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A utility pole appears to be down in a roadway where a crash occurred in Oakton (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) The 18-year-old driver in the Oakton crash that killed two Oakton High School students earlier this month has been indicted.

A grand jury indicted Fairfax resident Usman Shahid on involuntary manslaughter charges Tuesday morning (June 21), Fairfax County Police Department said in a press release. Shahid is expected to turn himself in later today (Thursday), police said. More information on bond will be available then.

The department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit determined that, on June 4, Shahid was driving a 2018 BMW south on Blake Lane at a “high rate of speed” when he struck a 4Runner in the intersection, continued traveling south, and struck three high school students on the sidewalk. The car continued down Blake Lane and struck a utility pole.

Two of the pedestrians died, and the third was seriously injured. Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a press conference that she is now recovering at home.

Shahid and the front passenger of the car were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Two passengers in the rear seats of the BMW fled the scene, police said at the time.

The police investigation suggests that Shahid was driving around 81 mph when his car first hit the 4Runner, Davis said.

Davis said the BMW passengers have been identified. While noting that they shouldn’t have fled the scene, Davis said the passengers have cooperated with the investigation, and police don’t anticipate pressing charges against them.

“This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided, and our hearts break for the families of these two young girls,” Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a news release. “…I am committed to working toward accountability in a manner that promotes healing for the families involved and the wider community.”

Shahid faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter, both felony charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years of jail time, according to Descano.

The crash prompted renewed calls for safety improvements on the Blake Lane corridor. A meeting is scheduled for tonight with stakeholders that will be livestreamed to Supervisor Dalia Palchik’s Facebook.

“Slow down, slow down, be a defensive driver,” Davis said. “There’s nothing so important you have to jeopardize your safety and the safety of others by getting some place 30 seconds faster.”

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Morning Notes

Relaxing in Penny Lane Park at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

County Police and Fire Training Exercise Today — “#FCFRD is conducting a joint training exercise with Fairfax County Police Department at Fairfax County Government Government Center on Wednesday, June 22, between 9 a.m. -3 p.m. There will be a large fire and police presence in the area during this time. #FCPD Helicopter Fairfax 1 will land/take off during the exercise.” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Rep. Beyer Wins Democratic Primary — Rep. Don Beyer’s bid for reelection remains alive after he won the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District yesterday (Tuesday). Per the Office of Elections, Fairfax County’s turnout reached an estimated 2.5%, as of 3:30 p.m., not including early and absentee voters. [WTOP, Twitter]

Health Aide Under Investigation for Stealing Student Meds — Fairfax County police are investigating a health aide who allegedly took student medications and replaced them with allergy medicine while employed at Greenbriar East Elementary School. The Fairfax County Health Department worker has been placed on administrative leave and could be terminated. [FOX5]

New FCPS Cell Phone Policy Approved — “The policy taking effect in the 2022-2023 school year says students in kindergarten through eighth grade must silence cell phones and put them away for the entire school day. Students in grades nine to 12 must only silence and put away cell phones during classes.” [Patch]

Reduced Charges Possible for Former Freedom Hill ES Workers — “A former teacher and teacher’s aide in Fairfax County, Virginia, accused of abusing non-verbal disabled children entered plea agreements on [June 13] that would result in reduced charges and no jail time.” [NBC4]

Alexandria Man Charged in Springfield Shooting — A 24-year-old Alexandria man got into an argument with the acquaintance in the 2600 block of Redcoat Drive on Sunday (June 19) night around 11 p.m. inside an apartment before police say he shot the person in the upper body and fled. Fairfax County police told FFXnow the victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officers located the suspect, who they identified of Antwan Pratt, and arrested him nearby, charging him with aggravated malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Kingstowne House Fire Started by Rags — Two people were displaced on Friday (June 17) by a house fire in the 7800 block of Kincardine Court that caused approximately $90,000 in damages. Investigators determined the blaze started in a first-floor laundry/utility room due to “the improper disposal of rags used for staining wood.” [FCFRD]

Retired Police Dog Dies — “We’re saddened to announce the passing of retired K9 Comak on Saturday. Comak served the Fairfax County community as a patrol dog from 2010 until he retired in 2019. Upon completion of his service, Comak was a beloved member of his handler’s family.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Shared-Use Path Proposed in Centreville — “The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a virtual design public hearing Monday, June 27 on plans to build a shared-use path along Compton Road (Route 658) to improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety, accessibility and connectivity to the Cub Run Trail system…The project also includes widening the Compton Road bridge over Cub Run to accommodate the new shared-use path.” [VDOT]

