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Fairfax County Police Department Maj. Ed O’Carroll announces that Kevin Alexander Lemus has been arrested for a fatal shooting on Sept. 17 (via FCPD/Twitter)

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) An 18-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to a fatal shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Saturday, the Fairfax County Police Department announced this morning (Wednesday).

Kevin Alexander Lemus was arrested around 7 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday) after police found him in the 7200 block of John Paul Drive in Groveton, FCPD Major Crimes Bureau Cyber and Forensics Commander Maj. Ed O’Carroll said at a press conference.

After his arrest, Lemus was transported to the Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters, where he confessed to pulling the trigger that killed 19-year-old Annandale resident Darlin Ariel Diaz Flores, according to O’Carroll.

Also charged with possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Lemus has had over 80 previous encounters with local law enforcement, including “numerous serious contacts,” police say.

“We are all safer with Lemus behind bars,” O’Carroll said. “He chose to have a gun, not his first time. He chose to shoot a man and ultimately take a life. Now, he will face consequences for his actions.”

According to police, Diaz Flores was in Woodlawn after attending a social event in Maryland and was waiting with friends to get a ride home outside an apartment in the 8400 block of Graves Street.

The confrontation that resulted in the shooting started with an exchange of “very simple words” between Diaz Flores and Lemus, who was passing by, O’Carroll said. Police don’t believe the two men knew each other, the department told FFXnow.

Diaz Flores was shot in the upper body, and Lemus fled the scene, police say. After a community member called 911 at 9:34 p.m., police officers found Diaz Flores, and he was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died shortly after arriving.

According to O’Carroll, FCPD detectives embarked on a multi-day canvass of the neighborhood, where they interviewed witnesses and residents, looked for surveillance footage, and collected forensic evidence from the scene.

“Their important work eventually led to a big break in the case, and Lemus was identified as our killer,” O’Carroll said.

When asked by FFXnow, the FCPD didn’t elaborate on how Lemus was identified as the suspect or his past encounters with local police, stating that it is “not able to discuss juvenile records.”

The gun used in the shooting hasn’t been located, according to the department, which advises anyone with information to contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2, or through Crime Solvers.

Fairfax County General District Court records show that Lemus was already facing three felony charges stemming from an April 20 incident and arrest. He faced two counts of possession of schedule I or II drugs and a related gun possession charge.

A judge had released Lemus in April on a personal recognizance bond of $2,500, the court told FFXnow, though the records don’t show the reasoning behind that decision.

The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney confirmed that the release was the judge’s decision. Fairfax County’s public defender’s office, which is listed on court records as Lemus’s defense attorney, said it had no comment.

Lemus is now being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25 for a hearing on both cases.

Diaz Flores was the 11th person killed by gunfire in Fairfax County this year, according to the police department.

Photo via FCPD/Twitter

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A Fairfax County police SUV with lights on (file photo)

A 19-year-old man from Annandale died Saturday (Sept. 17) after being shot during what police describe as a “confrontation” outside the Woodlawn Garden Apartments.

Darlin Ariel Diaz Flores was reported shot at 9:34 p.m. by a community member who heard a gunshot and found him laying on a sidewalk in the 8400 block of Graves Street, the Fairfax County Police Department said yesterday (Sunday).

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Diaz Flores suffering from gunshot wounds to the upper body, according to police.

“Officers provided life-saving measures and Daiz Flores was transported to Fairfax Hospital with injuries that were considered life threatening,” the FCPD said in its blog post. “Flores was pronounced deceased at 10:22 p.m.”

A preliminary investigation indicates Diaz Flores was with a group of friends outside a nearby apartment when an argument began with a passerby, escalating into gunfire. Police say the suspect was described as a Hispanic man, and he was wearing a black hoodie and black pants at the time of the shooting.

The FCPD is also investigating a separate shooting that occurred in Annandale on Sunday.

According to a tweet from 5:43 p.m., police found a man with a gunshot wound to his lower body in the 3300 block of Woodburn Road, near Inova Fairfax Hospital. The man was hospitalized with injuries initially considered life-threatening.

The victim’s condition was later upgraded, but he remains in the hospital, as of yesterday evening.

If anyone has information about the incidents, the FCPD advises calling its Major Crimes Bureau detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS), text (type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411), and online.

“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest,” the FCPD says.

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Fairfax County police car (file photo)

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.

Fairfax County Police Major Eli Cory and Public Affairs Director Katherine Hayek give an update on a fatal shooting in Hybla Valley (via FCPD/Facebook)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) A man has died after a shooting at the Mount Vernon Square apartment complex in Hybla Valley, the Fairfax County Police Department announced this afternoon (Tuesday).

