A 59-year-old woman died Sunday (Sept. 4) after she and her husband were found shot at a townhouse in the Mount Vernon area that morning.
The Fairfax County Police Department believes Daphne Saunders-Johnson was shot by her husband, James Johnson, who then shot himself in a “domestic-related incident.”
Johnson has been charged with second degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the FCPD announced yesterday (Monday).
According to the police department, officers responded to the 7900 block of Central Park Circle at approximately 3:19 a.m. after getting a report of a shooting.
“Shortly after arriving, officers heard a gunshot and entered the residence to find Daphne Saunders-Johnson, 59, and James Johnson, 62, suffering from gunshot wounds,” the FCPD said. “The married couple lived in the home and were both taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.”
Saunders-Johnson died at the hospital, while Johnson remains there in “critical but stable condition,” police say.
The cause of death will be confirmed with an autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The FCPD says the charges were determined in consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, noting that a firearm was found at the home.
The shooting remains under investigation. Police say Johnson will be transferred to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center once he is released from the hospital.
There have now been 15 homicides in Fairfax County this year, compared to 17 at this point and 21 overall in 2021.
Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services offers support for people experiencing or affected by domestic violence through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Services division:
The Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Division of the Department of Family Services would like to remind the community that there are many resources available for people experiencing domestic violence. The 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, 703-360-7273; TTY 711, is a way to access community resources in Virginia and surrounding jurisdictions. DSVS offers compassionate and comprehensive state-accredited programs for women, men, teens and children who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking.
Richard Montano, 47, was arrested at his home in Arlington around 6:30 p.m. after allegedly fleeing the scene of the homicide in the 2900 block of Willston Place, where police say he assaulted Silvia Vaca Abacay, 40, of Falls Church and set her on fire.
Officers responded to The Villages at Falls Church at 3:05 p.m. after a neighbor reported a man and woman having an argument in an adjacent condominium, the Fairfax County Police Department said yesterday (Thursday).
There, they found Vaca Abacay “on fire and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper body,” according to the report announcing the charges against Montano.
“First responders extinguished the fire and attempted to provide life-saving measures. Sadly, she was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the FCPD said.
According to police, a witness reported seeing a man flee the scene, prompting a shelter-in-place order for residents while officers searched the area.
The FCPD says Montano was identified as a person of interest based on “an investigative analysis” of the condo by detectives with help from professional support staff. They also located surveillance footage that showed Montano entering the home prior to the murder, according to police.
The Arlington Police Department provided assistance in locating and arresting Montano, who is being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
In addition to murder, Montano has been charged with burglary with intent to commit murder and burning of an occupied dwelling.
“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in the process of conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of death,” police said.
The FCPD has investigated 14 homicides so far this year, slighly under the 15 homicides recorded by this point in 2021.
Updated at 2 p.m. — Jose Hernandez Mejia was arrested this morning in South Carolina for allegedly stabbing his wife, Evelin Molina, Fairfax County police said.
Earlier: Fairfax County police are searching for a man wanted in a fatal stabbing in Springfield over the weekend.
Jose Hernandez Mejia asked a family member yesterday (Sunday) to come to his home in the 5200 block of Rolling Road and explained to them that he had just stabbed his wife inside, police spokesman Lt. Dan Spital said at a press conference. He then handed over some personal belongings to family members and left the scene.
He left in a 2016 black Honda HRV with Virginia tags, TXV-1986, Spital said. Officers arrived at the scene, entered the home and located a dead woman with upper body trauma consistent with stab wounds, he said. A knife was located nearby with what appeared to be blood on it.
Police issued a warrant for Hernandez Mejia, stating he’s wanted for second-degree murder. Spital said they’ve been in communication with him and thought he was going to turn himself in. He still had not turned himself in as of this morning (Monday).
The department asks anyone who sees him or his vehicle to call 9-1-1 immediately.
While police believe the stabbing was isolated to the family and home, and that there isn’t an immediate threat, they say the public should use caution if they see Hernandez Mejia, and consider him armed and dangerous.
“We are actively looking for him, we are asking for the community’s help,” police said.
Spital said there were minimal previous calls for service at the home, and none of them were domestic-related.
Hernandez Mejia and his wife have children but they are safe, Spital said.
“A tragic situation, these domestic-related homicides are awful and we are doing everything that we can to help families that are in crisis,” Spital said.
