Amid community pressure, Arlington County is taking a closer look at ways to improve safety in Green Valley.
Some residents are pushing for more action from the county on two fronts: dealing with nuisances and more actively policing criminal activity. In response to the mounting concerns, an internal county workgroup is beginning to meet this week to find ways to do just that.
The nuisances are related to drinking and smoking as well as public urination and loud music associated with some of the people who hang out around the John Robinson, Jr. Town Square, neighbors tell ARLnow. The criminal issues relate to gun violence, which some neighbors tie to the unaddressed open-air substance use.
Throughout the day, people can be seen hanging out in the area. Yesterday (Tuesday), for instance, ARLnow observed a handful of people sitting in folding chairs outside of The Shelton, an affordable housing building, while two other groups were congregated in the town square, talking and listening to music.
Neighbors, including Yordanos Woldai, say they don’t have an issue with people hanging out. They just want people not to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana outdoors, urinate in public or play music during quiet hours.
“Having lived in Arlington for such a long time, I am not aware of any other residential neighborhood where this conduct is allowed to happen in plain sight and not be addressed by the police,” Woldai tells ARLnow. “Children have to walk on the streets at times because there is no way to pass and there are broken beer bottles on sidewalks and grass.”
A few of the people hanging out told ARLnow that nearly everyone on the square yesterday likely came from outside Green Valley to this area to be together. Many grew up in the neighborhood but have since moved away.
One man, who appeared to be drinking beer from a plastic cup, put his hand out close to the ground and raised it up slowly to show how much of early childhood, marked in growth spurts, he spent in the neighborhood.
“They feel they are very much part of the community,” Woldai said. “I love the idea that people come to Green Valley to connect with old friends… It’s the illegal activities that are bothersome.”
Woldai addressed the Arlington County Board on Saturday about her concerns and said she had the support of 37 neighbors. This includes Lily Bozhanova, a Bulgarian immigrant who has lived in the area for five years with her family.
“My children are 5 and 7-year-olds. We often go to the spray park there and I sometimes have to explain to my children why they see people smoke or drink plein air. It’s not good but they see it every day and it’s a deterrent for going in the area,” she told ARLnow.
Bozhanova says she tries to avoid the area in the evening and lately Googled whether bullets can pass through brick.
“I shouldn’t be looking up to see whether my house can sustain gunshots. Brick is relatively safe, by the way,” she said.
Although she is grateful for the life she has built, she says, “it’s not exactly the American Dream we were trying to achieve moving here.”
Frank Duncan, a longtime resident of The Shelton (3215 24th Street S.) said he was shot last summer. A relative was also shot not long after.
“That’s the story about the life we live here,” he said.
Still, he said he cannot move away because it will be hard to find space in another low-income apartment building. He says he does what he can to promote safety in part by volunteering as a crossing guard for Drew Elementary School students.
Woldai ties the shootings to the nuisance issues.
“When people know there isn’t really a police presence in a neighborhood where you can drink and smoke marijuana, it attracts more serious crimes,” she said. “That has been a serious concern for residents living near the town square.”
Police are investigating after a car was shot up near Barcroft Park last night.
It happened just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday on the 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. According to an Arlington County Police Department crime report, a verbal dispute escalated to an assault, followed by the suspects shooting at the victims as they drove away.
The vehicle was damaged but no one was hurt, police said.
More, below, from ACPD.
SHOTS FIRED, 2023-04130288, 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 11:26 p.m. on April 13, police were dispatched to the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, it was determined the two victims and two suspects, who are known to each other, became involved in a verbal dispute during which Suspect One allegedly brandished a firearm and Suspect Two assaulted Victim One. As the victims left the area in a vehicle, the Suspect One allegedly discharged the firearm, striking the vehicle and causing property damage. No injuries were reported. The suspects fled the area in a black sedan prior to the arrival of police. The investigation is ongoing.
