A woman was sexually assaulted in her hotel room in the Spring Hill area of Tysons, the Fairfax County Police Department said this afternoon (Thursday).
According to police, the incident occurred yesterday morning in the 8600 block of Westwood Center Drive. Officers responded to a report shortly after 5 a.m. from a woman who said “that an unknown man entered her hotel room, displayed a knife and sexually assaulted her.”
“The woman was treated for injuries that were not life threatening,” the FCPD said.
The department’s Major Crimes Bureau detectives are now seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect, who is described as a “heavy set” black man in his 40s and about 5-foot-10 in height. He had a full beard and was last seen wearing glasses, a gray shirt, sweatpants, and a small black backpack.
The bureau can be contacted at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text, and online.
“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest,” the FCPD said. “If you would like to be contacted by a detective, please provide your contact information.”
Governor to Throw First Pitch for Little League Tournament — The 2021 Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament kicks off at 5:30 p.m. today in Vienna with a Parade of Champions led by the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:15 p.m. at Yeonas Park with Gov. Ralph Northam and Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert throwing out the first pitch. [Town of Vienna/Facebook]
Idylwood Substation Timeline Extension Supported — A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner recommended approval of Dominion Energy’s request to extend the timeline for construction on its Idylwood substation until Dec. 31, 2026. The project has frustrated residents, but Holly Crest Community Association President Lori Jeffrey expressed hope when contacted by Tysons Reporter that requiring the utility company to file quarterly construction status updates will bring some degree of accountability and prevent a repeat of this past spring. [SCC]
Merger Floated for Tysons Company — Tysons-headquartered Cvent, a private event-management company with around 4,000 employees, will merge with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II and become publicly traded, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The company isn’t commenting on WSJ speculation at this time,” spokesperson Nevin Reilly told Tysons Reporter. [WSJ]
Police Department Adds First Data Director — “Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis has hired Dr. Noah Fritz as the Department’s new Director of Crime Control Strategies & Data Analytics. Dr. Fritz will be a key contributor to Davis’ data-driven strategy, which aims to guide FCPD’s approach to fair and effective policing through the collection, analysis and sharing of statistical information.” [FCPD]
Fairfax County Police Officer Shoots Woman — A woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition yesterday (Monday) after a Fairfax County police officer fired their weapon and shot her during a confrontation at a group home in Springfield. Police say they responded to the 8000 block of Gosport Lane by a disturbance call about a woman reportedly assaulting people. [The Washington Post]
Bijan Ghaisar’s Family Protests Park Police Task Force Appointment — “The parents of Bijan Ghaisar, a 25-year-old resident of McLean who was shot and killed by U.S. Park Police in November 2017, are protesting Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s decision to appoint former U.S. Park Police Chief Robert MacLean to head a new task force reviewing law enforcement policies…in the wake of the police’s violent crackdown in Lafayette Park in 2020 during the presidency of Donald Trump.” [Patch]
Falls Church City Seeks School Supplies — “The City of Falls Church Housing and Human Services (HHS) team will help local families with free school supplies. Donations for all ages — and especially middle and high school students — can be delivered to City Hall (300 Park Ave.) through Friday, August 13.” [City of Falls Church]
Falls Church Startup Proposes Automating Tax Appeals — A startup co-founded by Falls Church City Councilmember Ross Litkenhous is looking to raise $2 million to fund a software platform that they say will simplify the property tax appeals process. Launched in February, Calvary Real Estate Advisors would help users fill out the assessment appeal, find ways to save money, and send the form to the right place. [Washington Business Journal]
MCA Supports Proposal to Replace Office Building — “The McLean Citizens Association’s board of directors on July 7 passed a resolution generally supportive of a proposed townhouse development at 7700 Leesburg Pike, but sought changes to bolster pedestrian safety and discourage cut-through traffic.” [Sun Gazette]
Lack of Transparency Frustrates Justice Park Advocates — Documents obtained by the community group Justice for Justice Park, which opposes a proposal to convert part of the Falls Church park into a parking lot, show that county park and school officials had been negotiating a land transfer for two years without telling the public. The group argues a master plan amendment should be required before any moves are made. [The Annandale Blog]
