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Wondwossen Kassu in 2019 (courtesy of ACPD)

(Updated at 11 a.m.) An Arlington County jury found a 43-year-old man guilty of stabbing three people in Rosslyn three years ago.

Wondwossen Kassu stabbed two men sitting at a table inside Gateway Park in May 2019 and a third man walking by. The jury convicted him on three counts of malicious wounding.

Kassu is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6 in the Arlington County Circuit Court. Malicious wounding is a felony that carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years.

“This was a tough case, but my office will never shy away from prosecuting such acts of violence,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, in a statement. “We are grateful for the jury’s verdict, and we were happy to provide some measure of closure to the victims.”

On May 21, 2019, Kassu approached two men sitting at a table inside the park and began talking to them, according to the 2019 police report. Then, he stabbed them and a third man who happened to be nearby.

Two of the victims were able to flee and get help. All three required hospitalization, but survived the attacks.

More on the crime from an Arlington County Police Department press release at the time:

At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.

Dehghani-Tafti, elected as the top prosecutor for Arlington and Falls Church on a criminal justice reform platform, has faced some local skepticism — culminating in a recall campaign organized by a Northern Virginia political group last year — about whether she is sufficiently tough on crime. Dehghani-Tafti’s office started sending press releases about major convictions earlier this year.

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Morning Notes

Thanksgiving week in Shirlington (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

ACPD Thanksgiving Anti-DUI Event — “On Thanksgiving-eve, traditionally a time of celebrations with heavy alcohol consumption, ACPD, in partnership with WRAP, is hosting a Thanksgiving anti-drunk driving event to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills. This free event is open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, November 24, at N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard, from 8:00-10:00 p.m.” [ACPD, Twitter]

Shirlington Apartment Employee Slashed — “An employee of the residential building discovered that the laundry room had been locked and upon opening it, discovered the unknown male suspect inside. The suspect produced a knife and struck the victim’s hand, causing a laceration. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. Arriving officers canvased the area with negative results. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” [ACPD]

Bus Driver Protest in Ballston — “Arlington Public Schools bus drivers are protesting again, this time in Ballston. They’re chanting and getting passing drivers to honk in favor of better pay and fair treatment.” [Twitter, WJLA]

County Seeks Budget Feedback — “Each winter, the County Manager presents a proposed operating budget to the County Board in order to plan spending for the next fiscal year. We’d like to know your thoughts on how Arlington should prioritize necessary spending in FY 2023. Help us get better insight on questions such as: How would you rate the importance of County programs and services?” [Arlington County]

Clement: Fewer Signs Stolen This Year — “In her annual election wrapup at the first Arlington County Board meeting after the votes were in, perennial protest candidate Audrey Clement told board members that she’d been able to gather up a good portion of her campaign signage from medians. ‘I recovered about 450 signs, or two-thirds of the total,’ she told board members. ‘This is a significant improvement over 2020, when two-thirds of my signs were trashed.’ Clement ran second in the four-candidate County Board race.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — A chance of showers today, mainly before 10 a.m. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 52. Northwest wind 7 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Sunrise at 6:59 a.m. and sunset at 4:49 p.m. Sunny tomorrow, with a high near 43. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. [Weather.gov]

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A woman was stabbed early Sunday morning during a large fight at a Courthouse hotel.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. It drew a large emergency response to the Arlington Court Suites hotel at 1200 N. Courthouse Road, two blocks from Arlington police headquarters.

Arriving officers encountered a melee involving what was estimated at the time to be around 100 people.

“The preliminary investigation indicates two large groups became involved in a physical altercation inside a hotel, during which the female victim was stabbed and the fire alarm had been pulled resulting in occupants exiting the building,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, officers located the female victim in the parking lot suffering from a laceration and began performing emergency first aid until medics arrived. She was transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries considered non-life threatening.”

