Email signup
Fairfax County Police Lt. James Curry addresses a shooting that occurred in a white sedan parked at Mount Vernon Plaza (via FCPD/Facebook)

A woman is fighting for her life in a hospital after a man shot her in a car parked at Mount Vernon Plaza in Hybla Valley on Saturday (Aug. 12).

Fairfax County police officers were called to the shopping center in the 7700 block of Richmond Highway at 3:49 p.m. that day in response to the reported shooting.

Upon arriving, the officers found an adult woman with a gunshot wound to the upper body, along with three other people at the scene, including a man suspected of firing the weapon and an infant in the car, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Identified as 29-year-old Front Royal resident Montez Damone-Faggins, the man was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, the FCPD said in a news release yesterday (Sunday).

Police also arrested Kayla Thornton, 28, of Woodbridge, who was inside the car and has “outstanding warrants from another jurisdiction,” the department said.

“A credit to the patrol’s response, they got here very quickly,” FCPD Lt. James Curry told media on Saturday. “They took everyone into custody, and then, the priority turns into saving lives, and that’s what they did. Hopefully, due to their quick action, we get a positive outcome with our victim here.”

The woman, who hasn’t been publicly identified yet, remains hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries, police say.

According to the FCPD, detectives believe all of the people involved know each other and were inside the car — a white sedan parked outside the seafood restaurant Skrimp Shack — when Damone-Faggins shot the woman.

The woman’s infant child wasn’t harmed in the shooting and has since been “reunited with another family member,” the FCPD says.

“The most important thing is that child is safe,” Curry said.

Damone-Faggins is in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where he’s being held on no bond, while Thornton is being held on a secured bond. The FCPD didn’t specify whether Thornton is in custody in Fairfax County or in another jurisdiction.

Fairfax County police vehicle with blue lights on (file photo)

A man was shot at the Mount Vernon Square apartments last night (Sunday).

A dispatcher told police at 9:08 p.m. that 911 was getting “multiple calls” about the shooting in the 7500 block of Republic Court, according to scanner traffic on OpenMHz.

“One caller heard the gunshot, saw the patient fall to the ground and two subjects running away on foot toward Arlington Drive,” the dispatcher said.

The victim — identified by police as an adult man — was transported to a hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening. The man’s injuries were later determined to be not life-threatening, but he remains hospitalized, the Fairfax County Police Department said at 10:24 p.m.

According to scanner traffic, officers responding to the scene surrounded an apartment where at least one of the suspects retreated. At 9:51 p.m., an officer said they heard an item thrown from the apartment balcony, and a K9 unit later found a gun magazine, though the weapon wasn’t located.

One suspect was taken into custody, the FCPD said. The department didn’t immediately comment on whether police are searching for any remaining individuals connected to the case.


(Updated 10:30 a.m.) A ribbon will be cut today (Wednesday) on a new, affordable housing development in Hybla Valley.

The Residences at North Hill will get a ceremonial grand opening at 10 a.m. at 7250 Nightingale Hill Lane, hosted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Expected speakers include Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay.

A family and senior housing development with mixed-income levels, the Residences at North Hill consist of 279 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across five four-story buildings, according to Pennrose, which developed the project with the nonprofit Community Housing Partners Corporation.

The development includes one building of 63 apartments reserved for people aged 55 and older.

The apartments are priced at 30% to 60% of the area median income, which is “roughly $29,900 to $59,820 for a one-person household,” a media release from the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs says.

Under construction since 2020, the project furthers the county’s goal set in 2022 to create 10,000 affordable housing units by 2034.

It demonstrates the county’s usage of “creative strategies” to ensure affordable housing “despite the current economic realities of high land prices, inflation, and other barriers to entry,” Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Direct Tom Fleetwood said by email.

“I believe housing for all is important to our vibrant, diverse and engaged community,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck told FFXnow by email. “Affordable, senior and market-rate homes are all important elements to ensure that everyone who wants to live in the Mount Vernon District can do so, one of my main goals with the redevelopment of the Richmond Highway Corridor.”

Spanning roughly 33 acres off of Richmond Highway (Route 1), the project is part of the Woodley-Nightingale Redevelopment area, now known as North Hill. The FCHRA first acquired 48 acres of the area in 1981, putting it at odds with residents of an existing mobile home park.

Part of the land was redeveloped as the Woodley Hills Estates mobile home community on Dart Drive, according to the county.