McLean HS Runner Wins State Title — “By finishing first in the girls 1,600-meter race in 4:54.92, McLean High School distance runner Thais Rolly was the lone local winner from schools in the Sun Gazette’s coverage area at the recent Virginia High School League’s Class 6 girls and boys outdoor state championship meets.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

It’s Wednesday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 85 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A Ben and Jerry’s truck hands out ice cream in a Vienna neighborhood (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Criminal Case for Bijan Ghaisar Shooting Ends — The Justice Department won’t reopen a federal investigation into two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. Ghaisar’s family called the decision “a betrayal,” but it will allow their civil lawsuit that has been pending since October 2020 to move forward. [WTOP, The Washington Post]

Police Look for Man Reported Missing — “53YO Juan Ward last seen at 12:47pm on May 25 in 12500 blk of Dillingham Sq. in Woodbridge. 5’11”, 185lbs, black/grey hair, brown eyes, wearing a long-sleeve grey sweatshirt. Missing under unusual circumstances. Call 703-691-2131 w/info.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Two Rescued from Vehicle Crash on I-95 — “Approximately 3 a.m. [Saturday], units were on scene of a one vehicle crash, I-95 NB prior to Telegraph Rd. Rescue Squads 426 and 411 extricated two patients who were heavily entrapped in a pick up truck. Fire Department, City of Alexandria, VA assisted. Transported w/ non-life-threatening injuries.” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Seven Displaced by Annandale House Fire — “At 3:09 a.m., units dispatched for a house fire in the 3900 block of Terrance Drive, Annadale. Units arrived with fire showing. Multiple occupants were removed or assisted from the home by #FCFRD. No reported injuries. 7 displaced.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

FCPD Continues Oakton Crash Site Investigation — “On Thursday morning, Fairfax County Police returned to the scene of a deadly crash involving seven Oakton High students. They said they came back to do more investigating to make sure they give the commonwealth’s attorney the evidence he needs to decide on charges.” [ABC7]

Armed Robbery Reported in Tysons — “1700 block of Tysons Central Street, 6/8/22, 2:44 a.m. Four men approached the victim when he exited his taxi. Two men displayed firearms, took property, and fled the area in a vehicle.” [FCPD]

Annandale School Starts Principal Search — “Annandale Terrace parents will soon have an opportunity to participate in the selection process for a new principal. The current principal, Lisa Pilson, will start a new job July 1 as director of early childhood curriculum and grants management with Fairfax County Public Schools.” [Annandale Today]

Lifeguard Shortage Not an Issue in Reston — As of Wednesday (June 8), Reston Assocation has managed to hire 186 lifeguards for its swimming pools, a number it didn’t meet last year until September. While many pools across the country have struggled to find staff, RA says it retained 71% of lifeguards from last year and will continue hiring through the season to prepare for next year. [Patch]

It’s Monday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 85 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Headphones with mic by a laptop (via Petr Macháček/Unsplash)

A 33-year-old man from McLean will go to prison for three years after participating in a scam involving technical support call centers, Department of Justice prosecutors announced on Friday (June 3).

Bruhaspaty Prasad “conspired with several other individuals” to defraud more than 1,300 people, most of them elderly, out of $1.6 million between April 2016 and September 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to the news release, Prasad collaborated with people in India on a scheme where he created several businesses that claimed to offer technical support:

The defendant’s co-conspirators contacted the victims through unsolicited telephone calls and pop-up notifications on their computers claiming, in part, that the victims needed assistance to remove malware from their computers. In other instances, the call center employees pretended to be associated with companies like Amazon and Microsoft and falsely led the victims to believe that there were issues with their online accounts. The victims were duped into signing contracts for technical support services that were never rendered. Once the victims agreed to pay for services, they were frequently contacted again for additional services and charged additional fees.

In addition to creating the fraudulent tech support companies, Prasad opened three businesses in Virginia that served as recipients for the scheme’s proceeds, “a significant portion” of which was sent to his co-conspirators in India.

