Newsletter

Morning Notes

Real Estate Taxes Due Today — Fairfax County property owners must pay the second installment of their real estate taxes by the end of today (Monday). Taxes can be paid through the Department of Tax Administration’s online portal. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Vienna Man Arrested in Fatal Hit and Run — Carlos Alexander Torres Jr., 24, of Vienna was arrested in Montgomery County on Friday (Dec. 3) after police detectives determined that he was allegedly the driver in a Sept. 1 hit-and-run crash in Reston that killed the other driver. Police believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. [FCPD]

Asian Restaurant in Vienna ClosesRed Galanga at 144 Church Street NW closed its doors for the last time on Dec. 1, citing challenges with filling positions during the pandemic. Sister restaurant Sweet Ginger (120 Branch Road SE) will honor outstanding gift certificates from Red Galanga, which says an Italian restaurant will take its place on Church Street. [Patch]

Former WFT Quarterback Sells McLean House — “Alex Smith, quarterback for the Washington Football Team until earlier this year, has sold his 6,300-square-foot mansion in McLean for $5,800,000. He first listed the property for $6,750,000 in June, a few months after he was released from the team.” [Washingtonian]

Leaf Vacuum Careens into Vienna Garage — “Town of Vienna employees were working in the 400 block of Center Street, N., on Nov. 30 at 2:59 p.m. and had parked a leaf-vacuum trailer on the roadway with a wheel stop in place to secure it. Due to the steep incline, the trailer went over the wheel stop, proceeded down a hill and struck the garage of a residence, Vienna police said.” [Sun Gazette]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Hospital Center Expands into Tysons — “The Arlington health system has purchased a building at 1760 Old Meadow Road where it’s setting up an orthopedic outpatient surgery center, according to VHC CEO Jim Cole. The hospital is now renovating a 14,900-square-foot area of existing building in a project expected to cost $6.4 million including construction and equipment…The facility is slated to open in mid-2022.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Releases FY 2023 Budget Forecast — Fairfax County anticipates a 5.7% revenue increase of approximately $279.6 million for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1, 2022. However, the gains will be offset by continued declines in real estate values for office buildings and senior care facilities due to the pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]

County Police Focus on Recruitment and Violent Crimes — “While monitoring disturbing trends such as domestic homicides and increasingly violent vehicle thieves, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis hopes to hire more officers and implement changes to modernize the police department. The county’s overall crime rate now is down by slightly more than 12%, or about 3,500 fewer victims compared with the previous year.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Town of Vienna Offices Closed Tomorrow — “Town offices and the Community Center will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. There will be no trash collection on Nov. 25, crews will pick up along that route the next day. The Community Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 26, while Town offices will be closed.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Visit Fairfax Launches Holiday Gift Guide — “Ali Morris at Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism and hospitality promotion group, created the Fairfax County 2021 Holiday Gift Guide to showcase gift-worthy products created right here and the artisans behind the creations. You can shop by these categories: art and designs; body; chocolate; coffee; food; kids; pets; stocking stuffers; textiles; wine, beer and spirits.” [FCEDA]

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Home Depot in Merrifield (via Google Maps)

No criminal activity is suspected in the death of a forklift operator at the Home Depot in Merrifield, the Fairfax County Police Department says.

Police responded to the store at 2815 Merrilee Drive shortly after midnight today (Tuesday) after getting a call about a man trapped under a forklift.

According to the FCPD, detectives have determined that Paul Gato, 43, of Woodbridge was using the forklift to unload supplies from a delivery truck when the machine fell on its side, trapping him.

“The driver of the delivery truck heard the loud crash, noticed the deceased under the forklift and immediately summoned emergency medical services and police,” police said this afternoon in a news release.

The investigation remains active, and detectives are working with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program, which enforces work-related safety and health laws and regulations.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death, police say.

Results from the autopsy are not yet available, the medical examiner’s office told Tysons Reporter.

Photo via Google Maps

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People hold candles at night (via Robert Towell/Flickr)

A beloved 65-year-old security professional killed this week in a crash on Georgetown Pike will be honored with a candlelight vigil in McLean, along with funeral services at the D.C. school where he worked and in his hometown state of Texas.

The family-led candlelight vigil will be held tomorrow (Nov. 20) at 5 p.m. at Langley High School, honoring Fairfax resident Andre Newman, the son of Ray Charles saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman.