Fairfax County police received a call just after 1 p.m. for a shooting in the 7400 block of Vernon Square Drive, the department said. Officers found a person with multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body.

The man was transported to a hospital, where he died from injuries that police said were life-threatening.

A “person of interest” was taken into custody. Police confirmed at a media briefing that they believe the person was the shooter.

At the briefing, Fairfax County Police Department Public Affairs Bureau Director Katherine Hayek said that the suspect had been “detained” at the scene of the shooting by a “good samaritan” who heard the gunshots.

“We do not recommend that the public step in dangerous situations,” Hayek said. “Our officers respond very quickly to the scene and were able to apprehend regardless, so luckily this man was safe and everything, but it was something we thought we’d bring forward as a community service.”

Police said they found two handguns at the scene but can’t confirm yet who they belonged to. The victim and shooter are both believed to be in their 20s, according to Major Eli Cory.

Cory said the bystander could be considered for a “good samaritan” award that the FCPD sometimes bestows.

“I definitely know that’s something we’re going to talk about awarding to this person,” Cory said. “We’ll see what happens here.”

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Updated at 3:15 p.m. on 8/18/2022 — Paul Malone, 52, of Alexandria was arrested and charged with yesterday’s shooting in Huntington. Police currently don’t believe he knew the victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified yet. A handgun was found near the scene, police say.

Earlier: A 33-year-old man was shot just before 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) near Richmond Highway in Huntington, Fairfax County police say.

Officers were called to the 2000 block of Huntington Avenue and found a man with gunshot wounds to the upper body, Fairfax County Police Department Second Lt. James Curry said at a media briefing. The victim remains hospitalized with injuries considered life-threatening.

According to Curry, officers were told that a potential suspect described as a Black man wearing a yellow hat, black shirt and gray pants was seen walking away from the scene. Told that the man was possibly headed to a nearby motel, police began a search of the area that included K9 units and helicopters.

Police said at 2:43 p.m. that they had a suspect in custody. Curry confirmed that the suspect is the man who was described, and he was taken into custody without incident.

“We do not believe that there is any apparent further danger to the community, and we are continuing our investigation,” Curry said. “We hope in the coming hours we’ll have a better idea of what exactly occurred.”

Witnesses at the Huntington Gateway development told FFXnow that they saw a man and woman with a baby fighting. When they became aggressive towards each other, multiple people attempted to intervene, including employees from the shopping center’s Planet Fitness and nearby office buildings.

The man repeatedly told people to back off until the couple was approached by a person at a bus stop on Huntington Avenue, who shot the man, according to witnesses.

Curry said police have preliminarily determined that the two men “got into some sort of dispute” in the roadway, but it’s not clear yet if they knew each other and, if so, what their relationship was.

The FCPD is still advising the public to avoid the area. Huntington Avenue is closed between Richmond Highway and Blaine Drive. The closure is expected to last for “several hours,” according to a public information officer.

Noting that there were “a lot of witnesses” in the populated area, some of whom may have left before police arrived, Curry said anyone with information about the incident can contact FCPD detectives at 703-691-2131.

Matt Blitz contributed to this report.

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Morning Notes

Lewinsville Park basketball courts in McLean (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Police Shooting Not Justified, Family Says — The parents of Jasper Aaron Lynch, who was fatally shot four times by a Fairfax County police officer during a mental health crisis call on July 7, said in a statement that the police “could have, and should have, handled this far differently.” Their comments came after the county police department released footage of the encounter. [WTOP]

Bailey’s Crossroads Car Dealership to Expand — “The Radley Acura dealership on Columbia Pike near Route 7 in Bailey’s Crossroads will undergo a major expansion. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning application Aug. 2 by Radley Management LLC to build a three-level parking garage with 307 spaces and an enclosed customer service drop-off addition.” [Annandale Today]

New Metro Safety Issues Raised — “Metro needs to inspect, clean, and protect Metrorail station rooms that house equipment that detects when trains are on tracks and helps the system avoid crashes, the agency’s safety oversight body said in a report released Thursday. The report further said that Metro had failed to follow through on inspections after the issue was raised in March.” [DCist]

County Pension Fund Doubles Down on Crypto — “Fairfax County, Va.’s $6.8 billion pension fund, the Fairfax County Retirement Systems, has received approval to invest $70 million across two crypto yield farming funds…The $1.8 billion Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System has made a series of crypto investments in the past alongside the Fairfax County Retirement Systems” [CoinDesk]

Funds for Water to Historic Hall Approved — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a Mastenbrook Grant request from the Great Falls Grange Foundation (GFGF) in the amount of $20,000 to help install a municipal-connected water line to service the Great Falls Grange…The overall vision for this site is to serve the community as a self-supporting gathering place, a location for classes and a place to hold special events.” [FCPA]

