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A Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

An assistant at Reston’s Dogwood Elementary School has been arrested in connection with assaulting a special needs student earlier this month, according to police.

Fairfax County police charged Mark MacDicken, 60, of Centreville, with the assault of the juvenile student on Sept. 16. McDicken has worked at the school for roughly 10 years, police said.

Two teachers reportedly witnessed McDicken assaulting the student when they walked into their classroom.

He was charged with assault.

McDicken has been put on administrative leave while the case is underway, Dogwood Elementary School Principal Kate Beckner said in a message to families.

“I understand this will come as a shock to our community,” she wrote. “The primary responsibility for anyone who works in education is the safety and wellbeing of children. When that trust appears to be broken, it affects us all.”

Beckner’s full letter to the community, shared with FFXnow by Fairfax County Public Schools, is below.

Dear Dogwood Families,

I am deeply saddened this morning to share the news of a situation at Dogwood ES involving an instructional assistant.

Fairfax County Police will be sharing with the community today that an instructional assistant has been arrested and charged with assaulting a student in our school. Two staff members who allegedly witnessed the incident immediately contacted administration and we took swift action to contact the authorities. The staff member is currently on administrative leave while this case is resolved.

I understand this will come as a shock to our community. The primary responsibility for anyone who works in education is the safety and wellbeing of children. When that trust appears to be broken, it affects us all.

These situations can be upsetting and prompt a variety of emotions. When engaging in conversations with your child, listen calmly and reassuringly, and share a message that you are someone your child can talk to, even in challenging situations. If you have counseling questions or concerns, please reach out to our counselors, Angel Evins and Jen Franconeri at 703-262-3100. Please also contact Fairfax County Police Major Crimes Bureau if you have any information you would like to share at 703-246-7800, option 4.

I am here to answer your questions or concerns, and to support students in any way they need.

Sincerely,

Kate Beckner

Principal

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Fairfax County Police Sgt. Tara Gerhard said that a photo shows the suspect (via FCPD/Facebook)

The Fairfax County Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a man in a photo who may be involved in multiple grabbings, assaults, and an attempted abduction over the last few weeks on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

In the latest incident last night (Tuesday), a man attempted to grab a teenage girl as she was walking on the 1800 block of Old Reston Avenue at around 8:10 p.m. The attempted abduction comes just a week after a naked man grabbed a woman last week and where other indecent exposures took place.

At a press conference today (Wednesday), FCPD Sgt. Tara Gerhard said the man may be connected to an unidentified number of incidents throughout the month. The police department is working through other cases to determine if the suspect may be linked to other cases. 

“As a mother, as a woman and as a member of the community, I am just as concerned,” Gerhard told members of the media.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, roughly 5 feet and 11 inches in height, with an athletic build. He was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and black shorts in last night’s Old Reston Avenue incident.

Police officers canvassed the area last night and today. FCPD is also working with neighboring jurisdictions.

Gerhard urged community members to provide any information they can — including surveillance footage or any details about the suspect in photo pulled from surveillance video by a Town of Herndon resident. 

Here’s how to provide information to FCPD:

Anyone with information about this case can contact detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Community members residing in the area are asked to review home surveillance for any suspicious activity. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone — 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ App and follow the steps to “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

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Morning Notes

A car at the Franconia-Springfield Metro station pick-up line (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Sidewalk Projects Planned to Address Route 7 Pedestrian Safety — Virginia and Fairfax County officials are working to add sidewalks along Route 7 in the Culmore area of Bailey’s Crossroads. Prioritized sites include the Liberty gas station where a pedestrian was hit and killed by a vehicle in December, prompting safety advocates to campaign for improvements. [Annandale Today]

Person Rescued from Lincolnia House Fire — “Units arrived on scene with smoke visible and fire on the second floor. Two of three occupants evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival. One occupant was trapped in a bedroom. Crews rescued the occupant via a ground ladder — unharmed!” [FCFRD]

Former FCPD Officer Sentenced in Daughter’s Death — Jason Michael Colley pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault in Frederick County Circuit Court last week in connection to his 6-month-old daughter’s death in 2017. Sentenced to a combined 50 years, he will serve eight in private home detention and serve five years of supervised probation on the condition that “he not engage in physical punishment of children.” [ABC7]

Old Dominion Drive Closed for Two Days — “Old Dominion Drive (Route 738) will be closed to through traffic between Balls Hill Road (Route 686) and Route 123 (Dolley Madison Boulevard), weather permitting, from 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 to replace stormwater pipes…Traffic will be detoured via Balls Hill Road, Lewinsville Road (Route 694) and Route 123 back to Old Dominion Drive.” [VDOT]