Newman was driving east on Georgetown Pike on Saturday (Nov. 13) when he collided with a Range Rover attempting to turn left near Langley High School, police reported. He was taken to the hospital, where he died on Sunday (Nov. 14).

“Andre Newman always seemed to have the light on his side,” said an obituary shared by his daughter. “Born the son of the world renowned Jazz legend, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Andre knew the weight and gravity of cultivating your personal talents, exhibiting a great work ethic, community servitude and investing into family unity.”

Andre Newman’s family will hold candlelight vigil for him at Langley High School (courtesy Esther Newman)

Newman was born in Dallas on May 16, 1956 and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He moved to the D.C. region to pursue a graduate education at American University, going on to serve as a partial owner of the now-defunct firm Aimats Security Agency.

Starting in August 2002, he worked as a security supervisor at Sidwell Friends, the D.C.-based private school attended by several presidents’ children, from Richard Nixon’s daughters, Julie and Tricia, to Sasha and Malia Obama.

Head of School Bryan Garman praised Newman as a “lifelong learner” who “lived with kindness” in a letter to the Sidwell Friends community.

“A former supervisor of the night shift, he more recently took on mid-day responsibilities, including dismissal,” Garman wrote. “He especially took pride in his meticulous documentation of security incidents and his keen investigative skills.”

Sidwell Friends will have a service at 10 a.m. on Nov. 28. Newman’s Dallas funeral service will be Dec. 5.

He is survived by his wife, Shirleen Newman; his children, Esther Newman, Arianna Newman, and Andre Newman II; and his brothers, Terry, Cadino, and Benji.

Photo via Robert Towell/Flickr

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m. on 11/19/2021) A 65-year-old Fairfax resident involved in a crash that closed Georgetown Pike in McLean over the weekend has died, the Fairfax County Police Department announced this afternoon (Monday).

According to police, Andre Newman was driving a 2012 Nissan Sentra east on Georgetown Pike around 11:37 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 13) when he side-swiped a 2019 Range Rover that was attempting to turn left from westbound Georgetown Pike onto Langley Lane.

The Nissan drove off the roadway and into a ditch. Newman, the vehicle’s only occupant, sustained injuries considered life-threatening and was transported to a hospital, where he died Sunday morning (Nov. 14). (Correction: This article previously said Newman died Monday morning, rather than on Sunday, as reported by police.) 

The Range Rover contained four passengers: the driver and three juveniles. They remained at the scene of the crash during the FCPD’s preliminary investigation.

“Preliminarily, detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit do not believe that speed and alcohol are factors in the crash,” the police department said. “The investigation remains active, and details of the investigation will be presented to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for review.”

Newman is the 17th person to die in a road incident that didn’t involve a pedestrian in Fairfax County this year. There were 10 non-pedestrian fatalities in all of 2020.

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The Fairfax County Police Department’s newly appointed commander for the McLean District Station wants your help.

McLean District Station Commander Captain Wilson Lee and Assistant Commander Lieutenant Scott Cowell joined the McLean Citizens Association’s Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 3) to discuss their priorities for the station.

Lee cited taking care of the wellbeing and health of the station’s officers as his primary priority, followed by providing proper education and being proactive in preventing crime.

“If we don’t take care of our officers, we can’t really carry forward with the mission,” Lee said.

The station’s goals also include maintaining a strong relationship with the community in its purview and ensuring a high level of public engagement, he added.

“The police can’t do it by ourselves,” Lee said. “…As much as I love having our police officers everywhere we go, it’s not viable and just not possible. You guys are really our eyes and ears, and can help us tremendously in continuing to make Fairfax County safe.”

The MCA board also asked Lee about the impact of COVID-19 and the police department’s reported staffing shortages.

Starting tomorrow (Saturday), district stations will move some officers from specialty groups, such as the selective enforcement team or neighborhood patrol bike teams, to help fill patrol staffing needs, according to Lee.

He described the FCPD’s current vacancy levels of around 140 officers as “not usual” and “rather high.” However, Lee stated the McLean District Station has enough staff members to move around and “not really” take away from its specialized teams.

Most officers are vaccinated against COVID-19, and those that aren’t are getting tested regularly, according to Lee. He surmised the greatest impact of the pandemic was felt in early 2020 when the department was trying to minimize contact to avoid infections among officers.

When asked about priorities for the county’s upcoming fiscal year 2023 budget, Lee said the FCPD would like to see an increase in compensation to become more competitive in recruiting and retaining employees, echoing what officials told the Board of Supervisors last week.

