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Nordstrom storefront at Tysons Corner Center (via Google Maps)

Updated at 4:20 p.m. — Tysons Corner Center is open after police confirmed that reports of gunshots in the mall were spurred by a light fixture falling. 

Earlier: Tysons Corner Center was evacuated this afternoon (Sunday) after gunshots were reportedly heard inside the mall, prompting some to shelter in stores and a police response.

However, a spokesperson for the mall tells FFXnow that there were zero gunshots, attributing the noise that caused people to panic to a light fixture shattering.

“Tysons Corner Center experienced an operational matter regarding a light fixture near the Nordstrom wing corridor,” spokesperson Maurisa Potts said. “There was no active shooter on the property.”

The Fairfax County Police Department said in a tweet at 3:18 p.m. that it was on the scene had not found anything “at this point.”

“Please avoid the area while officers continue to clear the mall,” the FCPD said.

Word of an active shooter has proliferated on Twitter over the past hour, but the fears appear to be unfounded this time.

Shots fired in the mall on June 18 prompted widespread panic that injured three people. D.C. resident Noah Settles was charged in that incident, which police said stemmed from conflict between two “crews” based in D.C.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

(Updated at 4 p.m.) A man was taken into custody around midnight after a roughly seven-hour-long police barricade at a Lake Barcroft condominium building.

The Fairfax County Police Department tweeted at 5:17 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday) that its officers were on the scene in the 3300 block of Rio Drive in response to a brandishing incident, where a man with a rifle was seen on a fifth-level apartment balcony “shouting threats.”

“The man was shouting threats to shoot and kill people walking outside the apartment balcony,” the FCPD said in a summary today (Wednesday). “Officers began clearing the surrounding area and attempted to negotiate with the man to exit the apartment. The man disregarded officers’ commands and remained inside the apartment by himself.”

Residents of the Barcroft Hills (3245 Rio Drive) and Lafayette Park condos (6147 Leesburg Pike) were directed to shelter in place, while police negotiated with the man, who had moved inside the apartment. Police said they believed he was alone.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of Barcroft Hills were evacuated, Annandale Today reported last night, quoting a resident who said they had been unable to return home for hours due to the lockdown.

According to the FCPD, crisis negotiators and officers from its Special Operations Division spent more then four hours trying to communicate with the man, but the negotiation attempts ultimately failed, leading SOD officers to deploy “projectiles containing pepper spray.”

The FCPD says the man was taken into custody after he exited the apartment at 11:55 p.m., at which point residents were allowed to back into their buildings.

“The man was taken to a nearby hospital for further mental health evaluation,” the department said. “He was also treated for injuries that were not considered life threatening.”

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Town of Herndon police (courtesy Herndon Police Department)

A man was injured during a carjacking and shooting in Herndon over the weekend, the Herndon Police Department said in its weekly recap.

The man said that someone he knew assaulted him, fired a gun at him and stole his car in the 500 block of Fairfax Lane on July 23 around 9 p.m.

The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The car was later found, according to the HPD. No information about an arrest was immediately available. 

Police said the case is under investigation. They were alerted to the scene after multiple callers reported hearing a gunshot in the area. 

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Morning Notes

A plane at Dulles International Airport, visible from Chantilly (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Arrested for Fairfax Church Thefts — “On June 28, our officers responded to the Saint Mary’s of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax for a man who stole a purse from a car in the parking lot. The man used stolen credit cards from the purse at several stores nearby. On July 4, the same suspect returned to the church and stole from two donation boxes. At least one stolen check was cashed from donation box.” [FCPD]

Covid Cases Close Reston Pools — “RA is currently experiencing a lifeguard shortage due an uptick in Aquatics staff testing positive for Covid-19. As a result, the Ridge Heights and Upland pools will be closed for the next five days (Friday through Tuesday).” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Silver Line Delays Not Justified, McKay Says — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says any further delays of Metro’s Silver Line Phase 2 project “will be met with a lot of discontent.” He’s hopeful the rail extension will open this fall but wants to be certain that a $250 million budget increase approved earlier this week will be the last needed payment. [WTOP]

Vienna Lodge Seeks Funds for Repairs — “Vienna Moose Lodge, a fraternal organization that does community service work, launched a Save the Lodge fundraising campaign this week to help remain open and continue its mission…One of the major repairs needed is a new HVAC system in the banquet hall that will cost $35,000.” [Patch]

Ribbon Cut on Reston Affordable Senior Housing — “It was warm this morning but still a great turnout for the ribbon cutting for Hunters Woods Fellowship House! Much needed $26 million renovations provide modern & safer home for many older residents.” [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon Company Expands HQ — The defense and intelligence contractor Expedition Technology has signed a lease amendment for its corporate headquarters offices “that will support its current and anticipated growth.” Lasting through June 2033, the new agreement doubles its office space from approximately 32,000 to more than 64,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 170 workers. [CityBiz]