“The remaining 33 acres are now the vibrant, new mixed-income, mixed-tenure type intergenerational community the Richmond Highway needs and deserves,” Fleetwood wrote.

In addition to the 279 affordable apartments, the North Hill community includes 175 market-rate townhouses along Dart Drive, a 12-acre public park, playground and a recreational plaza.

The park, set to open later this summer, will offer parking, trails, an open lawn, basketball court, pickleball courts, picnic pavilion and fitness area. The public plaza, located at the corner of Richmond Highway and Dart Drive, features benches, a lawn, fitness equipment, ping pong and chess tables and a potential bus rapid transit station stop.

The proposed stop will be part of The One, the planned public bus system on Richmond Highway that aims to outpace traditional bus services with dedicated lanes and projects. The BRT is expected to be operational in 2030.

The county’s Embark Richmond Highway Comprehensive Plan “encourages future residential and commercial development around the proposed BRT stations so that residents and workers can walk to transit and other daily needs in a mixed use environment,” according to Fleetwood.

“The Bus Rapid Transit system is the catalyst for the revitalization of the Richmond Highway Corridor, from 70’s era development sprawl to a 21st century, modern, higher-density, transit focused, walkable, livable community,” Storck wrote.

On its project website, developer Pennrose notes that North Hill also provides residents easy access to public services, with banks, pharmacies, health care services and grocery stores located within half a mile of the site.

Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

A woman was shot in the arm after someone fired multiple gunshots near the Hybla Valley Community Center this afternoon (Tuesday).

The Fairfax County Police Department is advising community members to avoid the 7900 block of Janna Lee Avenue, where officers are currently gathering evidence from the shooting.

According to scanner traffic on Open MHz, a caller reported hearing “four to five shots” in the area around 4:54 p.m. A couple of minutes later, the victim called from an abandoned Goodwill store on Richmond Highway, saying that she had been shot in the arm.

The woman was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

Scanner traffic indicates that multiple buildings were damaged in the shooting, with officers finding multiple shell casings, shattered glass and windows with bullet holes.

A caller told the FCPD that a vehicle with “blacked-out windows” sped away from the scene.

Police are also looking for a man who was with the woman at the time of the shooting and is considered a possible witness.

Earlier this year, the 7900 block of Janna Lee Avenue was the site of a fatal stabbing stemming from a domestic violence incident.

A mural by McAlister’s Deli at Mount Vernon Plaza (courtesy Federal Realty)

As roses, poppies and other May blooms flourish in Fairfax County, kids and adults can craft upcycled flowers at Mount Vernon Plaza in Hybla Valley next Saturday (May 20).

The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC) will facilitate the art project at a free event dubbed “Chalkful of Flowers.” It will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the shopping center’s parklet at 7698 Richmond Highway, located behind Capital Chicken.

Also featuring collaborative chalk murals, “Chalkful of Flowers” will be the first official community event in the parklet, according to a press release. The 3,200-square-foot space opened in October after about five months of construction.

“With the arrival of warmer weather, we are thrilled to start activating the new parklet space as a way to bring the community together,” SFDC Executive Director Evan Kaufman said in the press release.

Attendees will learn how to make the upcycled flowers from local artists, and the crafts will come together to make a flower wall. Materials involved include tissue paper, dog bags and other recyclable items.

Artists on-hand to teach will include Anila Angjeli, CEO of Alexandria-based A-Line Architecture, and local art teacher Jennifer Droblyen. Other local artists mostly from around the Richmond Highway corridor were also invited to participate.

Federal Realty, the owner of Mount Vernon Plaza, partnered with SFDC to create the parklet, which features green space, porch swing benches, cafe seating, lighting, soma stones, landscaping and a trellis. SFDC is a nonprofit that supports economic development in the Richmond Highway corridor.

​”When we were first conceptualizing the potential for a parklet space at Mount Vernon Plaza, we imagined events exactly like this one,” Deirdre Johnson, senior vice president at Federal Realty, said in the press release.

The event will feature live electric violin from D.C.-based violinist Charles “Bliss the Violinist” Tolbert. Those in attendance can also take in new murals that span the facades of multiple buildings in the shopping center. Restaurants in the shopping center will be open as usual, and prospective attendees can RSVP on Facebook.

Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Two people suspected of carjacking in Maryland were arrested by Fairfax County and Maryland police yesterday (Sunday) after a pursuit that started on Richmond Highway (Route 1) and later crossed state lines.

Police are still on the lookout for two suspects, including one person who may have been wearing a Spider-Man mask or costume, the Fairfax County Police Department said today (Monday).