New Jersey Driver Wanted for Assault on Police Officer — According to the Fairfax County Police Department’s weekly report, a police officer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries after attempting to arrest a man who was driving a vehicle without the owner’s permission. The incident occurred in the 2000 block of Peach Orchard Drive in Tysons on July 3, and the man has not been located yet. [FCPD]
Vienna Named Bicycle-Friendly Community — The Town of Vienna has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze-level Bicycle-Friendly Community, an award given to “communities that demonstrate a strong commitment to bicycling by creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit residents and improve the quality of life.” [Town of Vienna]
McLean District Leads String of Vehicle Thefts — Fairfax County police have been investigating a series of stolen vehicle reports since early June. The incidents usually take place overnight and involve the suspects entering unlocked vehicles with the keys inside. The majority of thefts have occurred in the McLean District, which has 15 cases. [FCPD]
Tysons Boulevard Closure Delayed — Plans to close a section of Tysons Boulevard’s northbound lane for bicyclists and pedestrians have been postponed “due to a small delay in installation.” The temporary closure was scheduled to begin today (Tuesday) but will instead start next Wednesday (June 14). [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]
I-495 Ramps in Idylwood to Close Overnight — “The ramps from northbound I-495 to I-66 East and I-66 West are scheduled to be closed nightly Tuesday, July 6, through Thursday, July 8, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., and Friday night, July 9, from midnight to 4 a.m. for paving and implementation of a traffic shift…The I-66/I-495 Interchange is being rebuilt as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]
Nearby: Tornado Touched Down in Arlington — The National Weather Service confirmed on Friday (July 2) that a tornado touched down during the thunderstorm that passed through the D.C. area the previous day. The twister charted a 4.4-mile path from northern Arlington to the National Mall and brought winds that reached 90 miles per hour. [ARLNow]
A police use-of-force study commissioned by Fairfax County revealed that officers use force too often and more than should be expected against both Black and white civilians.
Findings and recommendations of the study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio were presented at the county’s Board of Supervisors public safety committee meeting yesterday (June 29).
The study dove into the 1,360 use-of-force cases involving the Fairfax County Police Department over a three-year period from January 2016 to December 2018.
About 42% of cases were directed at those who are Black, 38% to those who are white. Hispanic and Asian civilians comprised 16% and 3% of such cases, respectively.
Additionally, Black civilians were 1.8 times more likely to have a weapon, such as a taser or firearm, pointed at them by police.
Some of the findings surprised the researchers. For example, there was a higher level of use of force cases directed at those who are white than perhaps expected, and generally, police used force against Hispanic civilians less frequently than they predicted..
“It’s a little bit unusual to findings like that, in my experience,” said University of Texas professor Michael R. Smith, one of the researchers presenting the study. “But those are what they were here in Fairfax County.”
For Black people, who make up about 10.6% of Fairfax County’s population, force rates did exceed proportional rates in most categories — disparities that Smith noted were expected.
Some of the disparities can be tracked to specific district stations as well.
Force used against Black civilians happened at higher rates in the Mount Vernon District as well as in Franconia, McLean, and West Springfield.
Also, worth noting is that while use of force rates against Asian civilians, who now compose 20% of the county’s population, was overall lower across the county than other racial groups, it exceeded proportional benchmarks in Reston, Fair Oaks, West Springfield, and Mount Vernon.
Men are also much more likely to have more severe force used against them than women, which the researchers said was not uncommon.
A data point that roiled some county board members was if pointing a weapon (firearm or taser) constituted a Level 1 or more severe Level 3 use of force.
For the purposes of the study and after consulting with FCPD, researchers admitted they knocked down the severity of pointing a weapon, which altered the data.
“After some preliminary discussions with senior leadership of the police department, we re-coded the pointing of a weapon — typically a taser or a firearm — to a level one,” Smith said. “This showed…the disparity in force against African-Americans was largely [having to do with] the pointing of the weapon.”
The data revealed that Black civilians were close to nearly two times more likely to have a weapon pointed at them than white civilians.
“These coding decisions matter. It’s a conceptual question,” said Smith. “Police departments around the country and their communities are wrestling with this right now…How serious is it to point a weapon at someone?” Read More
(Updated at 10:05 a.m.) A tennis instructor employed at George Mason High School in Falls Church has been arrested for allegedly having illegal sexual contact with a student.