“Prasad continued operating these businesses and obtaining victims’ funds even after personally receiving several complaints and negative online reviews,” the DOJ said. “Rather than closing the business entirely, Prasad continued to open businesses to allow the fraud scheme to proceed.”

According to the prosecutors’ office, Amazon provided “substantial assistance” to investigators. Court records show that the case was filed on March 7, and Prasad was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.

Photo via Petr Macháček/Unsplash

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Walmart in Tysons (via Google Maps)

A man is facing charges after he reportedly yelled and exposed himself to customers at a Walmart in Tysons, police say.

According to authorities, the 30-year-old man ran when Fairfax County Police Department officers responded to the department store in Tysons West around 3:15 p.m. on May 5. After his arrest, he allegedly offered authorities money to release him.

“Defendant offered multiple times to pay the officers if they did not arrest him,” authorities said in a court document. “This happened at the scene, in transport and at the Magistrate window.”

The man, who was listed as a hospital control room officer, is facing a misdemeanor charge of public drunkenness and a felony charge for bribery.

“While the officers continued to investigate, the victim of the exposure advised they did not wish to prosecute,” police said.

The defendant is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 28 in Fairfax County court.

Photo via Google Maps

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FBI logo (via FBI)

A federal jury has convicted three gang members of killing a 21-year-old in 2019 after they abducted the man at a Fairfax County shopping plaza.

Peter Le, 24, of Dunn Loring; Young Yoo, 26, of Centreville; and Joseph Lamborn, 28, of California, were convicted in of murder, kidnapping, and other charges on Friday (May 6) in U.S. district court in Alexandria.

Along with Tony Le, 28, of California, the trio was also found guilty of conspiracy to engage in racketeering and narcotics trafficking in what prosecutors said was a drug trafficking conspiracy involving California, Virginia and other states.

The group was part of the Reccless Tigers gang, which originated in Centreville in 2011 and became well known throughout secondary schools in the region as a source for marijuana, vape pens containing THC, and other drugs, according to an indictment.

Prosecutors said a large number of the gang’s distributors and customers were middle school, high school, and college students.

According to court documents, victim Brandon White’s car broke down in January 2019, and gang members abducted him at the former Loehmann’s Plaza in West Falls Church, leaving his body two hours later in a wooded area near Richmond.

In 2015-2016, White obtained marijuana from the gang and owed approximately $10,000 in debt.

The FBI alleged the gang would encourage drug dealers to take on debt and then pressure individuals to work on a California marijuana farm, the Associated Press previously reported.

After White was severely beaten by another gang member in August 2018, he testified against the gang on Nov. 19, 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Peter Le, Young Yoo, and Joseph Lamborn face mandatory life sentences when sentenced on September 9,” the news release said. “Tony Le faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment when he is sentenced of September 9.”

According to the Justice Department, 15 other people have been sentenced, and six are facing sentencing in crimes related to the gang.

Photo via FBI

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Morning Notes

The Lake Accotink dam in Springfield (staff photo by David Taube)

Oath Keepers Member at Capitol Attack Pleads Guilty — “On Jan. 5, 2021…[William Todd Wilson] drove to a hotel in Tysons Corner in Virginia with an AR-15-style rifle, a 9mm pistol, about 200 rounds of ammunition, body armor, pepper spray and a large walking stick ‘intended for use as a weapon,’ according to court records filed Wednesday.” [The Washington Post]

FCPD Seeks Help Finding Eyeglass Thieves — Fairfax County police are investigating a “smash-and-grab” larceny that occurred at My Eye Dr (6307 Richmond Highway) in Belle Haven on April 19. The suspects allegedly stole over $20,000 of eyeglass frames. Similar thefts have been reported across the D.C. area in recent months, including at a store in McLean. [FCPD]

Reston Startup Raises $9M — “Hubble Technology Inc., an early-stage cybersecurity startup based in Reston, has raised a $9 million seed round to grow its business…Hubble said in an announcement the new funding will be used to grow its D.C.-area engineering team to scale the business and meet increasing demand.” [Washington Business Journal]

Track Work to Disrupt Metro’s Orange Line Service — “During the weekends of May 7-8 and 15-16, Orange Line service will end at Stadium-Armory. The free shuttle buses offered on the Orange Line will replicate the service customers can expect to see this summer during weekdays.” [WMATA]