Fairfax County Jury Sides with Johnny Depp — After a weeks-long trial, actor Johnny Depp was awarded more than $10 million in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, a verdict that has already taken a toll on domestic violence survivors. Heard was also awarded $2 million for a countersuit over comments by Depp’s lawyer. [Associated Press/WTOP]
Calm Returns to Fairfax County Courthouse After High-Profile Trial — “Two hours after the verdict in the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial was announced, the grounds outside the Fairfax County Courthouse had the aura of a field where a circus had just packed up its tent and moved on.” [Patch]
Woodson HS Apologizes for Teacher’s Use of Slur — “An official at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax has apologized for a substitute teacher uttering a racial slur during an in-class reading of John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ last month…A student notified [assistant principal Amanda] Burke that a classmate had recorded a video of the substitute saying the racial slur and shared it on social media.” [Patch]
Firefighters and Police Rescue Red-Tailed Hawk — “#FCFRD & @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Protection, rescued a Red-Tailed Hawk during special ops training. Crews worked together to disentangled it with special equipment. He appears healthy but will get a check-up. Retrieve kite strings & fishing line! Birds can’t see them.” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Popular Lincolnia Pet Store to Downsize — “Chico’s Natural Pet Market invites the community to a fun event Sunday, June 5, featuring an animal communicator and an auction…Owner Danielle Areco will update customers on the store’s pending move to a new location and will describe the store’s new focus on healthy pet food.” [Annandale Today]
Tysons Real Estate Company Plans Move — “Real estate giant CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBRE) will move its Tysons office, which houses its Northern Virginia operation, a stone’s throw up the road in early 2023, having already inked a new lease. CBRE will occupy a little over 24,000 square feet, or the whole 11th floor, of Boro Tower, a 20-story office building located at 8350 Broad St.” [Washington Business Journal]
General Assembly Passes State Budget — “The Virginia General Assembly passed a two-year state budget Wednesday that both cuts taxes and increases spending, a rare combination that drew extensive bipartisan support in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Delegates.” [The Washington Post]
Former Vienna Town Manager Dies — “John Schoeberlein, who served as Vienna’s steady-as-you-go town manager for 26 years before retiring in May 2011, died May 30 at age 74…Schoeberlein was a respected leader and well-liked by town residents and staff, said Bill Murray, a retired master police officer with the Vienna Police Department.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Local Farmers Markets Accept Food Benefits — “Four Fairfax County Farmers Markets offer a [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance] Matching Program where you can double your SNAP Benefits…You can use your EBT card in the McCutcheon/Mount Vernon, Annandale, Reston and Lorton Farmers Markets.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Park Authority Supports Annandale Vandal — “A bit of mischief was celebrated at Hidden Oaks Nature Center as a clever vandal slipped into the Annandale Community Park playground area and switched a couple of letters on the fencing spelling ‘I [heart] Mom.’ This sweet sign is a salute to all the moms who take their kids to our parks!” [FCPA/Facebook]
It’s Thursday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Kingstowne Man Indicted for Real Estate Loan Scheme — Calling it one of the largest embezzlement cases in Fairfax County history, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced yesterday (Monday) that Carlos Camacho has been charged with 15 counts of embezzlement and four counts of forgery. Camacho allegedly used loans to divert more than $2 million from his employer for personal expenses. [DCist]
County Sees Rise in Domestic Violence During Pandemic — “During the first quarter of 2022, our Department of Family Services’ Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) division has seen this trend in real time through its Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline, which has recorded an uptick in the number of domestic violence calls it receives.” [Fairfax County Government]
VDOT to Suspend Highway Work During Memorial Day Weekend — “Based on 2018 and 2019 traffic data, periods of moderate to heavy congestion on those pre-pandemic Memorial Day weekends were most likely to occur between noon and 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday, and midday on Saturday and Sunday, VDOT said in a news release.” [Inside NoVA]
IT Consulting Firm Octo Opens Lab in Reston — “Honored to attend the ribbon cutting for oLab today. With the relocation of groundbreaking companies and the expansion of cutting edge innovation labs in Virginia, we’re going to keep solving problems and making critical breakthroughs right here in the Commonwealth.” [Mark Warner]
Virginia Lawmakers Near a Budget Deal — “State legislators got word Monday that they should return to the Capitol on June 1 to vote on a proposed two-year state budget, even though final details on the spending plan were still being hammered out…Legislators launched the special session in April on his orders but promptly went home because there was no compromise to vote on.” [The Washington Post]
Chantilly Student Collects Medical Supplies and Food for Ukraine — “Nicholas, a student at Fairfax County’s Rachel Carson Middle School, chose to help Ukraine as part of his Eagle Scout project. All donations will be boxed by Nicholas and his fellow Scouts, and then sent to United Help Ukraine, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization founded in 2014.” [Patch]
Deputy Fire Chief Promoted — “Fire Chief John Butler is pleased to announce that Deputy Chief Dan Shaw has been promoted to Assistant Chief with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Assistant Chief Shaw will head the Office of the Fire Chief, which includes Data Analytics Management, Fiscal Services, Health and Wellness, Information Technology, Planning, and Public Information and Life Safety Education.” [FCFRD]
It’s Tuesday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 66 and low of 53. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:24 pm. [Weather.gov]