GMU Joins Gun Violence Research Effort — “Fifteen members of a consortium of local schools will pool their resources, researchers and faculty experts in areas including maternal and child health, public policy, mental health, criminology and technology, officials said. The goal is to provide lawmakers and the public with steps they can take to drive down gun violence.” [The Washington Post]

Good Pups Visit McLean Nursing Home — “Fairfax County senior residents are getting some furry visitors at their nursing homes thanks to a group of volunteers at Pets on Wheels…The non-profit is run by volunteers that say pets can be therapeutic for senior citizens.” [ABC7]

Cool Off With Dolley Madison Library — “#Fairfax teens can beat the heat Saturday at our Dolley Madison branch. We will meet at the library before heading to McLean Central Park for a sponge war! Sponges provided. Wear clothes that can get wet (minimum shorts & shirts required).” [Fairfax County Public Library/Twitter]

Cirque du Soleil Makes Tysons Return Next Week — “Cirque du Soleil has become the gold standard of 21st century circus productions…The global brand brings ‘KURIOS: Cabinet of Curiosities’ to the Under the Big Top tent at Lerner Town Square in Tysons, Virginia from July 29 to Aug. 27.” [WTOP]

It’s Friday — Clear throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:30 pm. [Weather.gov]

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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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Morning Notes

Sunlight shines through trees in Reston (photo by Terry Baranski)

D.C. Area Sees Rise in Teacher Resignations –“Resignations spiked enormously at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year in D.C. Public Schools and in several Northern Virginia districts, including Fairfax County…Educators say the reasons for resigning vary. But some cite the difficulty teachers faced readjusting students, many of whom had grown accustomed to pandemic-era remote education, to in-classroom learning this past year.” [The Washington Post]

Police Chief Addresses Gun-Pointing Incident — The Fairfax County Police Department released body camera footage on Friday (July 15) of officers pointing their guns at a person who was filming them outside a West Falls Church IHOP. Chief Kevin Davis said he understands “the anxiety that folks in the community have after seeing this video go viral” but defended the officers’ actions. [WTOP]

Fairfax County Among Wealthiest Counties in U.S. — “A five-year survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau looked at median household income to determine the wealthiest counties in the country…With a median household income of $127,866, Fairfax County arrives on the list at number five.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Staffing Challenges Affect County Trash Pickups — “Fairfax County residents have been experiencing trash pickup delays for several months, but Dave Lyons, director of the Fairfax Workers Coalition, said he wants them to know that’s not only because of the pandemic or the strained labor market.” [Fairfax County Times]

Vienna Resident Says No to Leaf Blowers — “Vienna could be more pleasant, family friendly and healthier if the town banned the use of cosmetic lawn chemicals and noisy gas-powered leaf blowers, resident Avril Garland told the Town Council July 11. Both of those policies already have been implemented in Montgomery County, Md., said Garland” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Considers Removing Church Spire — “Church steeples add interest and variety to Vienna’s skyline, but the one at the former Faith Baptist Church likely will be coming down. The Vienna Town Council at its Aug. 29 meeting will consider a proposal to remove the spire at the former church.” [Sun Gazette]

Reston Woman Made Disguises for CIA — “A 27-year veteran of the U.S. intelligence community, [Jonna] Mendez unmasks the secrets of how she helped transform the CIA in her new memoir, titled ‘In True Face,’ available early next year. Mendez, now 77, developed shockingly realistic methods for instantly changing appearances, carrying concealed cameras, and protecting operatives in the field.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

School Board Selects New Chair — “The Fairfax County School Board has elected Rachna Sizemore Heizer (Member-at-Large) as chair and Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Franconia District Representative) as vice chair for a one-year term. The chair and vice chair assumed office at the July 14 School Board meeting” [FCPS]

Huntington Affordable Housing Apartments Now Leasing — “The Arden — a 126-unit affordable housing community developed, owned, and operated by Wesley Housing — is nearing completion and leasing activities have just begun! Apartment homes at The Arden will be available for applicants earning between 40 and 80 percent of the Area Median Income.” [Housing and Community Development]

See Fairfax County Police Officers Rescue Man From Smoke — “Our officers do amazing work every day. Watch as two officers from our Franconia District Station save a man trapped in a smoked-filled apartment.” [FCPD/Twitter]

It’s Monday — Rain in the evening. High of 85 and low of 74. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:33 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Fairfax County police badge (via FCPD/Facebook)

The Fairfax County Police Department will release video footage this afternoon (Friday) of a recent incident in West Falls Church where officers pointed their guns at a person who was filming them.