Two Charged in McLean Church Burglary — Two men were reported forcing entry into the Faith Bible Presbyterian Church (6901 Haycock Road) through a window at 5:17 p.m. on July 31. Officers found the 18-year-olds inside the church, taking property. They were both charged with burglary and property destruction, and one of them was charged with providing false identification to law enforcement. [FCPD]

Reston Assault by Teens Under Investigation — “Officers from the Reston District Station of the Fairfax County Police Department are investigating an assault that occurred Wednesday night in the South Lakes area, according to the weekly crime report. Around 10:45 p.m., a group of teens stole property and assaulted a person in the 11900 block of Barrel Cooper Court…The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries” [Patch]

Renovation of Merrifield Fire Station Complete — “After a little over two years, the renovation at Station 30, Merrifield, is complete. [Thursday], crews moved back in. Station was totally operationally during the renovation with a trailer for personnel in back. The reno included an addition of 440 square feet.” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Graffiti by Soldiers Revealed at Historic Fairfax Farmhouse — “Between March 1862 and June 1863, hundreds of Union soldiers left their enduring marks in charcoal, graphite or crayon on the walls of the attic and first and second floors of Historic Blenheim, a brick 1859 farmhouse and 12-acre estate on what is now Old Lee Highway.” [WTOP]

It’s Monday — Humid throughout the day. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 8:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The entrance to the Westwood Country Club in Vienna (via Google Maps)

Vienna police are on the lookout for men who reportedly damaged the Westwood Country Club’s golf course last week.

Surveillance video footage showed “a group of unidentified males” destroying the grounds and equipment of the country club at 800 Maple Avenue East between 2 and 3 a.m. last Saturday (July 23), the Vienna Police Department said in a flier included in its crime recap for the week of July 22-28.

According to the bulletin, the men caused an estimated $2,000 in property damage.

The incident was reported to police by an employee of the country club, who said that “the grounds crew found multiple areas around the golf course” had been vandalized overnight.

The department says anyone with information about the incident or possible suspects should contact Sgt. J.K. Sheeran at James.Sheeran@viennava.gov or 703-255-7826 using the case number 2022-7611.

Police are looking for information about vandalism at the Westwood Country Club (via Vienna Police Department)

In a separate case, a man from Manassas faces multiple felony charges after nearly hitting a Vienna police officer and striking another person’s vehicle around 7:10 p.m. on July 24.

According to police, officers found the man unconscious in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck at the intersection of Lullaby Lane and Harmony Drive SE near Cunningham Park:

Officers responding to the report of an unconscious man in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck found the man slumped over the console with the engine running and locked doors. Officers repeatedly attempted to wake the man and gain entry to the vehicle to check on his well-being. The driver abruptly woke up and ignored the officers’ commands, accelerating sharply toward one of the officers, almost striking him, then fleeing the scene.

While fleeing, the driver struck a citizen’s vehicle and again continued to flee. The two occupants of the struck vehicle were transported to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Officers responded to the magistrate’s office and obtained four felony warrants for the suspect.

The man was ultimately apprehended “on unrelated charges” by Fairfax City police officers around 6:20 a.m. on Monday (July 25), the police summary says.

After being notified about the arrest, Vienna police served the felony warrants charging the 31-year-old man with assault on a police officer, hit and run, and two counts of eluding police.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police car with lights flashing (file photo)

A man taking a nap in his vehicle in Merrifield earlier this month awoke to the startling realization that he was being carjacked, the Fairfax County Police Department reported on Friday (July 15).

According to the department’s recap for the week of July 8-14, a man was recently arrested in a neighboring jurisdiction for the carjacking, which occurred in the 8500 block of Lee Highway around 8:01 p.m. on July 10.

“The victim was asleep in the passenger seat of his running 2021 Toyota Camry,” the FCPD said. “While he was asleep, a man got in the car and drove away. When the victim awoke, the man implied he had a weapon and ordered the victim out of the vehicle.”

Last week, the McLean District Station also handled an assault case in West Falls Church that allegedly involved a vehicle and a handgun being fired.

The incident started around 10:57 p.m. last Tuesday (July 12) at the intersection of Monticello Drive and Labella Walk with two people getting into an argument while driving:

The man demanded the victim to get out of his vehicle while displaying a handgun. When the victim refused, the man parked the vehicle and assaulted the victim.  When the victim continued to refuse to get out of the vehicle, the man pulled the victim out of the vehicle while discharging a handgun. The man then left the area in the vehicle.

