New Details Released on Officer-involved Shooting and Crime Spree in Downtown Herndon

Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard said the two Maryland men arrested on Labor Day in connection with an armed robbery, shooting at a police officer, and a carjacking in downtown Herndon have “extensive criminal histories” and may be connected to other similar incidents in the county.

At a debriefing before the Herndon Town Council earlier this week, DeBoard released new details about the incident that happened near Locust Street. She said police officers responded quickly and effectively, even though there were only four people on duty when the incident happened at around 7:20 p.m. that day.

Edward Maul Mejia Sandoval, 22, was charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of threatening to abduct with the intent to defile. Manual Enrique Casco, 34, was charged with robbery, carjacking and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police believe the suspects were attempting to rob a business in downtown Herndon that evening. As the incident was unfolding, one of the two women assaulted by the men spotted a police cruiser parked in the store’s security camera footage. The woman alerted the police officer — who was filling out paperwork in the cruiser and happened to be near the scene at the time — about the armed robbery. The officer — whose name has not been disclosed — immediately began to chase the suspects as they fled from the business, police said.

During the foot pursuit, one of the suspects shot at the police officer. The officer responded by shooting back. No one was injured or hit during the exchange, police said.

Sandoval was arrested with the help of two off-duty police officers and an EMT from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. After a brief search, Casco was arrested nearly thirty minutes later after police received a report of a carjacking up the street near Guapos.

The Fairfax County Police Department has taken over the criminal investigation due to the town’s limited resources, DeBoard said. The officer-involved shooting was a first for all three commanders on the scene at the time, she said.

“When you have an incident of this magnitude and this high enough of a threat, it becomes extremely dangerous and challenging,” DeBoard told the council.

The Herndon Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation. The county’s Commonwealth Attorney will determine if the police officer’s use of a gun was justified. Thus far, the suspects have not been charged with attempted capital murder.

The incident was captured with body camera footage. DeBoard also said the Herndon Town Council’s $25,000 investment in technology to track police cruisers helped police respond to the scene by tracking the cruiser.

Details about the business robbed by the suspects, the names of the victims, and the name of the officer will not be released for privacy and safety reasons, the police chief said. The department may release the officer’s name later this week if it determines there is no threat to safety.

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Greater Reston Arts Center Challenges Students to Create Exhibit-inspired Artwork

As photographer Nate Larson’s work on centroid towns goes on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center later this month, the nonprofit organization is challenging students to create artwork inspired by its overarching theme and supporting concepts.

The new Emerging Visions program is part of GRACE’s efforts to take “its mission beyond the center walls” and create opportunities for students to interact with contemporary art in the classroom, according to its website.

GRACE worked with Fairfax County Public Schools to create an educators’ packet that relays the messages and themes explored by the artwork.

Larson’s upcoming exhibit — which is on display from September 28 through January 4 — explores centroid towns, which the U.S. Census Bureau classifies as the mean center of a population as it moves steadily west and south.

Students can respond to a theme by creating their own artwork in any medium. GRACE’s staff will select student artwork to be exhibited in the Emerging exhibition at GRACE from June 6 through June 27 next year. An opening reception is set for June 5.

For more information about the program, contact education and public programs manager Sarah Benz.

Photo via GRACE

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Scrawl Books Hosting Back-to-School Party Saturday to Help Kids in Need

Scrawl Books is hosting a family-friendly party to benefit an organization that high-quality early learning for kids.

The Reston bookstore will have fun activities for kids and parents scattered throughout the store and each half-hour a staff member will read a book for the audience. The event will run from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 11911 Freedom Drive on Saturday (Sept. 7).

Donations will be accepted on-site and a portion of sales will benefit the Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children.

The organization’s goal is to create a safe, healthy and happy learning environment for every kid under the age of eight.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Wood

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Del. Ken Plum: Elections Are Annual Events in Virginia

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Labor Day is the traditional time that election campaigns get underway, but in Virginia with an election schedule different from that in most states election campaigns seem to be continuous. Voters in most states have the year off, but Virginia voters this November will face ballots filled with candidates for local and state elections. And next year when all states have federal elections for members of Congress and the presidency Virginians will have those elections too. If the outcomes were not so important people in the Commonwealth could grow weary over all these elections. Some of the low turnout at the polls on election day could probably be attributed to voter fatigue.