Around 5:22 p.m., officers came across a reportedly stolen BMW 535 in 7500 block of Richmond Highway in Hybla Valley after getting an automated license plate reader alert, according to radio traffic compiled by public safety scanner watcher Romero.

As three units closed in on the car, the driver took off onto Richmond Highway, “intentionally” hitting police cruisers and driving north in the southbound lanes at around 46 mph, police said. A police helicopter was called to join the chase as it entered Huntington.

The pursuit moved onto the Capital Beltway (I-495) into Maryland, getting Prince George’s County police and Maryland State Police involved.

At one point, the vehicle’s tire blew out, but the chase continued until the occupants bailed out around the exit to Morningside, Maryland. An officer reported that two guns were dropped in the highway median as at least two people ran into nearby woods.

One man was quickly taken into custody, while another was apprehended by 5:57 p.m. The police response blocked off the highway’s northbound lanes.

The FCPD had initially reported — and scanner traffic suggested — that three people had been taken into custody, but Sgt. Jacob Pearce says it has now been determined that two people “got away.”

In addition to the man reportedly dressed like Spider-Man, the other suspects wore “patterned ski-masks,” Pearce told FFXnow.

The BMW had been carjacked in District Heights on April 9, according to the Prince George’s County Police Department, which says five firearms were found inside the vehicle.

Prince George’s has charged the two men currently in custody — identified as 21-year-old Terrell Talley and 18-year-old Marquette Staton — with unauthorized use of a vehicle and firearms offenses in connection to the carjacking.

Additional charges from Fairfax County are expected to be announced later.

Surveillance footage shows two men who police say dropped off a woman found dead in the Inova Mount Vernon Hospital parking lot (via FCPD)

Fairfax County police are looking for two men who may have been involved in the death of a woman found with a gunshot wound in the Inova Mount Vernon Hospital parking lot last week.

A community member reported at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday (April 13) that they saw an unconscious woman in a vehicle parked at the hospital (8033 Holland Road), the Fairfax County Police Department said in a news release on Saturday (April 15).

Identified as 33-year-old Brenda Ochoa Guerrero of Alexandria, the woman was found in the vehicle’s passenger seat by responding police officers and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department personnel, who decleared her dead at the scene.

“Ochoa Guerrero had apparent trauma to the upper body, but no immediate cause of death could be discerned,” the FCPD said.

An autopsy by the county’s medical examiner indicated preliminarily that Ochoa Guerrero had been shot in the upper body.

The police department says its detectives found surveillance footage showing two men parking the woman’s vehicle and leaving the area.

“The men were then picked up by another SUV and left the area,” police said.

Two videos released by the FCPD show what appears to be a white man dressed in black, including a ski mask, and a Black man wearing a blue shirt who’s looking at a cellphone.

The FCPD asks anyone who might have information about the case to contact its detectives:

If you have any information about this incident or Ochoa Guerrero, please call 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), and online [at] You may also download the ‘P3 Tips’ App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards. Please leave contact information if you wish for someone to follow up with you.

Fairfax County police barricaded part of Richmond Highway to negotiate with an armed woman experiencing a mental health crisis (via FCPD/Twitter)

An armed woman who police say was experiencing a mental health crisis is now being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

The woman, who has been identified as 29-year-old Maryland resident Brittney Copelin, was taken into custody shortly after midnight today (Thursday), ending a shutdown of Richmond Highway in the Hybla Valley area that lasted about 34 hours.

While acknowledging that some business owners and community members grew frustrated by the duration of the barricade, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis described the handling of the situation as a positive reflection of how police practices have changed over the past decade.

“The reason it took so long was we wanted to get to the best possible outcome for a person involved in a mental health crisis, because that’s what this was,” Davis said at a press conference this afternoon.”There were certainly crimes committed, and we can get into that, but this was ultimately a person in a mental health crisis.”

The Fairfax County Police Department has charged Copelin with two counts of abduction, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

She also faces multiple criminal charges in the City of Laurel, Maryland, where she lives in an apartment with a woman whom she has now been accused of abducting.

According to Davis, the saga began on Friday (March 24) when Copelin and the other woman, who hasn’t been publicly identified, left their apartment. The other woman’s mother filed a missing persons report with the Laurel Police Department on Sunday (March 26).

Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday (March 28), the Charles County Sheriff’s Office asked the FCPD to conduct a welfare check on a critical missing person in the 7200 block of Fordson Road, where officers encountered the woman who said she had been abducted.