SHOTS FIRED INCIDENT — 4200 blk South Four Mile Rd in Arlington. So far, nobody found shot. But there is a shot-up auto. This was possibly related to a car meetup. Fairfax helo assisting. Police are searching the area for the shooter. @HelicoptersofDC @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/ECArL56NFg
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) April 14, 2023
(Updated at 3 p.m.) The passenger in a car that was pulled over for a traffic stop apparently shot himself, prompting a large police presence in the Clarendon area.
The shooting happened just after 9:20 p.m.
According to initial reports, police pulled over the car near 10th Street N. and N. Edgewood Street and, after it stopped, an officer told dispatchers that the passenger shot himself in the head. The driver then exited the vehicle, per scanner traffic.
The passenger was rushed to the hospital after police safely retrieved the gun. All lanes of 10th Street N. are currently closed due to the investigation into what happened
Arlington County police said later Wednesday night that the person who shot himself had earlier fled from Virginia State Police and was in a rideshare vehicle at the time of the shooting.
“Just after 8 p.m., Arlington County Police were notified of a Virginia State Police pursuit into Arlington County,” ACPD said in a statement. “An individual ran from the pursued vehicle on foot and a lookout was broadcast. An Arlington County Police officer observed the individual enter a rideshare vehicle and officers conducted a traffic stop at 10th Street N. and N. Edgewood Street.”
“The individual discharged a firearm inside the vehicle, resulting in a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” the police statement continued. “He has been transported to an area hospital. Arlington County Police and Virginia State Police remain on scene investigating. Arlington County Police were not involved in the pursuit.”
As of Thursday afternoon, ACPD announced in a press release (below) that the man had died.
The Arlington County Police Department is conducting a death investigation following a shooting that took place on the evening of March 22, 2023.
Just after 8 p.m., Arlington County Police were notified of a Virginia State Police pursuit into Arlington County. A lookout was broadcast after a passenger ran from the suspect vehicle into the Clarendon neighborhood. An Arlington County Police officer patrolling the area observed the individual enter the backseat of a rideshare vehicle. Officers conducted a traffic stop at 10th Street N. and N. Edgewood Street during which the individual discharged a firearm inside the vehicle, resulting in a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers immediately began performing emergency medical assistance before the individual, an adult male in his 20’s, was transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
Arlington County Police were not involved in the pursuit. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death.
This remains an active death investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County 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 or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911. You can also call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, Arlington Dept. of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160, or CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
Hat tip to Alan Henney
A Pentagon City resident has been charged after accidentally shooting a neighbor.
The incident happened last night on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street, in the apartments near Pentagon Row.
“At approximately 10:30 p.m. on March 8, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “The investigation indicates the male suspect was allegedly cleaning his firearm inside his residence when it discharged and the round entered an adjacent unit and struck the victim.”
“The victim was transported to an area hospital in stable condition for treatment of injuries considered non-life threatening,” the crime report continues. “The suspect remained on scene and the firearm was recovered. [The suspect], 47, of Arlington, Va. was charged with Reckless Handling of a Firearm.”
Initial reports suggest that the victim was struck in the leg.
(LATE REPORT) 03/08 22:31hrs. Accidental Shooting. Multiple 911 calls, man claimed he was cleaning his gun when it discharged/struck another person in the leg.
1301 S Joyce St, Arlington VA.
Victim located: 1201 S Joyce, @ArlingtonVaFD NLT transport to VHC.
cc: @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/CmNvP2os2E
— Matthew Young (@matthewyoung31) March 9, 2023
A 69-year-old Connecticut man is in jail after police say he shot himself and falsely claimed he had been shot during a robbery attempt.
The shooting happened two weeks ago in the parking garage of the Hilton Garden Inn in the Courthouse neighborhood, a block from Arlington County police headquarters.
The man was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said at the time.
This morning, police announced that the man who was shot had been arrested and faces a number of charges, including filing a false police report.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is announcing an arrest in a shooting that occurred in the 1300 block of N. Courthouse Road on February 15, 2023. Chester Dunican, 69, of Waterford, CT, is charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Discharge Firearm in Public and False Police Report. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
The suspect initially reported to police that he was placing items into his vehicle when an unknown male wearing a ski mask approached, demanded his wallet and shot him. During the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered numerous inconsistencies between the suspect’s account of the incident and evidence recovered. The investigation ultimately determined the suspect shot himself and tried to make it appear as though an attempted robbery had occurred. He was taken into custody on the afternoon of February 27, 2023, after his release from the hospital for injuries sustained during the incident.