The Fairfax County Police Department announced this morning (Tuesday) that 29-year-old Rafael “Rally” Diokno faces three charges of taking indecent liberties with a child by a custodian, a Class 6 felony that carries potential sentences of up to five years in prison or a 12-month jail term with a fine of up to $2,500.
Here is more on the investigation from the police report:
Our detectives began their investigation on June 16, after it was learned that Rafael “Rally” Diokno, of Falls Church, was having unlawful sexual contact with a student. Diokno was a seasonal contract employee with the Falls Church City Public Schools. Detectives determined the unlawful conduct began in May of this year and the acts occurred at different locations within the confines of Fairfax County. Yesterday, detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad arrested Diokno, and he is currently being held at the County’s Adult Detention Center without bond.
Falls Church City Public Schools says that it first hired Diokno as a seasonal tennis coach in February 2016. He was terminated from the position on June 4.
FCCPS said in a statement that it is committed to supporting the student, while remaining aware of the possibility that additional victims may come forward:
FCCPS is committed to supporting the student and family involved and all of its students and staff members. At the same time, we want to ensure and respect the privacy of those involved. As the police and CPS investigation continues, we must be alert to the possibility of additional potential victims. It is crucial that individuals feel comfortable and supported in coming forward if they have additional information or concerns.
According to FCCPS, school officials contacted the City of Falls Church Police Department and Child Protective Services on June 3 “immediately after receiving an allegation of potentially inappropriate conduct by a coach toward a student athlete.”
“As a result, the coach was immediately relieved of his coaching duties,” FCCPS said. “This action enabled FCCPS to ensure the safety of its students while completing its investigation…The former coach no longer had access to the school or its students at the time of and leading up to the arrest.”
Since it is an ongoing criminal investigation, FCCPS says it will not comment further on the specifics of the case or on personnel matters beyond noting that, while Diokno was not a member of its instructional staff, the school system followed its standard procedures when hiring him, including fingerprinting and background checks.
“Falls Church City Public Schools has been fully cooperating with the Police and CPS during the investigation before the arrest and will continue to do so as their investigations continue,” FCCPS said.
The FCPD is asking anyone with information about the case or who may have had inappropriate contact with Diokno to contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3, or by submitting an anonymous tip through Crime Solvers.
“Victim specialists from our Major Crimes Bureau’s Victim Services Division have been assigned to ensure that the victim is receiving appropriate resources and assistance,” the FCPD said.
Updated at 2:40 p.m. — The electronic device discovered outside of CIA’s Langley headquarters, leading to a two-hour closure of Route 123, turned out to be innocuous, a CIA spokesperson says.
“The investigation identified the small electronic device by our front gate to be a remote for a dog training collar with no security implications,” CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay told Tysons Reporter in a statement. “Our front gate is all clear, and the matter is resolved.”
Updated at 1:30 p.m. — Route 123 has reopened in front of the CIA in McLean, the Fairfax County Police Department says.
The road was closed for roughly two hours while the intelligence agency investigated “a small electronic device” found outside its headquarters with support from local police.
“In coordination with our law enforcement partners, we’re investigating a small electronic device found outside the secure perimeter of CIA Headquarters near our front gate,” CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay said in a statement. “Consistent with our standard protocols, we’re taking the appropriate security precautions, which include closing the front gate to CIA Headquarters.”
De Haay said the CIA will update its statement as more details about the situation become known.
Earlier: Route 123 is currently closed to traffic around the CIA headquarters in McLean.
A traffic alert from Fairfax County says drivers should “expect delays for an undetermined amount of time.”
Just last month, Route 123 was closed in the CIA headquarters area in response to a security incident where an individual reportedly attempted to drive through the gates and was stopped by armed guards.
That incident concluded when an FBI agent who responded to the scene shot the man, who later died from his injuries and has never been publicly identified.
The CIA directed follow-up inquiries about the incident to the FBI, which said it was conducting an internal review of the incident in accordance with its policies for shootings involving agents.
The FBI told Tysons Reporter on May 20 that it had no further information or comment beyond its public statement, reprinted below, announcing the individual’s death.
The subject involved in the shooting incident outside CIA Headquarters at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021, died from his injuries after being transported to the hospital. The FBI reviews every shooting incident involving an FBI special agent. The review will carefully examine the circumstances of the shooting and collect all relevant evidence from the scene. As the review remains ongoing, we cannot provide any additional details at this time.