“Officers responding inside the hotel located a suspect armed with a knife attempting to force entry into a hotel room,” Savage continued. “The suspect ignored the officer’s commands and the officer deployed a taser. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident and charged with a weapons offense.”

Video taken outside the hotel, below, shows the suspect being led out in handcuffs as medics treat the victim in the parking lot.

The suspect, a 20-year-old D.C. man, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. So far there’s no word of anyone being charged in the stabbing itself.

“The investigation into the events that preceded the malicious wounding are ongoing,” Savage said. “Anyone with information that may assist with the investigation 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).”

Video courtesy David Cheek. Alan Henney contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Police Make Numerous DUI Arrests — From the Arlington County Police Department: “ACPD Officers are committed to making our roadways safer by identifying, stopping, and apprehending impaired drivers. Last week (September 12 – 18), officers made 16 arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Motorists are reminded that it is never okay to drink and drive.” [Twitter]

ACPD Warning of Tainted Cocaine — “Please take steps to protect yourself and others who may be in possession of cocaine purchased in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The nasal spray Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can save the life of someone who is overdosing from substances containing opioids, if given in time, and test strips can detect dangerous fentanyl-laced drugs before they are used.” [Arlington County]

Man Stabbed Near Columbia Pike — ” The investigation revealed that at approximately 1:15 a.m., the victim was walking in the area when he was pushed from behind by the unknown suspect and fell to the ground. The suspect then brandished a knife and demanded money from the victim before stabbing him and stealing his wallet. The suspect fled the scene on foot and the victim returned to his residence before determining he was in need of medical services.” [ACPD]

Gusty Storm Yesterday Afternoon — “A 39 mph wind gust was recorded at National Airport with the storm that passed through Arlington earlier this afternoon, per the National Weather Service.” [Twitter]

Power Outages After Wednesday’s Storm — “More than 1,000 homes and businesses are currently without power in Arlington. The largest outage is affecting the area around Kenmore Middle School.” [Twitter]

School Bond Funds New ‘Heights’ Entrance — “A new entrance to the Shriver Program, which is collocated with H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Rosslyn, is needed to make it easier for those with disabilities to access the building and the parking lot… More funds are need to permit ‘the completion of a design that we had intended in the first place – complete it the right way,’ Kanninen said. The $11.39 million project accounts for nearly half the proposed $23 million school bond that goes to voters on Nov. 2.” [Sun Gazette]

Klobuchar to Canvass in Arlington Sunday — “Join us for a Weekend of Action canvass in Arlington with Senator Amy Klobuchar & Governor Terry McAuliffe! We’ll be talking with our neighbors about the issues that are important to them — and why Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, Mark Herring, and Alfonso Lopez are the right people to move Virginia forward in 2021.” [Mobilize]

Update to Metro Story — A report from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission suggests that the person who fell from a train while walking between railcars near the Clarendon station was the son of a WMATA employee. He was able to continue on to Tysons but suffered significant injuries, was bleeding heavily and was later hospitalized. [ARLnow]

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Police are looking for a pair of suspects after a man was stabbed in the Buckingham neighborhood Sunday night.

The stabbing happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street, several blocks south of Ballston.

A witness told investigators that two men pushed the victim up against a parked vehicle and stabbed him with a knife. The stabbing followed an argument that turned physical, the witness said.

Officers rendered aid to the victim, who is expected to be okay, according to the Arlington County Police Department. The suspects fled and, as of Monday afternoon’s ACPD crime report, remain at large.

More from the crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2021-09190174, N. Pershing Drive at N. Thomas Street. At approximately 9:37 p.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with a weapon just occurred. Upon arrival, officers located the victim who had sustained stab wounds and began rendering aid until the arrival of medics. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries and, refused to provide information to police pertaining to the incident. During the course of the investigation, officers made contact with a witness who stated that he was driving in the area when he noticed three individuals arguing and pushing each other. The witness called out to the group and observed Suspect One and Suspect Two push the victim up against a parked vehicle. Suspect Two then brandished a knife and stabbed the victim. The two suspects then fled the scene prior to the arrival of police. A search of the area for the suspects concluded with negative results. Suspect One is described as a short Hispanic male with a buzz cut, wearing a light colored tank top and blue pants. Suspect Two is described as a short Hispanic male, approximately 5’3″, wearing a dark colored hat with a goatee, baggy pants and carrying a backpack. The investigation is ongoing.

