A man died after hitting a deer on the Dulles Airport Access Highway in Tysons last night (Wednesday).
Police responded to the westbound lanes about a mile west of the Capital Beltway (I-495) for a single-vehicle crash around 8:17 p.m., says the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which has jurisdiction over the Dulles Access Road.
Upon arriving, officers found the adult, male driver dead in the vehicle, which police described as a “ride-share Toyota minivan.”
An injured passenger was transported to Reston Hospital Center by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, according to scanner traffic. Police confirmed that the passenger was a rideshare customer.
“Airport-bound traffic was detoured to the Dulles Toll Road during the accident reconstruction,” MWAA said.
Horrendous incident on the Dulles Access Road tonight. Rideshare driver headed to airport killed when he struck a deer in Tysons. Passenger also injured. Both access lanes closed, tolled lanes open @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/fHWSMj5NRY
— Tom Lynch (@TomLynch_) May 18, 2023
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) May 18, 2023
Map via Google Maps
(Updated at 9:20 p.m.) Two members of Rep. Gerry Connolly’s staff were assaulted this morning by a Fairfax resident with a baseball bat.
The City of Fairfax Police Department and the United States Capitol Police (USCP) are investigating the incident at 10680 Main Street, Suite 140. The suspect has been arrested, while the victims were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.
According to police, 49-year old Xuan-Kha Tran Pham entered Connolly’s Fairfax District Office in the Mainland Building around 10:49 a.m., carrying a metal baseball bat and used it to assault two staffers. One police officer also “sustained a minor injury and is receiving medical treatment,” Fairfax City police said.
Connolly wasn’t present at the time. The injured staffers included a senior aide and an intern who was on her first day of work, according to his office.
“Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need,” Connolly said in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response.”
Pham has been charged with one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding, according to police. He’s being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
“At this time, it is not clear what the suspect’s motivation may have been,” the USCP said. “Based on what we know right now, investigators do not have any information that the suspect was known to the USCP.”
Fairfax City police and the USCP are working with the FBI’s Washington Field Office on the investigation.
The Capitol Police says it has recorded an approximately 400% increase in threats against members of Congress over the past six years, with USCP Chief Tom Manger testifying before Congress that the world has become “more violent and uncertain” particularly over the past year.
“We are just extremely, extremely happy that this wasn’t worse,” a Fairfax City police spokesperson told NBC4.
As first reported by NBC4, before going to Connolly’s office, Pham allegedly smashed a woman’s car windshield with the baseball bat shortly after 10:30 a.m. in the Chantilly area. The woman was reportedly sitting in the car when Pham approached her and asked if she was white.
The Fairfax County Police Department obtained warrants for Pham charging him with property destruction and a hate crime, but he wasn’t located until the assault in Connolly’s office.
Connolly, a Democrat who represents Virginia’s 11th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, also has an office on Capitol Hill in D.C.
“I have the best team in Congress,” Connolly said. “My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.” Read More
Fairfax County could be getting park rangers one day, but it won’t be this year.
With the police department’s staff stretched thin, the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) has proposed a new solution for addressing service calls in its system: a park ranger program.
But while the Board of Supervisors directed staff on May 2 to review options for law enforcement in the park system, the $1.1 million request didn’t make the cut for the upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget, which will take effect July 1.
Depending on what the review recommends, funding could come in future years.
“In the proposed guidance for the FY 24-25 budget, the Board of Supervisors instructed county staff to ‘initiate a review of options to expand the presence of law enforcement within our park system, including the proposed park ranger program, and return to the Board with recommendations,'” Ben Boxer, public information officer for FCPA, said.
Boxer said issues like graffiti and thefts from vehicles have been increasingly problematic for the park authority in recent years.
“Parks, park users and staff often experience prohibited activities such as graffiti and destruction of property, unauthorized use, trespassing, encroachment, theft from vehicles, animal/dog bites, drug and alcohol use, littering, etc,” Boxer said. “These issues have always been a problem in parks but with Park Authority staffing cuts over the years, this type of activity has been steadily increasing and has driven the need to request and fund police coverage during the past several years.”
The FCPA has requested $1.1 million for a pilot program, consisting of six park rangers and three chief park rangers, along with vehicles and supplies. Those rangers would patrol the parks and educate the community on park rules and regulations.
Boxer said the possible Park Ranger pilot program is based on similar programs in Arlington County and Prince William County.
“Park safety and security rangers have been shown to help minimize the degradation of parks and improve the community’s park experience and satisfaction,” Boxer said. “The role is different from that of traditional law enforcement but can significantly alleviate the pressure on police in responding to calls.”
