Del. Ken Plum: Special Session on Gun Violence

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.

Virginians are lovers of history, including this Virginian as regular readers of this column know. This year Virginia is celebrating 400 years since the first representative legislative body met at Jamestown. Virginia is the Mother of Presidents. Virginia is for lovers of all kinds of things!

One bit of history that continues to loom large in Virginia’s psyche these days with as little mention as possible from the state apologists is the prevalence of gun violence in the Commonwealth. Twelve years ago the campus of Virginia Tech was the scene of the largest mass murder of its time. While other mass murders have occurred since then, VA Tech through no direct fault of its own continues to hold the record for the most people killed on a college campus.

Virginia last week made history again. Virginia Beach was the scene of the biggest mass murder so far this year. A dubious distinction that we would least like to have. Virginia lost 1,028 people to gun violence in 2017, and as the Governor described it, that is almost three people a day; that is more deaths than those due to vehicle accidents.

For Governor Ralph Northam and for me and countless other Virginians, we long ago have had enough. As Governor Northam said in a press conference which I took part in last week: “No one should go to work, to school, or to church wondering if they will come home. But that is what our society has come to, because we fail to act on gun violence. I will be asking for votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers.”

The laws he is seeking to get passed have been introduced in the General Assembly during its regular sessions without success. In a special session called by the Governor that will be held on July 9, only bills intended to end gun violence will be considered. And the Governor requested that “members of the General Assembly engage in an open and transparent debate and that the bills brought before the legislature are put to a vote by the entire General Assembly.”

Bills related to gun violence that have been introduced in the regular session including my bill to require universal background checks have been routinely referred by the Speaker of the House to the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee where they are sent to a subcommittee of six members. The members of the subcommittee are appointed by the Speaker of the House, four of whom have perfect voting records of opposing any gun safety legislation. My background check bill and the approximate 15 other bills related to preventing gun violence were defeated on a predictable vote of 2 to 4 with limited discussion or debate. Yes, that’s right. Four members who are buddies with the NRA get to make the decision of 140 elected members of the General Assembly!

It is time for Virginia to make history again by leading the nation in doing the right thing to end gun violence. Voters, please pay close attention to how your elected representatives vote!

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Car Stolen from Garage in Home — Someone entered a garage on the 2700 block of Mansway Drive yesterday (May 21), took car keys and stole a 2017 Nissan Murano. The incident happened at around 7:15 a.m. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston-based Parabon Tracks Germantown Man Accused of Raping Elderly Women — DNA evidence submitted to the lab helped police track Marlon Alexander, who was sentenced to life in prison, on Tuesday. Alexander was linked to a series of unsolved rapes dating back over 10 years. [Fox 5]

A Recap of the 28th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival — Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) held its acclaimed free-to-the-public, 28th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival last weekend. The event featured more than 200 juried artists and offered “high-quality hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind artwork in the dynamic outdoor setting” at Reston Town Center according to GRACE. The Festival once again attracted an estimated crowd of 30,000. [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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BREAKING: Herndon HS Drama Teacher Faces 20 Charges of Possession of Child Pornography

Raphael Schklowsky, a drama teacher at Herndon High School, faces 20 felony charges of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming. 

Detectives discovered more than 3,500 videos on multiple electronic devices, according to the Fairfax County Police DepartmentSchklowsky, 36, was originally charged with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming on April 8. 

He was charged with the additional offenses today when he attended a hearing at the Fairfax County Courthouse. He is now being held on no bond.

Schklowsky has been on leave since his April 8 arrest. He was initially charged in early April when a woman told police she found a hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent in a home where she was working. Detectives found evidence of unlawful filming and arrested Schklowsky.

Photo via FCPD

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FCPD Reports Dip in Violent Crime in 2018

Fairfax County’s violent crime rate dipped slightly this year over last year, according to data compiled by the police department.

FCPD’s annual report finds that violence crime rates decreased between 2017 and 2018 for homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

The data, which were released Friday, show that homicide decreased from 201to 13, rape decreased from 98 to 92, and robbery decreased from 428 to 354. Aggravated assault also dipped from 283 to 260. Of FCPD’s eight police districts, the Reston District stations fell on the lower end for the number of driving while intoxicated arrests for last year.

Movement is also expected on a body worn camera pilot program that had a test run in Reston last year. FCPD Chief Edwin Roessler plans to share findings about the program — compiled in partnership with American University researchers —  with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor this year.

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JUST IN: Herndon Man Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking

A Herndon man pleaded guilty today to cyberstalking a victim in New York, according to a release by U.S. Attorney Zachary Terwilliger.

Brandon Theresa, 21, took part in a “cyberstalking campaign against a victim” between May 2015 through December last year, according to the office. His plea was released today (April 16).