Police Chief Kevin Davis will host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. It was announced almost exactly one hour after the Fairfax County NAACP released a statement urging the FCPD to immediately release all body camera and vehicle dashboard camera footage related to the gun-brandishing incident and fatal shootings in Springfield and McLean.

“We are troubled and deeply concerned by what appears to be a shift to a more aggressive style of policing in Fairfax County — a style that time and time again, leads to needless deaths,” the civil rights advocacy organization said. “Calling law enforcement for assistance should not be a death sentence, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability, age, or gender.”

The FCPD released an audio recording on Wednesday (July 13) with the 911 dispatch call for the West Falls Church incident, which occurred outside an IHOP on Saturday (July 9).

Video of the encounter went viral on social media, just days after an officer shot and killed 26-year-old Jasper Aaron Lynch during a mental health crisis call at a house in McLean on July 7.

One week earlier, a 37-year-old man later identified as Christian Parker from Reston died at a hospital on June 30 after a confrontation with three police officers at Springfield Town Center. Two of the officers fired their guns, killing Parker, who was wanted by police for allegedly firing a gun in his home four days earlier.

There have been four police shootings in Fairfax County so far this year, including one in Lorton on Feb. 15 and one of a man reportedly armed with a bow and arrow in Chantilly on Jan. 6.

However, based on FCPD records, Parker and Lynch were the first people killed by FCPD officers since Herndon resident Mohammad Azim Doudzai was shot in January 2017. A dog was also euthanized after being shot by an officer in July 2019, and in October 2019, a man died after an officer fired his gun during a hostage situation in Burke, but police said the fatal wound appeared to be self-inflicted.

In its statement, the Fairfax County NAACP argued that police should speed up the release of video footage, given “the magnitude” of the recent gun-related incidents and their close proximity to each other. The FCPD’s policy is to make body camera and other videos public within 30 days of a use-of-force incident.

“We have received numerous calls and written communications from Fairfax County community members expressing their concerns, and in some cases, outrage. The community deserves answers,” the NAACP said.

Internal investigations into all three incidents are ongoing. The department recently updated its press release from the Springfield shooting to name the officers who discharged their weapons, Officer First-Class Daniel Houtz and Officer Ryan Sheehan.

“PFC Houtz is an eight-year veteran of the Franconia Police District Station and OFC Sheehan is a two-year veteran of the Mount Vernon Police District Station,” the release said. “Both officers were assigned to the Summer Crime Initiative Team. The department will release body camera footage and audio recordings of the 911 call for service within 30 days or when it no longer jeopardizes the integrity of the investigation.”

In a statement released Tuesday (July 12), Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who chairs the county board’s public safety committee, acknowledged the growing community concerns about the “series of high-profile incidents” involving the FCPD. His office will hold a virtual town hall next Thursday (July 21) with police officials, including Chief Davis.

“As community members work to process and understand the events of the past weeks, I remain completely committed to providing the transparency required to ensure trust between our community and FCPD,” Lusk said.

Photo via FCPD/Facebook

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Fairfax County police car lights (file photo)

Fairfax County police have released audio from the dispatch call where officers were filmed pointing guns at someone.

The video went viral on social media, showing two officers pointing their firearms at a person filming them detaining someone else.

Police said they were responding to an incident at a Falls Church IHOP where they believed a weapon was involved. Three to four juveniles had threatened a hostess earlier in the day, with one displaying a weapon in his waistband, before they returned at 11 p.m. to try and get the employee to go to the parking lot, police said.

“Possible weapon in progress,” the dispatcher said. “Caller is stating that there are about 10 males outside in reference to a weapon that was flashed earlier about three hours ago, has not seen one tonight, nothing was discharged, concealed. Caller is now saying that they are surrounding the windows from outside of the building, still attempting to get further.”

“Should we ask to see if the guy with the gun is back there,” one person on the audio asks. “Units in route to the weapons complaint, according to the caller, the subjects are currently at the emergency exit and sees the subject from earlier holding a gun, unknown if it’s pointing at them directly.”

As officers detained some of the people they believed were involved, a person approached them with something in his hands, police previously said in a statement.

“Due to the nature of the call and not locating a weapon, officers ordered the subject to the ground at gunpoint,” the Fairfax County Police Department said.

After they shared a description of the teen, someone is heard saying an individual is behind the officers on the sidewalk, saying, “Stop him. Just put him in cuffs.”

The video shows two officers drew their guns, pointed them at a person who was filming them and told him to get on the ground.

County leaders released statements saying the incident will be examined after the video circulated on social media. The police department also said it would be reviewed, like all incidents where officers point their weapons.

