An Arlington man shot by police last year after allegedly trying to hit officers with his van is now set to face a trial next month, though it initially appeared he was moving closer to a plea deal.
Steve Best, 52, is scheduled for a four-day trial in Arlington County Circuit Court starting March 25, facing a charge of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer.
County police shot Best several times during a confrontation on May 3 on a street just off Columbia Pike, alleging that he tried to flee a traffic stop. In the process, police say Best nearly struck an officer and rammed into some police vehicles.
Yet Best has steadfastly maintained his innocence in the months since, as has his family. His lawyers argue that he tried to surrender when police opened fire, and that he only tried to drive away from the scene in a fit of confusion.
Last fall, it appeared as if Best would be accepting plea deal to put the matter to rest, though county prosecutors did not reveal many details about their plans for the case.
However, court records show that a proposed plea hearing was ultimately postponed, and Best hired a new lawyer shortly afterward. By late November, prosecutors began subpoenaing witnesses in the case, and set a trial date soon afterward — a rarity in the legal system, where the vast majority of cases are resolved by plea agreements.
Best’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what, if anything, has changed about the legal proceedings.
Court documents show that prosecutors issued subpoenas in late January to eight potential witnesses, as the case moves closer to trial.
Best’s attorneys have sought to gain access to evidence of their own, claiming that surveillance video from businesses nearby will corroborate Best’s version of events.
Police say they initially tried to pull Best over as he drove near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, claiming he drove down 12th Street S. before abandoning the van at the intersection of 13th Street S. and S. Irving Street. Accordingly, Best’s attorneys have been focused on gaining access to video from businesses along those side streets, including the Day’s Inn hotel parking lots, located near the intersection of 11th Street S. and S. Highland Street.
However, court records don’t contain any details about what the videos showed.
In all, Best claims he was shot half a dozen times, losing one of his fingers as a result of the incident.
Photo via GoFundMe
The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. last Thursday, on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street in the Halls Hill neighborhood.
Police say two men dressed in all black tried to rob a man who was standing outside of his residence. When the man refused to give them money, one of the suspects pistol whipped him, but accidentally fired a shot in the process. That prompted the suspects to flee the scene empty-handed.
No one was hurt and nothing was damaged by the shot, but the victim suffered a laceration on his head from being struck with the gun, according to police. The suspects remain at large.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-01240225, 1900 block of N. Culpepper Street. At approximately 10:58 p.m. on January 24, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was outside of his residence when he was approached by two male suspects. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money. When the victim declined, he was struck in the head with the firearm, causing a laceration that required medical treatment. Simultaneously, this action resulted in the discharge of the firearm. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. No additional damage or injuries were reported as a result of the discharge of the firearm. Arriving officers canvased the area and a K9 track was initiated with negative results. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 6’0″-6’1″, approximately 30-40 years old, wearing black pants, black hooded sweatshirts, black hats and black sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.
This week, police responded to a store on the 4700 block of Columbia Pike for a report of a man filming women in a dressing room. The only clothing store on that block is the Goodwill retail store.
More from ACPD:
PEEPING, 2019-01280189, 4700 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 7:19 p.m. on January 28, police were dispatched to the report of a peeper. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victims were inside the dressing room at a business when they observed a male suspect holding a cell phone over the dressing room wall and allegedly taking photos. The victims confronted the suspect and informed him they were calling police, which prompted him to flee the business prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a tall, thin black male, approximately 5’11”-6’0″, with dreadlocks, a black beard, chipped teeth with a gap in the center, wearing a long black jacket, light khaki pants, white headphones, and black and white sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.
Other notable items from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.
(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.
The shooting happened around 9 p.m. on the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street and involved a suspect and a victim that knew each other, according to police. One person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital via ambulance.
A neighbor told ARLnow that there was a “heavy police presence and crime scene tape” near where the shooting happened.
Based on the preliminary investigation, this incident appears to involve known individuals. This remains an active investigation and there is no known threat to the community.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) January 30, 2019
ACPD released additional information about the shooting Wednesday afternoon, saying three people were involved in a physical altercation and one was shot, though so far no arrests have been made.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place in the Nauck neighborhood on the evening of January 29, 2019.
At approximately 9:05 p.m. on January 29, police were dispatched to the 2200 block of S. Oxford Street for the report of shots heard. Upon arrival, officers located three male subjects involved in a physical altercation. The subjects were separated by police and it was determined that one was suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other two subjects did not require medical treatment.
This incident remains an active criminal investigation and police continue to work to determine what preceded the altercation. All parties involved have been identified and no charges have been sought at this time. Based on the preliminary investigation, there appears to be no ongoing threat to the community.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
Map via Google Maps
Arlington Police say they worked with their counterparts in Alexandria to arrest 24-year-old Juan Francisco Rivera Pineda in the city yesterday (Jan. 3).