Decision on Maryland’s Beltway Toll Lanes Coming — “With the U.S. Department of Transportation poised to issue its decision on an ambitious Capital Beltway and I-270 toll lanes plan, Montgomery County’s top planner accused state highway officials of running roughshod over Maryland law,” echoing similar complaints leveled by McLean residents over Virginia’s 495 NEXT project. [Maryland Matters]

Poll: What Does “Alexandria” Mean to You? — “One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed…the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria. This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as ‘Alexandria’ branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.” [ALXnow]

It’s Friday — Rain in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Body camera video shows Fairfax County police officers encountering Jasper Aaron Lynch in McLean (via Fairfax County Police Department/YouTube)

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) The clinician who participated in an initial mental health call at a McLean house in early July wasn’t present for a subsequent call that concluded in a fatal shooting because he was doing paperwork, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said today (Thursday).

The Fairfax County Police Department currently has just one mental health clinician available to accompany officers on calls for mental and behavioral health crises as part of the county’s still-new co-responder program, according to Davis.

During the July 7 encounter, as shown by newly released audio and video footage, two officers deployed electronic control weapons, and a third — identified in the updated news release as Police Officer First Class Edward George, a 10-year veteran — fired his gun, shooting and killing 26-year-old Jasper Aaron Lynch.

All three officers had received crisis intervention training, but the co-responder clinician who joined them on the first call to the scene in the 6900 block of Arbor Lane was absent when the team was called back.

“That clinician had moved on to another location at the conclusion of his tour of duty to complete some administrative paperwork,” Davis said. “That’s the only reason why the clinician was not in a place where he was able to respond with us to the second call for service.”

With the current budget that took effect on July 1, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved funding to permanently expand the co-responder program, which was introduced as a pilot in spring 2021.

According to Davis, the program will advance to the second of four phases with the addition of another clinician on Monday (Aug. 8). The FCPD will ultimately have 16 clinicians riding along with officers, with about eight on duty at any given time.

Even at full force, co-responder teams will only be able to address a fraction of the thousands of mental health-related calls that come through 911. In 2022 so far, the FCPD has responded to 6,700 calls for service — or about 33 calls per day — for persons in mental or behavioral health crisis, Davis said.

Davis noted that the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been simplified to 988, offering an alternative to calling the police for situations where someone is in crisis.

“[The co-responder model] is not a silver bullet,” Davis said. “I think it’s our responsibility, both law enforcement and even local media, to manage expectations. It certainly will result in many more better outcomes for people in crisis.”

For the most part, the 911 call and body-worn camera video released today align with the FCPD’s preliminary account of the events leading up to Lynch’s death. Read More

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Morning Notes

I-66 construction in the Oakton area (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Two Face Drug Charges After Seven Corners Police Shooting — “Two men have been charged after an officer-involved shooting that occurred last night at approximately 10:45 p.m. in the 6100 block of Arlington Boulevard in Seven Corners…The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as an 11-year veteran assigned to the Street Crimes Unit.” [FCPD]

Local LGBTQ+ Student Group Speaks Out — Fairfax County’s Pride Liberation Project released a statement backed by more than 600 students criticizing a proposal from the state Department of Education that they fear will classify any references to LGBTQIA+ people and events as sexually explicit. The guidelines address a new law that requires parents to be notified when school materials include sexually explicit content. [The Washington Post]

Meet Reston Association’s New CEO — “On Thursday, July 28, the Reston Association board of directors voted unanimously to confirm Mac Cummins, AICP* as the next chief executive officer of the non-profit organization…Cummins sat for a Q&A with the Connection Newspapers on Friday, July 29.” [Connection Newspapers]

Police Chief Addresses Staffing Emergency — The Fairfax County Police Department declared a personnel emergency last week, requiring officers to work mandatory overtime to compensate for staff shortages. Chief Kevin Davis says the department’s 189 operational vacancies are exceptionally high, though 51 recruits currently in the academy will eventually join the force. [ABC7]

Back in Nature, Snake Found in Fairfax Is Healing — “K2C Wildlife Encounters, LLC, received a call on June 5 from a Fairfax resident who had a snake in their backyard that they wanted removed…The female, eastern ratsnake had a torn jugular vein, a hole in her trachea, a protruding eye, numerous lacerations, and broken ribs.” [Patch]

New FCPS Teachers Prepare for School Year — “Minutello and Edinborough are among the newest teachers in Virginia’s largest school system, and are starting at a time when staffing challenges are making headlines. The county had hundreds of vacancies at the end of the last school year, but 97% of staffing positions have been filled as of last week, Superintendent Michelle Reid said.” [WTOP]