Police and Fire Chief to Speak at Upcoming Forum

MCA will get a more countywide perspective on local public safety activities later this month with a forum featuring Fire and Rescue Chief John Butler and Police Chief Kevin Davis, who is speaking to the community group for the first time since taking office in May.

According to a notice from MCA, Butler and Davis will discuss their priorities, challenges, new initiatives, employee morale, fire and crime prevention, and how their departments have been affected by the growth of the Tysons area.

Davis will also talk about the FCPD’s School Resource Officer program. Neighboring Arlington County and the City of Alexandria removed SROs from schools earlier this year, though the latter reinstated the program after seeing several violent incidents to start the school year.

Some racial justice advocates have called on Fairfax County to end the use of SROs, but their efforts haven’t gained the same momentum so far.

The public safety forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17. Advance registration is required to obtain the Zoom link, though the event will also stream live on MCA’s Facebook page.

Questions for Davis and Butler can be sent to [email protected]

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A McLean resident who ran a religious mentorship institute out of his home allegedly sexually assaulted at least two children involved in the program, the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).

According to the news release, detectives from the department’s Major Crimes Bureau Child Abuse Squad arrested 75-year-old Antonio Perez-Alcala Monday evening (Nov. 1) at 2001 Great Falls Street, where he lived and operated the Secular Institute Stabat Mater.

Perez-Alcala has been charged with nine counts of aggravated sexual battery and is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

According to the FCPD, detectives learned on Oct. 28 that a child had told an adult that they were sexually assaulted by a leader of Stabat Mater.

“Detectives determined Antonio Perez-Alcala owned the McLean home where he operated the Secular Institute,” police said in the news release. “Juveniles attended private mentoring sessions, often in Perez-Alcala’s bedroom. The victim was sexually assaulted during the private sessions.”

Police identified a second victim through a preliminary investigation that led them to obtain an arrest warrant for Perez-Alcala.

There could be additional victims, as Perez-Alcala had held various religious positions in Northern Virginia since the mid-1990s, the FCPD says.

Since the mid-1990s, Perez-Alcala held various positions throughout the Northern Virginia area where he had contact with young members of our community. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this case or believe Perez-Alcala had inappropriate contact with a child to please call our Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800, option 3.

Perez-Alcala was affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from 1994 to 2008 in a non-ordained capacity. Detectives are working with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington to determine if any additional victims may have been impacted.

The FCPD accepts anonymous tips through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-8477), text (“FCCS” plus tip to 847411), and online. Tipsters can receive cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.

Stabat Mater is an all-male group that focuses on “the formation of young people toward integrating the spiritual with the secular” and is part of the U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes.

According to the Secular Institutes website, members commit to a life of “poverty, chastity and obedience” and work to spread Christian teachings through charity and gospel. The practice is part of the Catholic Church, but members can be either clergy or laypersons.

The U.S. Conference of Secular Institutes did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to a 2016 article from the Arlington Catholic Herald, Perez-Alcala got involved with Stabat Mater in the 1960s and was assigned to the D.C. area in 1993. At that time, there were four men in residence at the McLean Stabat Mater.

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Local and federal authorities are offering more reward money for information about an early morning killing from Oct. 20 at a Wells Fargo walk-up ATM on Annandale Road in West Falls Church.

Police reported last Saturday (Oct. 23) that the 73-year-old victim, Nelson Alexander Sr., of Falls Church, died after the robbery attempt and shooting.

The Fairfax County Police Department has been joined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in its investigation of the case. The ATF is now offering a $10,000 reward.

“We owe it to his family and to our community to relentlessly pursue justice,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a news conference today (Friday).

Police released additional security footage, stating that they have received many tips but are asking people to look again. Video from Metro showed individuals on a bus, but authorities are looking for other footage where the group may have been.

Authorities are hoping to identify three individuals that they believe include the person who killed Nelson, Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics Bureau Maj. Ed O’Carroll said.

Special Agent in Charge Charlie Patterson pledged full support of ATF in finding the person responsible, calling the killing a “horrific act.”

Tips can be sent to the ATF at [email protected], by phone at 888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), or online.

A passing cyclist noticed the victim in the parking lot around 6:14 a.m., and officers later responded to the 2900 block of Annandale Road.