If someone has not yet knocked on your door or sent you information in snail mail or social media, you need to get ready for the flurry of campaigning that is about to happen. On November 5 voters will elect all 100 members of the House of Delegates and the 40 members of the Senate. In addition to the many critical issues facing the state, the elections this year will determine if the Republicans maintain their razor thin majorities in both houses or whether the Democrats will take one or both houses. Polling indicates that the Democrats are in a very strong position for a coup. Find out your election district if you have forgotten by going to Voter Information.

At the local level in Fairfax County voters will elect their representatives on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and on the Fairfax County School Board. In addition voters will elect three at-large members of the School Board. The election also includes the sheriff and the Commonwealth’s attorney. That’s a lot of candidates to be knocking on your door, calling you on the phone, and sending you dozens of slick brightly colored post cards touting their strengths and sometimes alerting you to the weaknesses in their opponents. As has been observed many times the system may seem to have its abuses and flaws, but no one has been able to come up with a better system.

As a change-up to traditional campaigning I sponsor a free family picnic to get entire families involved for everyone is welcome and as a way to reduce the costs of campaigns to constituents who are expected to contribute at most events. Bring your family and join us at Temporary Road Park in Reston at the corner of North Shore Drive and Temporary Road on Saturday afternoon, September 7, 4 to 6 pm. Let us know you are coming at [email protected] so that we have enough food prepared. Other candidates are expected to come.

We can enjoy the end of the summer holiday season and the beginning of the fall campaigns in a relaxed environment. The issues before us are too important to not participate in the process regardless of your political persuasion. Our outdoor social can get us in the mood for yet another round of voting in Virginia.

File photo

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Report: Uncle Julio’s and Boston Properties Settle Reston Town Center Parking Lawsuit

Uncle Julio’s, a Mexican restaurant in Reston Town Center, has reached a settlement in a lawsuit the business filed against Boston Properties in late 2018 over its paid parking policies.

In early August, the case was voluntarily dismissed and all parties were ordered to pay their own legal fees. Uncle Julio’s, which has been located in RTC since 1992, sought $5 million from Boston Properties to account for the effects of paid parking on its business. The restaurant argued that the system — which has been in effect for more than two years — led to $1 million in losses annually.

A spokesperson for Uncle Julio’s told the Washington Business Journal that the issue was resolved “amicably.” The business plans to continue to offer validated parking for all customers for dining at Uncle Julio’s.

Here’s more from the WBJ report: 

One of the issues Uncle Julio’s had raised in its complaint was that its closest parking garage in the development had become less accessible as a result of another parking-related lawsuit at the property. According to the Uncle Julio’s complaint, after Jackson’s restaurant sued over paid parking, a judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing Reston Town Center from enforcing the pay-to-park system on Jackson’s customers in the Orange garage. Subsequently, according to Uncle Julio’s, the pay-to-park system was disabled at the Orange garage.

“As a consequence, patrons throughout the Reston Town Center now attempt to park at the Orange Garage in order to avoid the imposition of parking charges,” stated the complaint, which was amended in March. 

In March 2017, Boston Properties and Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge settled a dispute over the paid parking system — part of a continuing uproar from local businesses and residents over the parking system. Previously, public backlash has pushed Boston Properties to cut back hours when payment is required by allowing free parking on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

Image via Google Maps

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Thursday Morning Notes

Thursday Takeover with Lululemon — Enjoy a 45-minute sweat session at the Reston Town Center’s pavilion with Lululemon ambassador Cameron. Class is free and begins at 6 p.m. [Reston Town Center]

New Exhibit Comes to Signature — Maremi Andreozzi’s work will be on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center’s satellite gallery at the apartment building in Reston Town Center. The exhibition, “Hidden Histories,” begins today and runs through January 7. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Voting Now Open for Reston Community Center Preference Poll — Voting is now open for this year’s preference poll, which offers five candidates for three, three-year positions on RCC’s Board of Governors. [Reston Community Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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