Police believe Rivera Pineda shot a man near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road, near the county line, around 7 p.m. last Sunday (Dec. 30).
The victim was rushed to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, but he’s expected to survive his wounds.
Rivera Pineda is now facing charges of aggravated malicious wounding and use of firearm in the commission of a felony.
He’ll face a hearing on those charges in Arlington General District Court on April 2 and is currently being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Center.
Photo courtesy of Arlington Police
Arlington County Police are investigating a shooting that happened last night on S. Glebe Road.
A man was shot at the intersection of Glebe and S. Arlington Ridge Road, two blocks away from Gunston Middle School, around 7 p.m., according to police. The victim is expected to survive and police are still seeking the shooter.
More from an ACPD press release, issued just after noon today (Monday):
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on the evening of December 30, 2018.
At approximately 7:03 p.m., police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown at the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road. Upon arrival on scene, officers located a male victim suffering from trauma to the upper body and immediately began performing life saving measures. The victim was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. Following medical treatment, the victim’s condition has been upgraded to stable and he is expected to survive his wounds.
This incident remains an active criminal investigation. At this time, no suspect(s) have been identified and there are no suspect(s) descriptions. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective J. Trainer of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4185 or [email protected]
Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
POLICE ACTIVITY: ACPD is investigating a shooting at S. Glebe Rd. and Arlington Ridge Rd. One male victim has been transported to an area hospital with life threatening injuries. Police remain on scene investigating.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) December 31, 2018
(Update at 2:20 p.m.) Police are now investigating an incident where two people were shot and killed at a Seven Corners-area apartment complex as a murder-suicide.
Fairfax County Police say the incident happened just before noon today (Tuesday) along the 3100 block of S. Manchester Street, near the Arlington County line.
Investigators now believe a man struck a woman with an SUV, and shot her. He then shot and killed himself, police believe.
Detectives are now working to identify the people involved.
Police don’t believe there’s any threat to the public associated with the shooting, but are still advising people to avoid the area.
Officers are in the 3100 block of South Manchester Street in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County for two people who have been shot. Please stay clear of the area while we investigate. Updates to follow. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/DUN2c5Yimv
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 18, 2018
Photo via @FairfaxCountyPD
Rosslyn Shooter Sentenced — “A man who worked as an investigator for conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman will serve nine years in prison for shooting and wounding his ex-boss” in a Rosslyn hotel parking garage. [Washington Post]
Marijuana Arrest Disparity — “African Americans were more than eight times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana crimes in Arlington from 2010-2016.” [Bacon’s Rebellion]
More on Long Bridge Plan — “New plans call to double the number of railroad tracks over the Potomac River between DC and Arlington, and to build a new pedestrian/bicycle bridge between Southwest Washington and Crystal City.” [Greater Greater Washington]
New Gym Coming to Arlington — “Blink Fitness is gearing up to expand into Northern Virginia with five new locations in Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. Northern Virginia-based Cove Fitness LLC inked the 10-year agreement with the New York fitness chain to bring gyms to the region that will create about 70 jobs and occupy 90,000 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Crystal City Still in Spotlight — “I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it’s easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters.” [Business Insider]
Most Elaborate Cubicle Xmas Decoration Ever? — At WJLA in Rosslyn, a TV director named Mason Herndon has converted his office cubicle into a log cabin complete with fake snow, a fake fireplace and Christmas lights. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
Still No Answers About Ghaisar Shooting — Tuesday was the one year anniversary of the death of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot by U.S. Park Police officers. Thus far, Arlington County has declined to release the recording or transcript of 911 calls connected to the case. [WUSA 9]
Spotted: Beto and TMZ at DCA — Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who narrowly lost his nationally-followed electoral challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was seen being interviewed by a TMZ producer outside of Reagan National Airport yesterday. [Twitter]
Chamber: Keep Dillon Rule — “As part of its 2019 package of legislative priorities, the [Arlington] Chamber of Commerce is continuing its belief that the ‘Dillon Rule‘ needs to be maintained, and urged members of the General Assembly to do nothing that would lessen it.” [InsideNova]
Ballston Booster Saves Dozen Dogs — Ballston BID chief Tina Leone has “rescued more than 200 dogs from around the world, and brought a dozen more to Northern Virginia on Monday.” [Patch]
Nearby: Pedestrian’s Foot Run Over Along W&OD Trail — Last week at a road crossing of the W&OD Trail in Falls Church, “a black or gray sedan of unknown make failed to yield to a pedestrian on the sidewalk, ran over their foot, and failed to stop at the scene.” [City of Falls Church]
Flickr pool photo by Duluoz Me
An Arlington man shot by police after he allegedly tried to ram officers with his van appears to have struck a deal with county prosecutors to avoid a trial.