The FCPD says the individual pushed out of the vehicle was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.

“This does not appear to be a random act,” the department said.

Overall, the FCPD received a total of 8,224 service last week, including 183 for domestic situations, 194 stemming from people experiencing mental health crises, and 572 for vehicle crashes.

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A Fairfax County police car (file photo)

Fairfax County Police charged a 32-year-old man with malicious wounding in connection to the deadly assault of a homeless woman in Hybla Valley earlier this month.

Chante Antonio Jones was arrested yesterday (Monday) after an officer saw him a block away from where the assault happened, wearing similar clothing from the night of the attack, police said.

Michelle Huntley, 63, was found at a bus stop on June 17 in the 7800 block of Richmond Highway with serious injuries from an assault, police said. She was transported to a hospital, where she died Sunday (June 26). Detectives are still investigating the relationship between Jones and Huntley and what led up to the assault.

Prior to his arrest, police located surveillance footage from areas near the bus stop and distributed an internal bulletin to ask officers for help to identify the person of interest, police said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death, police said. Pending the results of the autopsy and consultation with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the charges may be changed.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck acknowledged Huntley’s death at the board’s meeting this morning (Tuesday), mentioning that police had taken a person into custody.

“Michelle was in her 60s and homeless, so a lot of times, we put a false image of what our homeless population is, and it’s just another sad reminder for us that there’s a lot of homeless people in our community, and they deserve respect and dignity,” McKay said. “Thankfully, we do have somebody in custody, but just a tragic, tragic event.”

Huntley was a familiar presence in the community. She had gotten the nickname “Mama” and was known to sleep at the bus stop, ABC7 reported yesterday.

Storck said:

Michelle Huntley was brutally beaten at a bus stop along Route 1. I want to acknowledge her passing, because she frankly did not deserve what she had. She was brutally beaten. She was in the hospital for many weeks, and it’s still unknown exactly what happened. I do want to also acknowledge the incredible work of our police department, not only our homicide unit, but also a patrol officer who happened to notice somebody who met the description of the individual that they’ve identified and arrested this individual, and now this individual is in custody. So, the core of this is to honor Michelle and the tragedy she encountered, but also to acknowledge what an incredible police department we have and how professional and skillful and good they are at making sure bad guys don’t last too long out in our community.

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The T-Mobile store at 216 Maple Avenue West in Vienna (via Google Maps)

The Town of Vienna Police Department is looking into a recent burglary at the T-Mobile store on Maple Avenue.

An employee reported that two men walked into the store at 216 Maple Avenue West between 6:54 and 7:01 p.m. last Tuesday (June 21) and “stole several high-valued electronic devices,” according to the VPD’s crime highlights for the week of June 17-23.

“The men cut all the security cords for the devices and left the area,” the department said in its report of the crime, which allegedly took place “within a few minutes.”

The incident has been designated a grand larceny, which is defined in Virginia as the theft of goods valued at $1,000 or more, and is under investigation by officers in the police department’s criminal investigations section.

Vienna police are also investigating a resident’s report that he was assaulted in the 100 block of Patrick Street SE while walking home with some newly purchased beer.

According to the police write-up, the resident was approached sometime between 8:16 and 8:21 p.m. on June 19 by a man who demanded one of the beer bottles.

“When the resident refused to give the suspect a beer, the suspect snatched one of the beer bottles, broke it, and used the broken bottle to cut the resident’s hand,” the VPD said.

Other notable incidents from the most recent crime report include a disruptive patron at Panera and a dispute between neighbors over vehicle honking:

Suspicious Event 22-006230
900 Block Timber Lane, SW
June 20 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:21 a.m.
A resident requested police assistance with a verbal dispute that had just occurred with her neighbor. The resident stated that her neighbor often honks her vehicle horn at vehicles she believes are speeding past her house or squirrels in her yard. The resident added that the neighbor abruptly awakened her family that morning with the honking. Officers made and requested that she stop using her vehicle horn in that manner.

Trespassing 22-006244
Panera Bread
136 Maple Avenue, West
June 20 2:27 p.m.
An employee requested police assistance with a loud subject disrupting customers. The subject was also harassing the staff and refusing to leave the store. Officers contacted the subject and advised her that she had been officially trespassed from the store and had to leave. The subject left the scene without further incident.

Photo via Google Maps

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A Fairfax County police car (file photo)

A woman found seriously injured from an assault at a Hybla Valley bus stop earlier this month died from her injuries over the weekend, police said.