Facing financial constraints, Fairfax County hopes to defer some public safety projects as part of its bond referendum plan.
At a Fairfax County Planning Commission meeeting late last month, county staff announced intentions to establish a 2024 bond referendum for the Tysons Fire Station. The move would push a referendum for the Chantilly Fire Station from 2024 to 2030 and plans for the fire department’s well-fit training facility to 2030.
A significant portion of the bond program goes to required contributions toward Metro, county staff say.
“It eats into our capacity for other program areas,” Martha Reed, the capital programs coordinator of the Department of Management and Budget, said.
According to Reed, fire department officials were comfortable with postponing the planned project for a new Chantilly Fire Station. The building, which is currently aging, is surrounded by a new development. She also noted that there are early and preliminary talks to redevelop the fire station.
Public safety officials also said they were comfortable with delaying a referendum for a new police station in Tysons.
The county is considering including a new place for the Criminal Justice Academy in the 2024 bond referendum, which would push out a referendum for Tysons Police Station to 2030.
In other parts of the county, a new Chantilly Library was pushed out from 2026 to 2032.
The Tysons Fire Station is the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s top priority, according to a summary of the proposed CIP. The county has money for the project design, but not enough for construction, and funds from proffers were also delayed, Reed said.
The project deferrals reflect challenges with the county’s bond referendum plan — namely backlogs in unsold bonds. After they’re approved by voters, bonds must be sold within eight years unless the courts grant a possible two-year extension.
Challenges include restrictions on annual bond sale amounts, changes to projects after voter approval, and project delays, Reed said.
Additionally, the county has factored in a roughly 10 to 12% buffer to project costs due to inflation and escalating costs in construction bids.
A report by a joint county and schools CIP committee recommended devoting one penny on the real estate tax rate toward debt service payments.
The report, completed in 2021, also recommended gradually increasing the limit on annual General Obligation bond sales from $300 to $400 million. Bonds are typically what finance most capital projects.
The county is also exploring other sources for project funding. The old Mount Vernon High School redevelopment, for example, will be supported by Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority bonds. The Tysons Community Center relies on a partnership with the Dominion Square developers.
Bonds by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority are expected to be sold in fiscal year 2024, which begins on July 1.
But Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfelder said he was concerned about the Tysons police station’s deferral “in light of current events” in the area, namely the recent fatal police shooting at Tysons Corner Center.
“My concern is there is a fair amount of crime in Tysons, or certainty it gets publicity,” Ulfelder said.
The county will revisit its CIP with the commission on March 29, followed by public hearings before the Board of Supervisors on April 11, 12, and 13. The final version will be adopted on May 2.
(Updated at 10 p.m.) A man has died after being shot by police outside of Tysons Corner Center mall.
Frantic police radio transmissions went out around 6:30 p.m., for mall-based Tysons Urban Team officers following a suspect in the parking lot outside of Bloomingdale’s. The suspect then reportedly entered the woods along Fashion Blvd, after which officers radioed that gunshots had been fired.
The man was brought to the Fairfax County Police Department’s attention by a loss prevention officer who reported that there was a theft in progress earlier this evening, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said in a 9 p.m. media briefing.
When the loss prevention officer led police to the person believed to be a suspect, the man fled, and two FCPD officers — one in uniform and one in plainclothes — chased him out of the mall, according to police.
“Probably a quarter of a mile or so later, the suspect approached a small wooded area, a small patch of trees and brush,” Davis said. “The suspect ran into that area. Our officers continued to chase him into that area, and at some point in time, our police officers…discharged their firearms.”
Davis said the man was hit at least once, though the number of shots fired haven’t been confirmed yet.
Police say the man received “immediate” medical attention after being shot in the chest. He was transported to a hospital, where he died, the FCPD said at 8:19 p.m.
No police officers were injured, Davis confirmed. He said the scene will be blocked off into the morning, as police search for potential evidence.
While there’s no indication so far that the man was armed or fired any shots, Davis didn’t rule out the possibility that he may have had a weapon.
“We want to make sure that if anything was discarded, we have an opportunity to identify and discover it,” he said.
Davis said he couldn’t identify the man yet beyond confirming that he was an adult and male, but he’s apparently “well known” to law enforcement in the D.C. region
“His encounters with local law enforcement in the National Capital region span many years, and it’s a violent criminal history,” he said, though he didn’t share any details of that history or regarding the reported theft.