News reports suggest that Dunican’s felony conviction was quite recent.
He pleaded guilty in a Michigan federal court this past October to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge stems from a scheme that defrauded a Native American tribe of more than $1 million, various news outlets reported. The reports also note that it’s not the first time Dunican had been implicated in a business scheme.
“Dunican is known in Maine for several business ventures that became entangled in financial and legal problems,” the Portland Press Herald reported, adding that, according to Dunican’s attorney, he previously served in the military and has “serious and chronic health conditions.”
Dunican was set to be sentenced on Feb. 14, a day before the shooting, but “informed the court he had car problems and was unable to make it to the hearing,” another Maine newspaper reported. He faces up to 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release for the fraud charge, though federal sentences are typically lower than the maximum under statute.
According to ACPD, Dunican is currently being held without bond at the county jail in Courthouse, following his release from the hospital yesterday (Monday).
Arlington County police are investigating a shooting that happened around 8 p.m. in the Virginia Square neighborhood.
The incident happened around 8 p.m. along Washington Blvd at N. Nelson Street, near Quincy Park.
Initial reports suggest that two cars were driving down the street and at least three gunshots were fired from one vehicle at the other. Responding officers were unable to locate the suspects or any victims, according to scanner traffic.
Update at 2 p.m. — ACPD just released the following about the incident in the department’s daily crime report.
SHOTS FIRED, 2023-02210199, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 7:59 p.m. on February 21, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the drivers of two vehicles became involved in a dispute, during which the male suspect exited his vehicle, brandished a firearm and discharged rounds, striking the victim’s vehicle. No injuries were reported. The suspect then fled the scene in a gray coupe vehicle. Responding officers canvassed the area yielding negative results.
A man who was arrested for a shooting in Alexandria nearly two weeks ago was released on bond in Arlington on felony weapons charges this past fall.
Arlington resident Tyayre Reynolds, 21, was arrested by officers during a traffic stop along S. Glebe Road on the evening of Friday, Feb. 10. He was later transferred to the custody of the Alexandria Police Department, according to Arlington County police.
Reynolds was wanted in Alexandria in connection with a shooting that happened there that same day, in the Arlandria neighborhood.
A 30-year-old man was shot in the upper body and suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries in the attack, our sister site ALXnow reported. Reynolds was charged with malicious wounding, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Reynolds was out on bond while awaiting trial for the weapons charges in Arlington, according to court records.
He also previously pleaded guilty in July 2022 to a misdemeanor assault charge after threatening, then shoving, an Arlington Public Safety Aide while his car was towed.
(Public Safety Aide is the term for ACPD personnel who enforce parking regulations and help with traffic control, among other responsibilities.)
Arlington County and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti says her office argued in October for Reynolds to be held in jail for the felony gun possession charges, but he was instead released on bond by a judge.
“We objected to bond… [but] the court made the decision to release him on various conditions,” says Dehghani-Tafti. “We take serious conduct seriously.”
ARLnow requested comment from judges with the Arlington County General District Court, but did not receive a response by publication time. The Office of the Magistrate handles the initial bond decision when the police are charging someone. General District Court judges handle bond motions.
Reynolds was pulled over in the early morning hours of Oct. 20, 2022 because the car he was driving was improperly registered and he didn’t stop at a red light, police allege. He was given two traffic citations, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. Additionally, police searched his car and found a firearm, so they arrested him on charges of being a violent felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
These stem from a felony conviction in Maryland. In September 2018, a then-17-year-old Reynolds was charged as an adult for assault and armed robbery of a food delivery driver in Waldorf, Southern Maryland News Net reported at the time.
Reynolds robbed the worker of $91 in cash at gunpoint, struck him with the butt of the gun, and kicked him while he was down, per the article. He kicked the delivery man in the torso and legs while he was down. Officers found a semi-automatic-style BB gun on the scene, broken in two after it was used to strike the victim.