The officers found Copelin in a 2016 Jeep SUV parked in the 7300 block of Richmond Highway, but when they approached the vehicle, she took off, leading to “a very brief, low-speed pursuit,” Davis said.

Coming to a stop on a service road for Richmond Highway and Lockheed Blvd, Copelin then took out a handgun and put it to her head, according to police.

Davis said the officers reacted appropriately by backing off once they saw the gun and calling in the department’s SWAT team. A roughly 1-mile stretch of Richmond Highway was closed between Lockheed Blvd and Boswell Avenue, as special operations officers, crisis negotiators and mental health clinicians arrived on the scene. Read More

Police have shut down Richmond Highway for a woman with gun who has barricaded herself in a vehicle (via Google Maps)

Richmond Highway (Route 1) has been closed off to traffic in the Hybla Valley area for over eight hours now due to a woman who has barricaded herself in a vehicle with a handgun, police say.

Crisis negotiators and officers in the Fairfax County Police Department’s Special Operations Division are still working to resolve the situation in the 7400 block of Richmond Highway peacefully, the department said in a 7:33 p.m. update.

“A woman remains in a vehicle armed with a handgun,” the FCPD tweeted. “We continue to ask our community to avoid the area. Richmond Hwy remains closed between Lockheed Blvd and Boswell Ave.”

The woman is by herself, police confirmed. NBC4 reporter Brad Freitas said at 4:36 p.m. that a tactical robot was spotted passing the woman something in a plastic bag through the passenger side window.

Police reported at 12:14 p.m. that a barricade had been established in the area “for a woman experiencing a mental health crisis.”

According to WUSA9, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office asked Fairfax County police to check for a critical missing person in the 7200 block of Fordson Road around 11 a.m.

Upon arriving, the officers encountered a woman who said she’d been abducted, per WUSA9.

While gathering more information from the woman, officers saw the abduction suspect leave the area in a 2014 black Jeep Cherokee. The suspect was also identified as a critical missing person.

After a short pursuit, police say the Jeep came to a stop in the 7400 block of Richmond Highway.

The driver refused to follow officer’s commands and barricaded herself inside the vehicle with a gun.

As of 7:30 p.m., Richmond Highway remained closed in both directions, resulting in approximately 1-mile-long traffic backups, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic camera network.

Map via Google Maps


A new kid-focused community center is opening tomorrow (Thursday) inside a long-vacant space at a Hybla Valley apartment complex.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. for the Communities of Trust Center, a renovated two-story community gathering place within the Creekside Village Apartment complex at 7932 Janna Lee Avenue.

The project comes from the local nonprofit organization Communities of Trust (COT), which works to build trust between public safety agencies and the community, and HomeAid, an organization that builds housing and facilities for nonprofits.

“Within this two-story building, COT will focus on preventive solutions for at-risk youth by providing a safe haven, teaching job skills for employment, and building ties within the community,” the event flyer says.

The new community center in the Franconia District will be a “safe place” for kids to gather, do schoolwork, and participate in structured programs, Communities of Trust Chair Shirley Ginwright told FFXnow.

“This has been a community where there has been a large amount of negative interaction with law enforcement,” she said. “This facility will provide a place for them to go, after they get out of school and while their parents are working.”

The 1,582-square-foot space had been vacant for a decade and was very much in need of renovations, per a press release.

Walls and the kitchen were removed to create a large, open-space area, while vinyl plank flooring was installed throughout. A kitchenette, two water fountains, new lighting, and windows were added. All three bathrooms were renovated as well.

The renovation ended up costing about $125,000, but all the materials, labor, and project management were donated.

Ginwright said creating a space where kids can learn was important, because the pandemic hit this community particularly hard, while setting many students back in terms of reading, writing, and math skills. There will be workshops and programs aimed at helping kids catch up on those skills.

There will also be a number of specialized programs aimed at different interests, including filmmaking, podcast production, and music recording. STEAM education will be a focus too, Ginwright said.

“We will also be engaging with our law enforcement in implementing many of these programs to help build positive relationships and trust,” she said.

The Communities of Trust Committee was first established in late 2014 in response to the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The committee’s intention was to bring together public safety agencies and community representatives to prevent what happened in Ferguson from happening in Fairfax County.

From there, a nonprofit organization was established in 2016. The community center in Hybla Valley is the first of its kind to be built by COT.


Subscribe to our mailing list