Tysons Corner Center has been rocked by public safety scares over the past year, most notably a shots-fired incident on June 18 that prompted a panicked evacuation. Noah Settles, a 23-year-old D.C. resident, pleaded guilty to four felony charges stemming from the shooting earlier this month.
The mall was also evacuated in August after shoppers mistook a light fixture shattering for gunshots. A police investigation of a robbery in Arlington on Dec. 19 and a robbery at Elite Jewelers on Jan. 1 also set off rumors of gunfire that turned out to be unfounded.
Davis noted that no stores were closed tonight.
“We know how important this location is to many people, and that’s why our public safety commitment here is so robust,” Davis said. “We have 16 police officers that are assigned full-time to our team here. They work every day, around the clock to ensure this location remains…an absolute safe destination for shoppers, for people going to dinner, for people consuming entertainment.”
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) February 23, 2023
I was in my car when I saw multiple cops chase someone in the wooded area and heard the police officer scream out “POLICE STOP” and a few moments later heard atleast 7 rounds get unloaded
— QuailMan (@QuailM4n) February 23, 2023
#Breaking Officers are in the area of Fashion Blvd in McLean for an officer-involved shooting. Preliminarily, one man was shot in the upper body outside the mall & taken to hospital w/injuries considered life-threatening. No officers injured. Avoid the area. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/Y0wr0IHQYk
— Allison Papson (@AllisonPapson) February 23, 2023
Hat tip to Alan Henney
Plans are officially in for the massive redevelopment of Fairfax’s judicial complex — a 48-acre swath of land that is slated for redevelopment.
The complex is currently home to Fairfax County’s circuit, general, district and juvenile courts, along with the Historic Fairfax County Courthouse, jail and volunteer organizations.
Over the next 20 years, the county plans to add nearly one million square of development to the complex — bringing the total square footage of development to 2.3 million square feet.
Five new buildings are proposed:
- Building 1 (180,000 square feet): offices for courts, storage for circuit court, police and fire
- Building 2 (180,000 square feet): offices for the county, court supportive services, childcare; early childhood education training center, retail and food service
- Building 3 (190,000 square feet): offices for the county or private use; retail and food service
- Building 4 (150,000 square feet): diversion and community re-entry; short term and long-term supportive housing
- Building 5: 300 affordable housing units and child care
The historic courthouse will also get a new entrance facing West Street.
County officials have envisioned the redevelopment for years in what’s contemplated to be a 20-year plan. Some pieces of the undertaking are currently in progress.
So far, the development team plans to begin constructing the first building to “unlock” the development potential of the remainder of the property. The building will be home to programs currently in the Historic Courthouse, the existing police annex and evidence storage, and the Burkholder building.
Once the programs move into the new building, the Burkholder and police buildings will be demolished to construct affordable housing. That move is intended to “provide some flexibility during the capital renewal of the historic courthouse,” according to the plan.
But the application emphasizes that the development plan could change.
“The applicant reserves the right to construct the new buildings in any order, dependent upon the approved funding from the Board of Supervisors,” it states. “Any and all transportation and/or site improvements required for the use and occupancy of a given building will be constructed at such time as that building is developed.”
To make way for the new features of the project, the Legato School will be relocated, and a building for police annex and evidence storage and another school administration an annex uses will be removed. Parking Garage A will also be demolished.
The master planning process for the project kicked off in 2018 following the demolition of the Massey building. The process concluded last year following a public engagement period and with the goal of more effectively delivering county services to the community.
Five open spaces are planned as part of the project: courthouse grounds, a courthouse plaza, a central green, a gateway promenade and fields near the courthouse.
The gateway promenade — the most prominent of the open spaces proposed — is inspired by the National Mall and will create 20-foot-wide paths, along with possible seating areas and temporary installations.
The apartment units would target households earning around 60% or below of the area median income, according to the application.
The current central road loop around the demolished Massey building will be replaced with a grid of streets that connects to neighboring Fairfax City’s Old Town and creates an urban-block pattern.
The proposal has not been formally accepted for review by the county.
A D.C. Public Schools bus driver was arrested for driving while intoxicated and child endangerment after going off-road with a bus full of 44 children and four adults.
The incident occurred as the children were returning from a trip to Cox Farms in Centreville. In a press conference last night, streamed by ABC7, Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) Captain Rachel Levy said the driver drove off the road, hit a rock, and flattened the rear tire.
“It’s obviously a very concerning situation,” Levy said. “We expect our children to go to school and come home safe every day, to include if they’re on a field trip. So this is very concerning and I believe this is something that Dc public schools will be taking very seriously.”
Levy said staff members were eventually able to get the driver to stop in a parking lot in the 1500 block of Conference Center Drive in Chantilly.