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

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A video has been circulating on social media showing two Fairfax County police officers pointing guns at a person who was recording as they appeared to arrest someone.

Police said they were responding to an incident at a Falls Church IHOP where they believed a weapon was involved.

In the video, county police department vehicles are shown with their lights on. As officers appear to arrest someone, one officer looks toward the camera and says “stop him.” Another officer approaches the person recording, points a gun at them and tells them to stay where they’re at. The person recording asks “Why you pointing the gun on me?”

When the officer responds, “Because you have a weapon,” the person asks what weapon.

She asks for him to get on his knees before another officer approaches with a gun drawn and shouts “Get on the ground.”

Note: The following video contains strong language and is not safe for work.

The Fairfax County Police Department said that three to four juveniles entered the IHOP at 6655 Arlington Blvd., around 7 p.m. Saturday (July 9) when one threatened the hostess while another lifted his shirt, revealing what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband.

The juveniles left but returned later, around 11 p.m., and tried to get the employee to go outside to the parking lot, police said.

“When officers arrived, the juveniles ran to a nearby parking lot, where officers detained two subjects and did not find a weapon,” the FCPD told FFXnow. “While detaining them, a third subject, who the officers believed to be involved, approached with something in his hands. Due to the nature of the call and not locating a weapon, officers ordered the subject to the ground at gunpoint.”

The department said the officers determined the person was holding a cell phone and filming.

The three were detained by police and later released to their parents, police said.

“The investigation has been assigned to a detective in our Criminal Investigation Division,” police said. “As with all pointing of a firearm events, the incident is under review.”

The department said a weapon was not recovered.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in response to a tweet of the video that the findings of an investigation into the incident will be shared with the community.

“The pointing of a firearm prompts an internal review that will be monitored by the Independent Police Auditor who reports directly to the Board,” he wrote on Twitter. “Ensuring our officers are following departmental policies and the expectations of our community are of paramount importance.”

Independent Police Auditor Richard Schott confirmed to FFXnow that he will be monitoring and reviewing the police department’s internal investigation of the incident.

Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk commented to social media as well on the recent use of force incidents. These included two shootings where residents died after police shot them, one at Springfield Town Center two weeks ago and another at a McLean home last week.

“I share the concerns that I’ve heard from many in the community about both the nature of these incidents, as well as the frequency at which they are occurring,” Lusk wrote. “It’s important to acknowledge that the use of force by our police department — especially deadly force — with this level of frequency is not normal in our community. However, it is equally critical that we allow for a full investigation of the facts in each of these cases before determining if the force deployed was justified.”

Angela Woolsey and Brandi Bottalico contributed to this article.

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Morning Notes

Bella Mack of Vienna spins and jumps on roller blades at Wakefield Skate Park in Annandale (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Underground Utilities Proposed for Route 1 — Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck has joined many residents, businesses, and state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36) as an advocate for moving power lines along Richmond Highway underground, though that isn’t in the current designs for widening the road. Advocates say undergrounding would limit storm damage and bring economic benefits. [On the MoVe]

Metro Plans for Budget Shortfall — “Metrorail has only recovered 42% of its ridership and Metrobus has recovered about 60%. This time, Metro officials are not banking on the cavalry — in the form of a federal bailout or additional local dollars — to arrive. Later this summer, board members and new Metro General Manager Randy Clarke will begin to calculate how to plug a $356 million operating budget gap.” [DCist]

Police Investigate Gunshot in Fair Oaks — “Fairfax County Police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Tuesday morning in the Fair Oaks area, according to the weekly crime report. Police responded around 3:18 a.m., for the report of a man firing a handgun into the air in the 12000 block of Thompson Road.” [Patch]

Bailey’s Crossroads Library Volunteer Honored — “Fairfax County officials gathered Saturday to honor Carmen Fernandez, a longtime pillar of the Culmore community. A conference room at the Woodrow Wilson Library in Falls Church now bears plaques in Fernandez’s honor.” [Fairfax County Public Library]

McLean Theater Group Retakes the Stage — “McLean Community Players is back after a three-year hiatus and will hit the Alden Theatre’s stage July 22 to 24 with ‘The Show Must Go On! A Musical Revue.’ The effort features an array of songs from past productions and shows the company hopes to perform in the future.” [Sun Gazette]

Local Hummingbird Photographers Get Focus — “I have been promised hummingbirds. I am, after all, at Green Spring Gardens, in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, prime hummingbird territory…Jane [Gamble] takes me somewhere we’re guaranteed to find hummingbirds: inside the house, where 46 hummingbird photos hang on the walls.” [The Washington Post]

It’s Tuesday — Rain in the evening. High of 87 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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