Maryland Circuit Court records indicate he plead guilty in February 2019 and was sentenced in May 2019 to just over two years in prison.
While Reynolds is being held in Alexandria, he has a court date in Arlington General District Court on March 23. The court is checking on the status of an “evidentiary matter” for his prior felony weapon and ammunition possession case, says Dehghani-Tafti.
This July, he has a hearing on whether or not he has met the conditions of his release for the misdemeanor charge from May, the prosecutor said. Conditions usually include good behavior.
ALXnow reporter James Cullum contributed to this report
A man was shot and seriously injured in Courthouse early this morning.
Initial reports suggest a man was shot in the lower torso in the parking garage of the Hilton Garden Inn on N. Courthouse Road, a block from Arlington County police headquarters, potentially as a result of a robbery.
The victim was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Police are working to sort out the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting.
“The investigation into the events that preceded the shooting is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact ACPD’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” police said via social media.
UPDATE: The victim sustained serious, non life-threatening injuries. The investigation into the events that preceded the shooting is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact ACPD’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 15, 2023
New: Shooting at the Hilton Garden Inn on N. Courthouse Rd just 1/2 block from @ArlingtonVaPD Headquarters. One person shot. @FairfaxCountyPD K9 assisting. @ARLnowDOTcom @matthewyoung31 @DCCelebrity @RealTimeNews10 #police #arlington #crime pic.twitter.com/k2wOIzPLc0
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) February 15, 2023
(Updated at 1 p.m.) A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. in front of Caspi, located at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive, next to the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse. It followed a dispute inside the lounge, according to police.
Initial reports suggest that a man was shot multiple times, including in the lower torso, and that a dark-colored Audi or BMW was seen speeding away after. There was at least one bullet hole in the window of Caspi, but no one inside was injured, according to scanner traffic.
Responding officers called for backup due to a large crowd around the scene.
Arlington County police say the man suffered serious injuries and was rushed to a local hospital. He remains hospitalized in critical condition.
It is unclear whether this morning’s shooting is related to recent incidents in and around Arlington, including:
- Jan: 27: A 17-year-old Arlington teen was arrested for a fatal shooting in an Alexandria hotel
- Jan. 28-29: Gunfire in the Green Valley and Arlington Mill neighborhoods
- Jan. 30: A man was shot after gunfire in Green Valley and along Columbia Pike, where the Bob & Edith’s Diner was damaged by bullets
- Feb. 2: Wakefield High School was locked down due to a possibly armed intruder seeking out a student. An 18-year-old man was later arrested and faces several charges, including gun charges.
ACPD issued the following press release about the shooting just before 1 p.m.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on Columbia Pike in the early morning hours of February 4, 2023.
At approximately 12:53 a.m., police were dispatched to the report of a shooting in the 2900 block of Columbia Pike. Responding officers located an adult male victim on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds and immediately began rendering aid. Medics transported the victim to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition.
The preliminary investigation indicates a dispute inside a restaurant involving a large group preceded the shooting. The victim then exited the restaurant and the suspect brandished a firearm and discharged multiple rounds, injuring the victim and causing property damage to the building. The suspect fled the scene on foot and officers canvassed the area yielding negative results. The suspect is described as a slim build, Black male in his 20’s.
This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with videos, photos, or other media which may assist the investigation is asked to upload those files to our evidence submission portal. Any additional information related to this incident may be provided by contacting the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] or anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
UPDATE: The adult male victim was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. The investigation into the events that preceded the shooting is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact ACPD’s tip line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected]
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 4, 2023
— ARLINGTONAF (@ARLINGTONAF) February 4, 2023
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) One person was seriously injured and Bob & Edith’s Diner was damaged after two incidents of gunfire in Arlington last night.
The first shooting happened in the Green Valley neighborhood, near the intersection of 22nd Street S. and S. Kenmore Street, shortly after 11 p.m. Witnesses reported hearing 5-6 gunshots in the area, exchanged between two vehicles, per scanner traffic.