The children were transferred to the Fairfax Criminal Justice Academy in Chantilly.
Levy said officers who responded quickly realized Reynolds was intoxicated and he later tested with a blood alcohol content of .20. The legal limit is .08.
He noted the other bus on the field trip was placed out of service for safety violations and the driver was also cited for not having a valid commercial driver’s license. A replacement bus that showed up also had a similar safety violation and the bus driver did not have a valid commercial driver’s license.
Fairfax County Public Schools eventually provided two buses that transported the students back into D.C.
The Fairfax County Police Department announced that Chante Jones, 33, will be charged with second-degree murder after allegedly assaulting Michelle Huntley in June.
According to a police release, Huntley was found by a passerby at a bus stop in the 7900 block of Richmond Highway.
“She was taken to the hospital and succumbed to her injuries on June 26,” the release said. “Detectives located surveillance footage from several sources near the bus stop where the fatal assault occurred. An officer then spotted Jones on June 27 and took him into custody. At the time, Jones was charged with aggravated malicious wounding and held without bond.”
This afternoon, county police said that the results of an autopsy have led to the aggravated malicious wounding charge being amended to second degree murder.
Huntley, 63, was a person experiencing homelessness and was known in the community as Mama, ABC7 reported.
According to police:
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), and by web – Click HERE. Download the ‘P3 Tips’ 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.
Fairfax County Public Schools will require all workers to undergo “regular” background checks after a now-terminated counselor remained employed at Lincolnia’s Glasgow Middle School despite being convicted of a sex crime.
The new policy is one of several changes announced yesterday (Tuesday) by FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid in response to an independent investigation into why the school system continued to employ Darren Thornton after he was convicted on March 11 of soliciting prostitution from a minor in Chesterfield County.
Conducted by outside legal counsel, the investigation found that Chesterfield officials didn’t notify FCPS of Thornton’s arrest on Nov. 19 or about his subsequent conviction, according to a summary of the report.
The Chesterfield Police Department has said that its emails to FCPS bounced back as undeliverable after ending up in a spam folder.
Once informed about the conviction, the Fairfax County School Board “acted without delay,” FCPS says. Reid told the community on Aug. 18 that she and the board had ordered an outside, independent investigation into what happened.
The investigation found systematic human resources issues related to hiring, licensure, leave, dismissal, and resignations, according to FCPS. Among the issues are a pattern of suspending employees without pay after felony convictions, rather than “consistently and promptly dismissing” them.
“These have been exacerbated by factors such as significant leadership churn,” FCPS wrote in the summary. “As we plan to work with identifying and implementing strong systems of accountability, it will be important that we implement these actions with fidelity and have frequent accountability checks.”
Reid said in her message to families that she has “begun to take appropriate disciplinary actions” but didn’t detail which personnel are being disciplined or how.
Reid shared results of the investigation with Glasgow parents at a community meeting yesterday, but said that the full report won’t be made public “because parts of it are protected by attorney-client privilege,” WTOP reported.
In addition to requiring regular background checks of current employees, Reid said FCPS will add more steps to the hiring process, including reference checks with former employers and more timely verifications of their licensure status. It will also seek to dismiss and get licenses revoked for any employees convicted of “barrier crimes.”
The school system is also looking at joining the FBI’s Rap Back program, which notifies employers if a worker’s fingerprints are entered into its database in connection with criminal activity. However, FCPS says it won’t be able to enroll in the program until it’s made available in Virginia.
Reid says FCPS is working with state lawmakers and federal, state and local law enforcement “to ensure timely and robust information sharing and notice regarding employee arrests and convictions.” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and School Board Chair Rachna Sizemore-Heizer sent a letter to the county’s General Assembly delegation in August proposing a centralized, statewide notification system. Read More
(Updated 4:25 p.m.) The City of Falls Church Police announced earlier this week that they’d arrested a man on five counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
Kimball Bryant Winn (64) was arrested on Sept. 9 as the result of an investigation by a task force comprised of Falls Church police and Virginia State Police, according to the release.
“The City of Falls Church Police Criminal Investigation Division began investigating the suspect after receiving a cyber-tip from the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC Internet Crimes Against Children (NOVA-DC ICAC) Task Force about possible crimes involving child pornography. During the execution of the search warrant at the suspect’s residence on August 31, 2022, multiple digital devices were forensically previewed and child pornography was located,” the release stated.
The items were seized and the investigation into the suspect’s online activities is ongoing.
Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact the City of Falls Church Police Department at 703-241-5050.