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) June 18, 2021
Two People Displaced by Vienna Townhouse Fire — A townhouse fire in Vienna that closed part of Church Street for about two hours on Wednesday (June 9) displaced two people and resulted in about $148,750 in damages. Investigators say the fire was accidental, started in a wall between a bedroom closet and second-floor bathroom by an “open flame device (torch) that ignited nearby combustibles.” [FCFRD]
Police Hold Town Hall on Vehicle Pursuit Policy — Community members raised concerns about drunk driving and car thefts at a town hall that the Fairfax County Police Department held yesterday (Thursday) to discuss proposed revisions to its policy for vehicle pursuits. Among other changes, the new policy eliminates traffic violations, misdemeanors, and non-violent felonies as situations that can justify a pursuit. [WTOP]
School Bus Crashes in Annandale — A school bus and car collided at the intersection of Gallows Road and Surrey Lane in Annandale yesterday afternoon. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said “several” kids on the bus were transported to hospital “as a pre-caution for a check-up” and the car driver was transported with non-life-threatening injuries. [FCFRD/Twitter]
Classroom Modular Coming to Kilmer MS — Kilmer Middle School will get 10 new classroom spaces with the construction on a modular facility that will also have a staff workroom and restrooms. The Fairfax County School Board is scheduled to award a contract for the project on June 17 with on-site work expected to begin in July and finish by the end of this calendar year. [Hunter Mill District School Board Community Update]
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (June 8)
- Democratic Primary Election — 6 a.m.-7 p.m. — The Virginia Democratic Primary for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General will be held on June 8th. Check your polling location. Voters must be registered to vote and can present a valid photo ID. View a sample ballot ahead of time. More information can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections.
- On Deck with Mercury — 6-8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard St. NE) — For his monthly community forum, Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton will discuss upcoming events for Liberty Amendments Month with guests. The talk will be filmed and aired later on the town’s YouTube channel, but members of the public are also invited to come and watch.
- Duck Harbor (Online) — 8 p.m. — A heartwarming web series about a bi-coastal love story written by E.M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, this online, live theatrical performance from 1st Stage will air for free every Tuesday at 8 p.m. for 12 weeks. All aired episodes and bonus content will also be available through Duck Harbor ALL ACCESS for $15.
Wednesday (June 9)
- Fish Suncatcher Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:30 p.m. — Pick up a Grab and Go Craft kit from the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church, and join Ms. Meredith on the library’s Facebook page for an afternoon of stories and songs about fish while learning how to make a suncatcher. Kits are currently available via curbside pickup, and the instructions video will remain online after the event.
- COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony — 6 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center ellipse (12000 Government Center Pkwy) — The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is holding a ceremony to honor and remember the more than 2,350 residents of the region who have died from COVID-19. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fire and Rescue Chief John Butler, and Police Chief Kevin Davis will speak.
Thursday (June 10)
- Police Pursuits Town Hall (Online) — 7 p.m. — The Fairfax County Police Department will host a virtual town hall to collect community feedback on proposed revisions to its policy for vehicle pursuits. Community members can participate in the town hall through Zoom.
Friday (June 11)
- American Red Cross Blood Drive — 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — MCC is hosting a blood drive for the American Red Cross. All donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Make an appointment online or call 1-800-733-2767. For more information, contact Melanie Hurley at [email protected] or Meosha Hudson at 410-375-5190 or [email protected].
- Wolf Trap Salon Series (Online) — 7 p.m. — A series of online opera recitals curated by the artists in the show. The virtual performance gives “an intimate look into artistry…providing a unique glimpse into how they interpret art, songs and the world around them.”
Saturday (June 12)
- UFC 263 Social Mixer — 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at Highgate at the Mile (7915 Jones Branch Dr., Apt. 206) — UFC DMV, a local group of UFC and martial arts fans in the D.C. area, invites fellow enthusiasts to meet new people, eat, and drink while watching Saturday’s title fights. Admission is $10, and food will be provided, but attendees should bring their own drinks.
Sunday (June 13)
- Summer Sunday Concert: Josh Lovelace — 5 p.m. at the McLean Central Park gazebo (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd.) — McLean’s Summer Concert series kicks off this Sunday with a free, family-friendly show by Josh Lovelace, a member of the Grammy nominated rock band NEEDTOBREATHE.
Photo via Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church/Facebook