Fairfax County police say the injuries were likely from blunt force, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the specific manner and cause of death. This is the 12th homicide this year in the county, two more than at the same point in 2021.

Just after midnight on Friday (June 17), a passerby saw 63-year-old Michelle Huntley injured and unconscious at the bus stop in the 7800 block of Richmond Highway, police said. She was taken to the hospital, where she died Saturday.

“Detectives have reviewed hours of surveillance footage, conducted several interviews, and canvassed the surrounding area extensively to determine the circumstances that led up the deadly assault,” police said in a news release.

The full news release is below.

Mount Vernon Police District – Detectives from our Homicide Squad are investigating the deadly assault of a 63-year-old Alexandria woman. Just after midnight on June 17, officers responded to a bus stop in the 7800 block of Richmond Highway. A passerby saw the victim suffering from trauma to the upper body. The victim, Michelle Huntley, was taken to a nearby hospital for injuries considered life threatening. Sadly, Michelle succumbed to her injuries yesterday afternoon.

Detectives have reviewed hours of surveillance footage, conducted several interviews, and canvassed the surrounding area extensively to determine the circumstances that led up the deadly assault. Detectives believe the injuries Michelle sustained were likely from blunt force. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine specific cause and manner of death.

Anyone who may have information about this assault is asked to contact detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web – Click HERE. Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars. Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.

Victim specialists from our Major Crimes Bureau’s Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure the victim’s family is receiving appropriate resources and assistance.

This is the 12th homicide of the year in Fairfax County. Year to date, there were ten homicides at this point in 2021.

For ongoing updates, please read our blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @FairfaxCountyPD.

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Morning Notes

McLean Central Park gazebo (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Recent Gun Violence Leaves D.C. Area on Edge — “In the D.C. area in recent days, two shootings in crowded public spaces — at the festival on U Street and at a Fairfax County mall — reinforced that no one is immune from violence. As a result, some area residents have begun to pull back. People have started to think twice before going to concerts and the mall.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Software Company Lays Off 54 Workers — “ID.me Inc. has laid off dozens of employees following a period of rapid growth and just months after the Internal Revenue Service halted use of ID.me’s facial recognition technology…The company had expanded rapidly during the pandemic to keep up with growing demand at the time” [Washington Business Journal]

Man Charged in Fairfax City Assault — “A Maryland man was charged in connection with an assault that took place Saturday afternoon on Main Street, Fairfax City police said in a news release. Ronaldo Thomas, 41, of Capital Heights, Maryland, was charged with one count each of strangulation and assault and battery in connection with the choking of a woman outside the Main Street Marketplace, police said.” [Patch]

Annandale Dollar Tree to Reopen — Construction appears to be underway to repair the entrance to the Dollar Tree in the Bradlick Shopping Center. The store has been closed since a car crashed through the glass doors in October, but signs posted on the new doors indicate the shop will reopen “soon” and is now hiring. [Annandale Today]

Still Crickets on Downtown Herndon Project — “It appears unlikely, virtually impossible, that Comstock could break ground on the Herndon Redevelopment Project before summer starts. A groundbreaking date was first anticipated in late 2019 with project completion possibly in 2021.” [The Connection]

Fairfax City Welcomes New Nail Salon — “Sure, it’s easy to find a nail salon in nearly every city. But one look inside Raizun Nail Spa in Fairfax City lets customers know this spacious and upscale business is different from the rest. ‘Their salon is absolutely gorgeous,’ said Danette Nguyen, the City’s assistant economic development director.” [The Connection]

Tropical Storm Ida Relief Still Available — “The Washington Metropolitan Area District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reminds eligible business owners in Fairfax…to apply for working capital loans before the July 18 deadline. This disaster loan program is available to small businesses…and most private nonprofit organizations that were affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida that occurred from Aug. 31 through Sept 4, 2021.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Benches Dedicated to Former County Leaders — “Former Board Chairman and Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova and former Braddock District Supervisor John Cook had benches dedicated in their honor at the Braddock District Office, which is also home to the Kings Park Library.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 75 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) An unconscious woman who appears to have been assaulted and seriously injured was discovered at a bus stop in Hybla Valley, Fairfax County police said.

Officers responded to the bus stop near 7849 Richmond Highway around 12:05 a.m. this morning, a tweet from the department said. The woman appeared to have “trauma to the upper body” and was taken to the hospital.

Exactly what happened is unclear, but police say that, preliminarily, the woman does not seem to have been shot.

“Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances that led up to this woman’s injuries,” the Fairfax County Police Department told FFXnow by email.

Police ask anyone with information to call the department’s non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.

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