A man was stabbed multiple times and robbed of his wallet along Columbia Pike early Saturday morning.

The stabbing happened on the 2300 block of the Pike, the same block as Bob & Edith’s Diner, William Jeffrey’s Tavern and Xsport Fitness. Police say the man suffered serious injuries but is expected to be okay.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ROBBERY, 2021-08280042, 2300 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 2:47 a.m. on August 28, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Arriving officers located the victim with multiple stab wounds and began to render aid. The victim was transported by medics to an area hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that at approximately 2:30 a.m., the victim was walking to his vehicle when the suspect approached him from behind, began to assault him, produced a knife and stabbed him multiple times. The suspect then reached into the victim’s pocket and stole his wallet, containing credit cards and an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled on foot prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a Black male, 20-30 years old, with a lean and muscular build, approximately 5’11”, with a short afro that had a red hue, wearing a blue shirt, and dark pants. The investigation is ongoing.

A man sitting at a bar in Clarendon was repeatedly stabbed in a seemingly random attack on Saturday.

The stabbing happened at 7:30 p.m. at Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd).

“Upon arrival, officers located the male victim suffering from a laceration and the suspect being held down by witnesses,” Arlington County police said today in a crime report. “The investigation revealed that while the victim was sitting at the bar, the suspect allegedly approached him from behind and began repeatedly striking the victim with a sharp object.”

“The victim was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries,” ACPD said. “Patrick Casey, 34, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding. He was held on no bond.”

Spider Kelly’s co-owner Nick Freshman said the attack looks “like a completely random act” by someone “who came in off the street.” The suspect walked in and started attacking a customer near the front of the restaurant without provocation, Freshman said, adding that his security staff jumped in and tackled the suspect, holding him until police arrived.

“I’m incredibly grateful to our staff and our security team… [they were] able to quickly detain the perpetrator and secure the weapon,” he said. “We’re praying for [the victim].”

“It was really pretty terrifying,” Freshman added. “It’s left our whole team pretty shook. I’m so sorry something like this happened.”

Asked about the suspect’s motive and about the weapon used, a police spokeswoman declined to provide additional details.

“There’s no additional details to provide at this time,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “This remains an active criminal investigation and detectives continue to review evidence and conduct interviews to determine the events that preceded the incident. 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]

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A man was stabbed early Saturday morning in the Lyon Village neighborhood near Clarendon.

Police were called to the 3100 block of Key Blvd, a quiet residential area about 3-4 blocks from the Clarendon nightlife spots along Wilson Blvd, around 1:30 a.m.

“Upon arrival, officers located the male victim suffering from stab wounds and immediately rendered first aid until the arrival of medics,” an Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said. “He was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.”

A neighborhood witness tells ARLnow the group had recently left a local bar.

“There were two men and two women involved at the intersection of Key and Hartford,” the witness said. “One woman was screaming hysterically that her boyfriend was dying and the police arrested one of the guys.”

Police say the stabbing started as a dispute between two men who knew each other.

“The investigation determined that the victim and known suspect became involved in a verbal dispute which escalated into a physical altercation, during which the suspect allegedly produced a knife and stabbed the victim,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The suspect remained on scene and was taken into custody without incident by responding officers.”

A 25-year-old Herndon resident, Michael Hill, was arrested and held without bond, Savage said. He has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Drunk in Public.