Court records show that Steven Best now has a Nov. 5 plea hearing set for Arlington County Circuit Court. He’s facing a single charge of the attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, after a grand jury agreed there was enough evidence to indict him on Sept. 24.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, the county’s top prosecutor, declined to comment on the contents of Best’s plea deal, other than to confirm that there is indeed a hearing scheduled for next month. Best’s family did also not reply to a request for comment, and neither the prosecution nor the defense has filed any paperwork involving the plea as of yet.
Police claimed that Best tried to flee the scene of a May 3 traffic stop just off Columbia Pike, near the intersection of 12th Street S. and S. Edgewood Street, nearly striking Officer Ryan Reese in the process. Police then opened fire on Best, and his lawyers say he was shot half a dozen times as he drove away.
Yet Best has steadfastly maintained his innocence since the incident, arguing in court filings and an online fundraiser organized by his family that he was trying to surrender when police began shooting at him.
He claimed that he only drove away out of confusion and fear for his life, and didn’t mean to attack the officers involved. Police originally charged with two counts of trying to assault the officers, subsequently reduced to one after a review by prosecutors.
Best’s attorneys claimed in court documents that surveillance video from nearby businesses would provide “exculpatory evidence” to bolster his claims of innocence, and they demanded access to video footage to help prove his case.
Court filings don’t make it clear whether they were able to successfully secure that footage, or what it showed.
Photo via GoFundMe
The two suspects wanted for a shooting in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood last week have been arrested.
Arlington County Police say Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, 24, and Osman Mohamed, 25, were arrested in the Virginia Square area and are now facing numerous charges.
The shooting happened just a block from Drew Elementary School. Police say the shots were fired after “a minor verbal dispute occurred between one victim and suspects inside a convenience store.”
More from an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department has arrested two suspects wanted for their role in a shooting that occurred last week in the Nauck neighborhood. Ahmed Ali Mahmoud, 24, and Osman Mohamed, 25, were arrested in the 3400 block of Fairfax Drive and charged with Malicious Wounding by Mob, Discharging a Firearm in a Public Place (within 1000 feet of a school zone), Malicious Wounding and Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony. Both men are being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.
At approximately 2:03 p.m. on September 20, police were dispatched to the 2000 block of S. Kenmore Street for the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined that a minor verbal dispute occurred between one victim and suspects inside a convenience store. The victim then exited the store and entered a vehicle with two additional victims. The two suspects approached the vehicle on foot where the dispute escalated and shots were fired by the suspects in the direction of the vehicle. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. One victim was treated for a minor injury.
This remains an ongoing criminal investigation and anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Arlington County Police are investigating a reported shooting in the Nauck neighborhood.
The shooting happened along S. Kenmore Street, less than a block from a preschool, an elementary school and a church. Initial reports suggest at least one person was either shot, grazed by a bullet or injured by shrapnel. A police helicopter has been assisting with the search for suspects as K9 units and heavily-armed officers comb the area.
“At 2:00 three gunshots were heard in the vicinity of S. Kenmore and S. Shirlington Road,” a tipster told ARLnow.com via email. “Children from Drew Elementary School were urgently ushered inside by a running staff member from their playing outside on the school basketball court.”
The victim’s injuries are reported to be minor and he was treated and released on scene, according to police.
The incident started as a verbal dispute among three people at a nearby 7-Eleven store, according to ACPD spokesman Ashley Savage. That dispute escalated and shots were fired near the intersection of S. Kenmore Street and 22nd Street S. One person was injured and two fled the scene, Savage said.
A traffic stop on southbound I-395, not far from the shooting scene, did not turn up either of the shooting suspects, according to Savage.
— Lois Layne (@MetropolisGal) September 20, 2018
Drew Elementary had been placed in “secure the building” mode as a result of the shooting, according to an Arlington Public Schools spokesman. The school eventually dismissed on time, according to an email sent to parents by principal Kim Graves.
Dear Drew Families:
We just received the “all clear” from the Arlington County Police Department.
We will proceed with dismissal as scheduled. Due to the ongoing police investigation, buses are just arriving at the school. As a result, students who ride the bus will be delayed in leaving school.
Thank you for your understanding and patience. Please feel free to call if you have any questions.
Police are clearing the scene. The investigation is ongoing. The shooting was between parties involved in a dispute and there is no known threat to the community. Public, as always, is asked to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to police.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) September 20, 2018
Photo via Google Maps