Police: Man shot at officers and led chase from Arlington to West Falls Church

Joined by Arlington County Police Chief Charles Penn, Fairfax County Police Chief discusses a chase with shots fired that ended in West Falls Church (via FCPD/Facebook)

A 27-year-old man was arrested in West Falls Church last night after fleeing from and shooting at police officers and troopers in both Fairfax and Arlington counties.

Identified as Ricardo Singleton, the man fired “several rounds” at Fairfax and Arlington officers and Virginia State Police troopers who converged on the Bestway Supermarket shopping center at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Graham Road, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a joint media briefing.

The center was still busy when the shooting occurred around 8:30 p.m., but no injuries were reported to police, bystanders, or the suspect, according to Davis. One officer with the Fairfax County Police Department fired their gun.

“There’s restaurants here, there’s gas stations here. We’re early enough in the night that there’s pedestrians. There’s folks walking around,” Davis said. “It’s an absolute miracle that no one was struck and injured or killed, and we’re very, very grateful for that.”

Arlington law enforcement first encountered Singleton around 9 a.m. yesterday when he motioned over Arlington sheriff’s deputies to his vehicle, which was parked in front of the Arlington County Courthouse, FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow reported.

“When the deputies came over to the vehicle, they noticed that the person had a firearm in his possession, and shortly after that the gentleman drove off,” Arlington County Police Chief Penn said.

The deputies came across the vehicle again in a nearby garage. The driver “mentioned something about needing help,” but after the deputies approached and saw the firearm, the man again drove off, this time crashing into a parked vehicle, police say.

According to Penn, ACPD identified Singleton as the suspect and obtained warrants for eluding, brandishing, and hit-and-run.

However, police didn’t locate the vehicle again until around 7:39 p.m., when it was spotted in the area of George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike.

“Officers again attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle did not stop, pursuit was initiated,” Penn said. “During the pursuit, the suspect discharged a firearm at the officers. The pursuit continued. Officers pursued the vehicle into Fairfax County.”

At one point during the pursuit, Singleton allegedly drove the wrong way down Route 50, and police said that he hit so many vehicles that they were still tallying up the total number of crashes when the media briefing was held after midnight.

According to Davis, Singleton ultimately halted his vehicle in the middle of an intersection and ran, taking out a handgun “with an extended magazine” that he fired at the pursuing officers and troopers.

After setting up a perimeter around the shopping center, which is between Graham Park Plaza and the Jefferson Fire Station, police found Singleton “hiding behind one of the stores.” Despite the earlier gunfire, they ultimately took him into custody and recovered the gun “without incident,” Davis said.

As of 2 a.m., Arlington Blvd remained closed, as police conducted criminal investigations. The FCPD has also initiated an internal affairs review of the officer who used their firearm.

With “many witnesses,” the shooting in West Falls Church was filmed by both police body cameras and a community member, who shared footage recorded on their phone with police, Davis said.

Though the investigations are ongoing, Davis praised the officers and troopers involved in the incident as courageous, saying that “it sounds to me like they did exactly what they were trained to do.”

“When there’s so much scrutiny applied to our profession — and there should be scrutiny applied to our profession, we welcome scrutiny — but a night like this…I’m hopeful it reminds everyone how dangerous this profession is and what amount of courage it really takes for these young cops and troopers to get out and do the job that we expect them to do,” Davis said.