Shortly thereafter, gunfire was reported along the 2300 block of Columbia Pike and apparent bullet holes were found in the windows of Bob & Edith’s Diner. No one at the diner was hurt, according to police.
Then, at 11:20 p.m., an officer reported to dispatch that a person who was shot had arrived at Virginia Hospital Center in a car with numerous bullet holes. The driver of the vehicle was detained for questioning, per scanner traffic.
Police said the gunshot victim was treated for “serious injuries.” The Fairfax County police helicopter was called in to help search for the suspects but nothing was found, according to Arlington County police.
In a press release issued later this morning, police said that the victim is in stable condition, confirmed that the two shootings are linked, and asked for tips.
The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was stopped at the traffic light at 22nd Street S. and S. Kenmore Street when the suspect discharged multiple rounds at the victim’s vehicle from a black sedan. Following the shooting, the victim drove away from the scene but the suspect followed and discharged additional rounds towards the victim’s vehicle at Columbia Pike and S. Wayne Street. The victim was then able to leave the scene and seek medical assistance at a hospital.
Responding officers processed both scenes, collected evidence, spoke with witnesses and conducted an aerial search with the assistance of a police helicopter. Residents are asked to review their home surveillance for any video that may assist the ongoing investigation. Additionally, 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 reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
This was not the week’s first outburst of gunfire. Shots were fired overnight Sunday into Monday in the Green Valley and Arlington Mills neighborhoods, but no injuries have been reported from those incidents.
There were at least three shootings in Green Valley last year:
- A man shot and seriously injured near the Lucky Seven Food Mart on July 6, 2022
- A man shot by police after he allegedly walked around the neighborhood firing gunshots at random on Oct. 14, 2022
- A man shot and seriously injured after an apparent dispute, resulting in the arrest of a 40-year-old Arlington resident, on Nov. 27, 2022
CONTINUED: ACPD is also investigating the report of shots fired in the 2300 block of Columbia Pike. No injuries have been reported. A police helicopter is assisting with an aerial search of the Green Valley & Columbia Pike incidents. Expect continued police presence in the areas.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 31, 2023
update: The Fairfax County police helicopter is making a routine sweep of the area to search for anything additional. @HelicoptersofDC @ARLnowDOTcom https://t.co/DbDAl2upO5 pic.twitter.com/rqxPVqUHUq
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) January 31, 2023
Video of @ArlingtonVaPD near Bob & Edith's on Columbia Pike at 11:15. Report of shots (some on Twitter say they heard it). Haven't learned what ACPD found. This occurred a few mins. after Green Valley shooting. @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/jZeHC7IDok
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) January 31, 2023
Same. 4-6 ish shots and some huge tire squealing in the middle of it.
— Jess H (@mistwit33) January 31, 2023
A 17-year-old Arlington boy is in custody after another teen was shot to death in an Alexandria hotel over the weekend
The shooting happened Friday night on an upper floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Alexandria Pentagon South Hotel, along I-395 near the Mark Center, according to scanner traffic.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting are not clear, but Alexandria police reportedly took the Arlington teen into custody a couple of blocks from the hotel. So far, he has only been charged with possession of a firearm by a person under 18.
More from an Alexandria police press release:
The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a deadly shooting incident that occurred Friday, January 27, 2023, in the 4600 block of Kenmore Avenue.
At approximately 11:29 p.m. APD Officers were dispatched to a shots fired call for service in the 4600 block of Kenmore Avenue. Upon arrival, police discovered one victim, a 17-year-old juvenile male, non-city resident, with upper body trauma from an apparent gunshot wound. The victim was then transported to the hospital and later was pronounced dead.
APD has made one arrest in connection with this incident of a 17-year-old juvenile male, an Arlington County resident. The male was charged with possession of a firearm by a person under 18.
This incident remains under investigation and APD is asking anyone who may have information related to this case to contact Detective Matthew Kramarik via phone at 703.746.6650, email at [email protected], or call our non-emergency line at 703.746.4444. Tips can be anonymous.
Photo via Google Maps. Hat tip to Alan Henney.