the lookout for a vehicle connected to the incident.
Update on 10/7/13 — Police have not responded to multiple calls from ARLnow.com, but the department released the following about the incident today (Monday).
SHOOTING, 10/04/13, 2400 block of S. Oxford Street. At 9:15 pm on October 4, a 32 year-old male victim sustained a single gunshot wound to his abdomen outside of his residence. He was transported to Fairfax Hospital with non life threatening injuries. The two suspects were described as black males in their 20’s. They fled the scene in an unknown make and model vehicle that was driven by a third subject. The investigation is ongoing.
Prayer Vigil for Navy Yard Victims — St. George’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Square will be holding a 40 minute prayer vigil and candle lighting for victims of the Navy Yard mass shooting tonight. [ARLnow Events]
Va. Is Test State for Gun Data Sharing — Virginia is a test state for a nationally-linked system that will share information on guns used in crimes across law enforcement agencies. The system is intended to skirt federal law that prevents the sharing of federal gun trace information. As of Monday, twenty-five Virginia law enforcement agencies had signed on to the program. The Arlington County Police Department was not on that list. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Dedication for New Wakefield HS — A dedication ceremony will be held for the new Wakefield High School on Sunday. Students, staff and community members are invited to the ceremony, which starts at 1:30 p.m. It will be followed by tours of the school, an opening ceremony for Wakefield’s new aquatics center, and an aquatics center open house. [Arlington Public Schools]
Update at 7:50 p.m. — Officers entered the apartment and found a 37-year-old man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to police. A Chihuahua that was in the apartment has been turned over to animal control. Units are clearing the scene.
Earlier: Police have surrounded an apartment building on S. Glebe Road, near Shirlington, after officers heard a gunshot from one of the apartments.
Shortly before 4:00 p.m., officers responded to the Twenty400 building (2400 24th Road S.) to check on the welfare of a man who had not shown up for work for several days. Upon making entry into the apartment, officers heard a gunshot, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. They immediately backed out of the apartment and called for additional resources.
The apartment complex has been at least partially evacuated. Arlington’s SWAT team and bomb squad are now on the scene, preparing to use a robot to look inside the apartment, Sternbeck said. Police negotiators are also on scene. They’re not sure whether this might be a case of a suicide, or a subject who’s barricaded in the apartment.
“We don’t know what we have inside at this time,” said Sternbeck.
Police and bomb squad units have staged around apartment building, blocking at least one lane on S. Glebe Road and causing some traffic backups. Drivers should expect delays in the area.
Photo courtesy Brian Ossip
The first degree murder case against Arlington County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Patterson from a fatal shooting in Alexandria in May was sent to a grand jury on Tuesday afternoon.
Patterson, 44, is accused of shooting and killing 22-year-old Julian Dawkins, an Alexandria resident. Patterson and his attorneys claim Dawkins attacked him with a knife, and he fired on Dawkins in self-defense. After hearing more than two hours of witness testimony, Alexandria General District Court Judge Becky J. Moore ruled there was probable cause to move forward and sent the case to a grand jury.
Alexandria Police Officer Judy Taylor, a crime scene investigator, testified that Dawkins, who drove a shuttle for PBS NewsHour in Shirlington, had a knife clipped to the outer portion of his jeans pocket, but it was folded up.
Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel played in the courtroom the 911 call Patterson made after the shooting. It was the first time many, including Dawkins’ parents, had heard the call.
“I was just involved in a shooting,” Patterson said on the call, made at 12:45 a.m. on May 23. “I just had a young man pull a knife on me and I shot him.”
Dawkins suffered one bullet wound to the upper chest, investigators said. Witnesses testifying gave conflicting reports of the incident. Reginald White, who lives a few doors down from the scene of the incident on Lynhaven Drive, said he saw Patterson leave an argument with Dawkins, then return with a pistol holstered to his hip. Three minutes later, White said, he heard a gunshot.
Willie Sydnor, who lives a few houses down the street from where the shooting occurred, said he saw Dawkins chase Patterson after the initial incident.
Dawkins said “this is my block,” Sydnor testified. “Then I saw Julian jump at [Patterson] and say ‘don’t come back around here.'”
Officer David Chamnaiphol was the first to the scene, and he said he immediately placed Patterson in handcuffs and took away his gun, badge, handcuffs, cell phone and wallet. The Officer of the Medical Examiner reported that Dawkins had a blood alcohol content of 0.15.
The courtroom was filled to the point where members of the community were standing along the back wall to fit inside. Many of Dawkins’ peers were wearing commemorative T-shirts that said “R.I.P. Juju.” Dawkins’ parents took questions outside of the Alexandria courthouse once the decision came down, giving their reaction to hearing the 911 call for the first time.
“After hearing that call, I truly feel that it was premeditated,” Gwen Prattmiller, Dawkins’ mother, said.
“He had no remorse,” said Curtis Dawkins, Julian Dawkins’ father. “Right now we’re thankful that a decision was made and it was the proper decision.”
Photo via Alexandria Police Department
The incident happened at the cemetery’s parking lot around 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half before President Obama was scheduled to lay a wreath at the cemetery.
According to a spokeswoman for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH), which has jurisdiction over the incident, a cemetery visitor returned to his car in the parking garage after visiting the gravesite of a friend. The man reportedly opened the door to his vehicle and tried moving a handgun from under the seat.
The privately-owned gun fell out of its holster and underneath the vehicle, however, and fired once as the man attempted to retrieve it. The discharged bullet hit the leg of a vehicle passenger — the man’s mother — who then had to be transported to George Washington University Hospital with a non-life threatening injury. Nobody else was injured.
Visitors are prohibited from bringing a gun to the cemetery, according to JBMHH spokeswoman Sharon Walker.
“Weapons of any type are not authorized on military installations or reservations such as [Arlington National Cemetery],” said Walker. “Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Police and Arlington National Cemetery security personnel responded to the call.”
The Ft. Myer Fire Department and the Arlington County Fire Department also responded to the incident.
The owner of the gun was an active duty military service member, according to JBMHH spokeswoman Leah Rubalcaba, and the charges are pending under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to Walker.
Photo via Google Maps