File photo

Morning Notes

Soldier Cleared of Charges After Months in Jail — “A former Old Guard member who was arrested with a carload of weapons near Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Northern Virginia had all of his charges dropped — but says the incident has already destroyed his life. Curtis Wells spent seven months in jail for alleged crimes that were just thrown out by an Arlington County judge.” [NBC 4]

Stabbing at East Falls Church Metro — “The male victim and the known male suspect became involved in a verbal dispute, during which the suspect produced a knife. The victim put his hands up to protect himself, during which he suffered a laceration. The victim was treated at the hospital for a minor injury.” [ACPD]

Drug Take-Back Day Coming Up — “On Saturday, April 24, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Arlington County Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. This disposal service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.” [ACPD]

What It’s Like to Work at the Rosslyn Safeway — “We talk in an airless, subterranean breakroom at Safeway store 1048 in Arlington, Va., a typical, prosperous suburb of Washington, D.C. The low-slung store sits partially submerged next to an underground parking garage on the main drag of the Rosslyn neighborhood, full of gleaming office buildings and apartment towers that look like office buildings… The one thing Safeway’s workers have going for them is their union.” [In These Times]

A Look Back at Arlington’s Rock Scene — “I spoke with Pete Crigler about my old band Eggs, and the Arlington, Va., indie-rock scene of the ’90s.” [Twitter, Virginia Rock/Pop Music Spot]

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Morning Notes

Arlingtonian to Join Administration — “President-elect Joe Biden said Monday he will nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who served as the top U.S. diplomat overseeing African affairs in the Obama administration, to be his ambassador to the United Nations.” Thomas-Greenfield is a long-time Arlington resident. [USA Today]

Arlington’s Average Income Falls — “The county’s weekly wage averaged $1,926 in the second quarter of 2020, according to figures reported Nov. 18 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up slightly more than 12 percent from the rate recorded a year before, but down from the $2,018 reported for the first quarter of 2020, which had placed Arlington in the rare company of just a handful of localities with incomes that high.” [InsideNova]

Police Investigating Stabbing Near the Pike — “At approximately 6:18 p.m. on November 20, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined the witness was running in the park when the victim approached him and fell to the ground. Medics arrived on scene, began treating the victim and determined he was suffering from a stab wound. He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.” [ACPD]

Airport Construction Continues — “Anticipating the day passenger traffic returns to a semblance of normalcy, the new 14-gate concourse at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport continues to make progress toward a planned opening next year. The new concourse, attached as a pier off of Terminal C at the airport, is now fully enclosed, with half the passenger jet-bridges on site, according to a recent update from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.” [InsideNova]

Changes for Drivers at DCA — “Construction has reduced lanes on Baggage Claim (lower) level in front of Terminal B/C. Drivers should use any door on the Ticketing (upper) level to pick up and drop off holiday travelers. Taxis are still available downstairs.” [Twitter]

Thanksgiving Travel Tips from VSP — “This year overall, state police have seen fewer crashes on Virginia highways but those crashes have been more deadly. Making sure you are driving the posted speed limit, driving for conditions and wearing your seatbelt are the best ways to stay safe on the road.” [Press Release]

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A man was stabbed early Sunday morning after leaving a restaurant in the Buckingham neighborhood.

The incident happened shortly after 2 a.m. on the 200 block of N. Glebe Road. Arlington County police say two men approached a man after he walked out of a restaurant and stabbed him with a knife.

Police rendered first aid to the victim, who was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

No motive was given and the suspects remain at large.

More from an ACPD crime report today:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2020-08230040, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 2:20 a.m. on August 23, police were dispatched to the report of a stabbing. Arriving officers located the victim suffering from a laceration and provided emergency medical care until the arrival of medics. The victim was then transported to an area hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The investigation determined that the victim had exited a restaurant and began walking in the area when he was approached from behind by two suspects, who produced a knife and stabbed him. The suspects fled on foot prior to police arrival. The Suspect One is described as a Hispanic male, wearing a white shirt with jeans. Suspect Two is described as a Hispanic male with brown hair, wearing a black shirt and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

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