Police previously shared how the attack occurred:

Preliminarily, detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau determined the victim entered the parking lot in his Jeep around 5:20 a.m. to use the walk-up ATM. As he was standing in front of the ATM, he was approached by a man wearing a mask who displayed a small revolver. The man was seen on surveillance footage threatening the victim and made demands before shooting him. The suspect left the area in an unknown direction.  

Alexander received surgery following the attack but was still in life-threatening condition in the hospital before dying from his injuries, police said Saturday (Oct. 23).

A vehicle was stolen in Alexandria, abandoned, and recovered by police about a half mile from the scene, O’Carroll said, adding that there may be more than just three people who were directly or indirectly involved.

FCPD has continued to ask for help in solving the crime. The department said if you have information or if you believe you have surveillance footage that. Police also asked people to look at home surveillance video not only from Oct. 20 but from previous days, too.

People may reach the Major Crimes Bureau by calling 703-246-7800 and pressing option two. FCPD also noted that tips can be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text (type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411) and online. Info can also be sent through the mobile app Fairfax Co Crime Solvers.

Tips to the county can get cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 if information leads to an arrest.

Police have classified the shooting as a murder investigation, the 19th so far this year in Fairfax County.

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Morning Notes

Family of Man Killed in I-495 Crash Starts GoFundMe — “The family of a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., man who died last week in a crash on the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County is holding an online fundraiser to help pay for his funeral expenses. The man, Elson Turcios, died in an early morning crash last Thursday on I-495, according to the Virginia State Police.” [Patch]

Metro Works to Bring More Railcars into Service — Metro is still working to bring back some older trains as crowding and long wait times continue to plague the transit system two weeks after a railcar derailed in Arlington. Officials said they ran 31 trains yesterday (Monday) and hope to improve service next week, though a timeline for the return of the 7000-series cars removed for inspections is still unclear. [DCist]

County Reports Strong Turnout for Sunday Voting — “We had a huge turnout for #earlyvoting this weekend. More than 9,000 people voted on Sat (10/23). On the first ever Sunday (10/24) for early voting, 4,656 people cast ballots! This is the last week to #voteearly” [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Annual Coat Drive Helps Fairfax County Residents and Beyond — “Firefighters, police officers and others in Fairfax County, Virginia, teamed up Monday to bag up 3,000 new winter jackets so they can get them onto the backs and shoulders of kids who need them…Most of the coats went to Fairfax County residents, and in many cases, along the Route 1 corridor. But some were going to places like Prince William County, the city of Alexandria and even into Prince George’s County, Maryland.” [WTOP]

Police Collect Unused Prescription Drugs — Fairfax County police collected 1,406 pounds of unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medication on Saturday (Oct. 23) as part of the 21st Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The McLean District Station received 220 pounds, behind West Springfield and Reston Hospital Center. [FCPD]

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Morning Notes

Victim of West Falls Church ATM Shooting Dies — “A 73-year-old man has died days after he was shot at an ATM in Falls Church, Virginia, during an attempted robbery, police said days after the attack. The victim was identified as Nelson Alexander, a loving, family-oriented man and involved member of his church who sang in the choir, his loved ones said.” [NBC4]

FCPS Hires Firm for Superintendent Search — The Fairfax County School Board has awarded human resources recruitment firm GR Recruiting a contract to conduct a nationwide search for Superintendent Scott Brabrand’s successor. Fairfax County Public Schools says parents, students, staff, and community members will be involved in the process, with the next superintendent taking over on July 1, 2022. [FCPS]

Another Full I-66 West Closure Coming Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will close Monday night, October 25, for continued bridge beam installation at the I-66/I-495 Interchange. Traffic will be detoured using Route 7 and I-495. Multiple lanes of I-495 North approaching I-66 will be closed, along with a full closure of the 495 Express Lanes North and associated ramps at the interchange so that this work may be implemented.” [VDOT]

Nonprofit Opens New Office in Vienna — “A nonprofit organization focused on providing day programs for adults with disabilities held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and talent show on Thursday as it celebrated the opening of its new administrative office in Vienna. The new office for the nonprofit SPARC is at The Church of the Good Shepherd, a United Methodist church located at 2351 Hunter Mill Road in Vienna.” [Patch]

County Board Looks at Waiving EV Permit Fees — “Fairfax County supervisors on Oct. 19 directed the county’s Department of Land Development Services to analyze the possibility of waiving permitting fees associated with installation of electric-vehicle infrastructure. The intention is to reduce barriers to switching to environmentally friendly alternatives, said Chairman Jeff McKay (D).” [Sun Gazette]

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