Centreville’s Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Lot to Temporarily Close — “The parking lot and entrance for Cabell’s Mill will be closed from Aug. 8 through Oct. 7, 2022, for construction. Work related to the new Stewardship Education Center will include a larger parking lot that will include features and a design that will better control and filter water from rain and runoff from the adjacent neighborhood.” [FCPA]

State Sales Tax Holiday Starts Tomorrow — “The 3-day sales tax holiday starts the first Friday in August at 12:01 am and ends the following Sunday at 11:59 pm…During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.” [Virginia Department of Taxation]

It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Police Chief Kevin Davis addresses media at the scene of a police shooting in Seven Corners (via Fairfax County Police Department/Facebook)

A Fairfax County detective shot a man last night (Tuesday) during what police say was a narcotics investigation in the Seven Corners area.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Patrick Henry Drive, the Fairfax County Police Department tweeted at 11:27 p.m.

As part of a drug investigation, undercover narcotics detectives in the area that evening identified people “who were allegedly involved in the illegal distribution of narcotics,” Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a media briefing.

“When they went to make the arrest, the persons were inside a motor vehicle. They took off at a high rate of speed,” Davis said. “They drove very recklessly, as you can see from the scene behind me, and when we attempted to take them into custody, a Fairfax County detective discharged his firearm.”

A preliminary investigation of the incident indicated that the car had “jumped a couple of curbs” before police blocked the vehicle in, Davis said.

According to Davis, the man who got shot was transported to a local hospital with an injury to an “upper extremity,” possibly his arm, but he’s expected to make a full recovery.

No other injuries were reported, including to a person in the vehicle’s front passenger seat or the police officers.

Criminal and administrative investigations into the shooting are underway. The detective who fired his gun is now on “a routine administrative status,” Davis said.

“It’s a very thorough criminal investigation. It’s a very thorough administrative investigation,” Davis said. “We work hand-in-glove with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and we conduct a best-in-practice officer-involved shooting investigation.”

The shooting occurred just over a mile away from where police were engaged in an hours-long standoff with a man at the Barcroft Hills condominiums who had been spotted carrying a rifle and making threats.

Fairfax County police officers have now shot five people this year, two of them fatally at Springfield Town Center in late June and at a McLean home in early July. Police also shot a man in Lorton who was reportedly armed with a rifle in February and a man wielding a bow and arrow in Chantilly on Jan. 6.

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Morning Notes

Why did the geese cross the park trail? (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Person Hospitalized After Vienna Shooting — “Officers are in the 8400 blk of Wesleyan St in Vienna for a shooting. Prelim info, a man shot a roommate inside the home. Victim taken to hospital w/non-life-threatening inj. Suspect is in custody.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Report: Police Declare Personnel Emergency — “Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis and senior staff declared a personnel emergency Thursday, according to a police source, which means mandatory overtime for police officers as FCPD grapples with an ongoing police officer shortage.” [ABC7]

Affordable Housing Projects Get State Funds — Virginia has awarded more than $27 million in state loans for affordable and special needs housing projects, including two in Fairfax County, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced last week. The county’s recipients were the Autumn Willow project near Centreville and the One University project by George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. [Patch]

Argument Leads to Stabbing in Centreville — A 32-year-old woman from Falls Church stabbed another woman in the 5700 block of Ottawa Road last Tuesday (July 26) after they got into a dispute, Fairfax County police say. The woman was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. The victim received treatment for injuries not considered life threatening. [FCPD]

Herndon Education Company Plans Reston Move — “Stride Inc. will start the school year in drastically smaller space in a new building. The Herndon educational-technology company is slashing its local office space by more than 80% — moving out of approximately 129,000 feet of office space in Herndon and into 22,000 square feet in a new office it will officially open this fall in Reston’s Plaza America.” [Washington Business Journal]

Instagram Account Shows Maintenance Issues at McLean HS — “The bio for the account @mclean.rot on Instagram reads, ‘The best single word to define this school is ‘gross.” With 71 posts, the anonymous student owner of @mclean.rot has been posting an unvarnished look at McLean High School since February, detailing for all a need for serious maintenance.” [Fairfax County Times]

Chantilly Park Gets Grant to Monitor Water — “Fairfax Water recently awarded Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Friends a Water Supply and Protection Grant in the amount of $1,437 in support of ECLP’s water quality monitoring program…This grant will provide funding for on-site water quality monitoring to address potential pollution threats from nearby construction projects.” [FCPA]

Kings Park Neighborhood Gets Spotlight — “Aside from the people and neighborhood celebrations, the amenities and surrounding businesses have also compelled residents to stay in the area. Charlotte Hannagan, a resident since 2014 and Kings Park Civic Association vice president of social outreach, noted that there’s so much within walking distance of the neighborhood.” [The Washington Post]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 84 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:11 am and sunset at 8:22 pm. [Weather.gov]

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