Fairfax Man Found Guilty After Allegedly Driving 103 MPH — “A Loudoun County jury on Wednesday returned a finding of guilt against a Fairfax man for reckless driving, a class 1 misdemeanor, by speed and recommended the maximum fine allowed under law of $2,500, according to a May 4 release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Military Veteran and Spouse Job Fair Coming — “The Veteran and Military Spouse Career Fair will be held in person from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 11 at the National Museum of the United States Army…A virtual career fair will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 12 through online meeting portal Brazen. The event is free to attend.” [Patch]

Plan for Housing Voucher Program Released — The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority has released its draft fiscal year 2023 Moving to Work Plan, which outlines how the county will administer its housing choice vouchers and other affordable housing programs. The plan is now open for written comments, and there will be a public hearing on May 19. [Housing and Community Development]

It’s Friday — Rain throughout the day. High of 64 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:07 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Construction cranes with Ukraine flag at Reston Station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax Resident Faces Prison for Unruly Airplane Behavior — “Last week, Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia, was sentenced to one year in federal prison for interfering with flight crew and assault by striking and wounding in special aircraft jurisdiction after pleading guilty on February 8, 2022.” [Department of Justice]

Vienna Crash Leads to Power Outage and Evacuations — “According to a Town of Vienna alert, a traffic crash resulted in live, downed wires in the area of Cottage and Elm Streets. Homes on Elm Street from Cottage to Plum Streets and Cottage Street from Cherry to Battle Streets were evacuated due to the potential for fire, according to the town.” [Patch]

West Falls Project to Break Ground — “Developers are expected to break ground this month on the first of three mixed-use projects near the West Falls Church Metro station with a total investment of about $1.2 billion…Falls Church’s George Mason High School was demolished and replaced by the nearby Meridian High School to make way for the first development, which is scheduled to break ground in mid-May.” [Virginia Business]

Fairfax County Among Healthiest in Virginia — “According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute 2022 County Health Rankings report, Fairfax County is ranked the fourth healthiest county out of 133 in the commonwealth. Falls Church City ranks as the healthiest locality, while Fairfax City ranks as 13th in healthiest outcomes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Unemployment Numbers Decline — “Fairfax County’s jobless rate ticked down slightly from February to March, among ongoing if incremental improvement from pandemic highs of 2020…the unemployment rate of 2.3 percent was down from 2.5 percent in February and well below the rate of 4.1 percent recorded a year ago.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Reston Farmers Market Reaches 25 Years — “One of the people on hand for the opening of the 2022 season was Del. Ken Plum (D-42nd), who has represented Reston in the Virginia House of Delegates for 42 years. Plum and Reston founder Robert E. Simon were on hand 25 years ago for the opening of the first farmers market at Lake Anne Village.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Libraries Celebrate Star Wars Day — Tomorrow (Wednesday) is May 4, and Fairfax County Public Library will let kids and kids at heart indulge their love for the still-ubiquitous space opera with a variety of activities, from origami Yoda at Tysons-Pimmit to an R2D2 photo op in Sherwood. Most events are open to all, though two that require registration have filled up. [FCPL]

It’s Tuesday — Rain overnight. High of 74 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:10 am and sunset at 8:04 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

The crowds returned for the first Taste of Vienna since the COVID-19 pandemic started (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Reminder: FFXnow Wants Your Input — FFXnow is conducting a survey to learn more about our readers and help shape future coverage. What kinds of stories interest you? Have strong feelings about the Tysons Reporter and Reston Now merger, or the length of our stories? Let us know before the survey closes after Sunday, May 15.

Former Falls Church Bicycle Shop Owner’s Mythology Unravels — “We’re not just talking about one man’s fabrications, but the ripples from those fabrications: a team of riders that allege abuse at [Nick] Clark’s hands, a series of embellished life events stretching back to the 1990s, ties with the political and military elite, alleged misrepresentations across multiple industries, and possible stolen military valour.” [Cycling Tips]

Police Thanked for Catching Victoria’s Secret Thieves — “The Fairfax County Police Department’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) was recognized by executives from Victoria’s Secret on Friday for breaking up a retail theft ring. The thieves are believed to be responsible for the loss of more than $250,000 of merchandise from stores throughout the southern U.S.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Woman Who Sold Mantua Home With Squatter Speaks — “After days of speculation about the identity of the person living in the basement of a viral Zillow listing, the woman has come forward to tell her side of the unusual story. Last week, her Fairfax, Va., home…sold for more than $800,000 with the condition that it came with a person living in the basement who did not have a lease.” [WUSA9]