Investigators said Theresa accessed the individual’s online accounts without permission and impersonated the victim and the victim’s friend to get information about the individual. Court documents indicate Theresa used U.S. Postal Service accounts, which give information about mail received at specific addresses, to find other ways to watch the victim.

Theresa pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and faces a maximum of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine sentencing.

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Crime Roundup: Parking Dispute Draws Police Presence

A parking dispute turned violent in Reston last week, police said.

Two people got into an argument in the parking lot of McDonalds at 11265 Roger Bacon Drive on April 11 at around 9:37 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“The victim got out of their car and tried to block the other car from leaving by standing in front of it.  The driver allegedly struck the victim in the leg with his car and left the scene,” FCPD said.

No injuries were reported and the police are treating the incident as an assault. It’s unclear if the driver was charged.

In other news, the Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

2200 block of Centreville Road, purse from location

2200 block of Centreville Road, purse from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, property from vehicle

9800 block of Faust Drive, license plate from vehicle

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, merchandise from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

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BREAKING: Police Find Weapons, Drug Stash in Reston Brothers’ Home

Two brothers from Reston are facing multiple felony charges after local police found weapons and drugs worth $80,000 in their home.

Fairfax County police arrested Jonathan Dailey, 27, and Timothy Dailey, 22, after a rifle, shotgun, handgun, body armor, and narcotics were found in their home, the police department reported today.

The investigation started when police discovered information about drugs being sold out of the home, police said. After receiving a search warrant, a SWAT team found seven pounds of marijuana and 250 hash oil cartridges along with the guns.

Jonathan Dailey, 27, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possessing a gun with drugs. Timothy Dailey, 22, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and distribution of hash oil.

Photos via Fairfax County Police Department

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BREAKING: Police Make Arrest in Clearwater Court Homicide Case

A Herndon woman has been arrested in connection with a homicide on Clearwater Court in Herndon earlier this month.

The Herndon Police Department arrested Stephanie Fyfe, 29, on Tuesday (April 9). The victim, David Puryear, 45, of Clinton, Md., was found unresponsive on April 5 at around 1 a.m. at the 600 block of Clearwater Court.

According to a crime report, Puryear had a stab wound to his chest. He was pronounced dead at Reston Hospital. Police said the victim and the suspect know each other.

Anyone with information should contact the police department at 703-435-6843.

In other news, the Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

2100 block of Centreville Road, merchandise from business

9900 block of Georgetown Pike, beer from business

11900 block of Market Street, merchandise from business

2400 block of Masons Ferry Drive, cash from location

11800 block of Spectrum Center, cash from business

11100 block of South Lakes Drive, merchandise from business

12000 block of Town Square Street, merchandise from business

11400 block of Washington Plaza, wallet from residence

STOLEN VEHICLES

None reported

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BREAKING: Herndon HS Theater Director Charged With Unlawful Filming

Updated at 9:42 p.m. — The teacher has been placed on leave, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Fairfax County Police have arrested Raphael Schklowsky, the theater director for Herndon High School, on charges of unlawful filming at a Reston home.

A woman told police she found a hidden camera in an air conditioning vent at a home on the 1800 block of Cranberry Lane in Reston, where she was working, according to a crime report.

FCPD arrested and charged Schklowsky, a 36-year-old Reston resident, with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming after detectives conducted an investigation and “found evidence of unlawful filming.”

He was held at the Adult Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

Photo via FCPD

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Crime Roundup: Suspect Tried to Cash Stolen Check at Herndon Bank

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a case of a stolen check that someone tried to cash at a Herndon bank, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

A man in Ashburn reported to police that an envelope containing a check was stolen from his mailbox, according to the police report.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, backpack from residence

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, tools from vehicle

1800 block of Campus Commons Drive, cable from business

2400 block of Centreville Road, electronic devices from business

2400 block of Centreville Road, cell phone from location

2500 block of Centreville Road, merchandise from location

2300 block of Emerald Heights Court, bicycles from residence

800 block of Grace Meadow Court, jewelry from residence

2300 block of Harley Ford Court, tools from vehicle

11900 block of Market Street, merchandise from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

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EXCLUSIVE: Herndon Man Charged in Connection with White Nationalist Group’s Posters

(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A Herndon man is facing charges after Vienna police say he was caught placing posters for a white nationalist group around the town, Reston Now has learned.

Last Saturday afternoon, a caller told police that two men were placing posters on light posts at a shopping center at 180 Maple Avenue, according to Vienna police.

Officers responded and observed one of the men placing a Patriot Front poster on a Town of Vienna utility box in the area of Nutley Street and Maple Avenue, Vienna officials told Reston Now.

Patriot Front is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “white nationalist hate group.” It was described as a “political activist organization” in Vienna’s weekly crime report; an inquiry from Reston Now confirmed that Patriot Front was the group behind the posts.

Police issued a summons to a 21-year-old Herndon man, Brendan Smith, for destruction of property, according to a town spokesman. The man was released on his signature, the report says.

Earlier this year, Patriot Front tweeted that its “activists” put up the posters around Herndon and Reston in January and then in Reston again in February and March. Posters were also recently placed around Vienna and Arlington, according to the group’s social media account.

The posters include slogans like “reclaim America” and “better dead than red.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front broke off from the alt-right group Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Arrested After Car Rental Expires

City of Fairfax police arrested a Herndon man after police received reports that his car rental had not been returned on time.

Police arrested the 32-year-old Herndon resident on the afternoon of March 7, the police report says.

He is currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center on a secured bond of $1,000.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cash from location

12100 block of Eddyspark Drive, wallet from vehicle

12000 block of Heather Down Drive, jewelry from residence

1400 block of North Point Village Center, merchandise from business

1800 block of Old Reston Avenue, laptop computers from residence

11800 block of Spectrum Center, merchandise from business

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, merchandise from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

1300 block of Pavilion Club Way, 2009 Nissan Murano

1100 block of Vantage Hill Road, 2008 Ford Expeditio

File photo 

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Crime Roundup: Great Falls Homeowner Finds Broken Window, Trespassing Evidence

A Great Falls homeowner found on Sunday (March 10) a broken rear window and evidence that people had been inside the home, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police said that nothing of value was taken because the house in the 9700 block of Mill Run Drive was vacant.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cash from vehicle

2500 block of Centreville Road, wallet from location

2200 block of Colts Neck Road, jewelry from residence

2200 block of Colts Neck Road, bag and jewelry from residence

12800 block of Fantasia Drive, medication from residence

12000 block of Greywing Square, airbag from vehicle

12000 block of Greywing Square airbags from vehicle

12000 block of Greywing Square airbag and steering wheel from vehicle

11400 block of Heritage Commons Way, wallet from residence

1200 block of Lamplighter Way, license plates from vehicle

1400 block of North Point Village Center, merchandise from business

11600 block of North Shore Drive, medication from residence

1200 block of Reston Avenue, electronic device from vehicle

10100 block of Walker Lake, pistols from residence

2200 block of White Cornus Lane, airbags from vehicle

1800 block of Wiehle Avenue, beer from business

11900 block of Winterthur Lane, airbag from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

File photo

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After Cancer Diagnosis, K9 Leon Retires From Herndon Police

After two years on the force, Leon recently retired from his police dog duties at the Herndon Police Department.

The 4-year-old German Shepherd was diagnosed with advanced stages of an undetermined form of cancer, a spokeswoman for the Town of Herndon told Reston Now.

Leon graduated from the Fairfax County K9 School in late December 2016. He was trained in tracking and narcotics detection.

In 2017, Leon received his ballistic vests from the nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s, which provides vests for police dogs in honor of fallen K9s.

Officer Trent Ashman, Leon’s handler and partner, told Reston Now that Leon has been deployed to the field 125 times since his 2016 graduation. Leon helped police discover and seize narcotics and weapons 49 different times, he added.

During his time at the police department, Leon aided with nine criminal apprehensions, Ashman said.

A highlight was when Leon tracked and found two suspects in a stolen vehicle case who were hiding in a creek miles away. “The stolen gun used in the crime was also located approximately 20 yards away from where the suspects were taken into custody,” Ashman said.

Leon officially retired on Feb. 22. “He will remain comfortably at home surrounded by his family,” the Herndon Police Department tweeted. “Thank you for your service, Leon. You’re a good boy.”

Photos via Herndon Police Department 

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After Shootout, Reston Man Charged with Attempted Murder of a Sheriff’s Deputy

Loudoun County police charged a Reston man with attempted capital murder in connection with a shootout last Thursday (Jan. 17) with deputies in Paeonian Springs.

Deputies responded to the 39000 block of Peacock Circle around 3:30 p.m. for a trespassing complaint after a witness said that a male forced entry into a trailer on the property, which contained firearms, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Before the deputies arrived, the suspect, now identified as Hyeong J. Suh, 29, of Reston, was heard firing a weapon on the property, the report said.

An investigation by the Sheriff’s Office indicates that Suh “fired a weapon several times, including firing rounds at two responding deputies.” The deputies exchanged gunfire and wounded Suh, who then “subsequently barricaded himself in the trailer, but exited a short time later and surrendered without further incident,” the report says.

Suh was immediately transported to a local hospital for a non-life threatening injury.

Suh was arrested and charged with one count of attempted capital murder and breaking and entering, according to the report. Currently, Suh is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center without bond.

Two deputies have been placed on routine, paid administrative leave until the end of the investigation, per Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office policy.

Photo via LCSO

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