FCPD Seeks Person Behind Clifton Starbucks Vandalism — “Officers responded to the Starbucks at 5748 Union Mill Road in Clifton for a burglary report on April 27, when someone broke the front window and stole a Progress Pride flag from inside and left. The following morning, officers responded to the same Starbucks for a similar incident.” [ABC7]

Metro Shares Plan to Electrify Bus Fleet — “Metro expects to purchase 12 electric buses and associated charging equipment this year as part of the Battery-Electric Bus Test and Evaluation Program. The buses will begin arriving late this year and go into service in 2023 out of the Shepherd Parkway Bus Division.” [WMATA]

Man Convicted of Killing Fairfax Couple Denied Parole — “The Maryland Parole Commission denied parole to Sifrit, in his first parole hearing, since being sentenced to 38 years in prison, after he and his then-wife Erika killed and dismembered Martha Crutchley and Joshua Ford, of Fairfax City, over Memorial Day weekend almost 20 years ago.” [WTOP]

Capital One Center Named “Best New Development” — The Washington Business Journal has given its “Best New Development” award to Capital One Center, which is bringing 1.47 million square feet of construction to the financial company’s Tysons headquarters. The Reston Gateway office high-rises in Boston Properties’ Reston Town Center expansion was named a finalist. [WBJ]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 76 and low of 60. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:03 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County Police Department footage of Park Police shooting McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar (via FCPD)

The parents of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar, the McLean resident killed by U.S. Park Police in 2017, and Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano have voiced their dismay over Virginia’s decision to drop a criminal case against the officers.

At the behest of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, the Commonwealth filed a motion on Friday (April 22) to drop the manslaughter charges against the officers. A federal appeals court officially dismissed the case yesterday (Monday).

“I remain saddened and dumbfounded,” Descano said yesterday (Monday) in a statement. “Not only did they lose their beloved son, but time and again, actors in the criminal justice system treated them with appalling coldness and brutality.”

Three former U.S. attorneys general — William Barr, Edwin Meese and Michael Mukasey, all Republicans — weighed in on the criminal case with an amicus brief a day before the Commonwealth’s motion.

Former Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, had filed an appeal of the criminal case in January to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. He lost his bid for reelection in November.

Descano, also a Democrat, sought to bring criminal charges against the Park Police officers, identified as Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard. A grand jury indicted the men in October 2020 on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.

But a year later, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ruled in favor of the Park Police officers, dismissing the case.

Descano said he’ll now turn his attention to advocating for the Department of Justice to prosecute the case. The DOJ previously declined to pursue charges against the officers in 2019, but the department indicated last summer that it would be open to assisting in a prosecution.

If federal prosecutors pass on the case again, it would allow for the resumption of a civil lawsuit that James and Kelara Ghaisar, Bijan’s parents, filed against the U.S. government. The lawsuit has been on hold since October 2020.

Efforts by the family, community members, and elected officials to hold the Park Police officers accountable for Bijan Ghaisar’s death have now dragged on for more than four years after he was shot at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine said in a joint statement yesterday (Monday) that their “hearts go out to Bijan Ghaisar’s loved ones, who have spent more than four years searching for closure following the fatal shooting of Bijan by two U.S. Park Police officers. We are deeply disappointed by this decision by Attorney General Miyares to end Virginia’s pursuit of justice for Bijan and his family. This decision only stands to cause further harm to the Fairfax County community while preventing a heartbroken family from reaching the closure they desperately need.”

At a federal court hearing in October 2020, an attorney for the family argued that they had been waiting for years and a case shouldn’t be paused indefinitely.

“Almost three years ago Bijan Ghaisar was gunned down by two Park Police officers,” attorney Tom Connolly said at the October 2020 hearing. “His family has waited now three years to get some semblance of justice in this case.”

Hilton agreed and set a status conference for the civil case for March 26, 2021. But three days before that date, the court said the meeting was put on hold with a rescheduling “to be determined.”

The wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, seeks $25 million and other damages and costs, alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other charges.

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