Reston, VA

Friday Morning Notes

Covenants Staff Aim to Improve Service — Reston Association’s covenants team is working to improve its covenants process. Staff is currently handling a spike in requests for exterior modifications and other applications due to stay-at-home orders. The team is working on improving communications. [RA]

Nearby: Police Investigate Shootings —Major crime detectives continue to investigate three sheetings that happened over the last 36 hours in Fairfax County, including a shooting at a Motel 6 in Springfield, a shooting involving a juvenile victim, and another shooting in Lorton that left two men with serious injuries. [FCPD]

County Offers Tips on Celebrating Diwali Safely — The county is encouraging residents to celebrate the five-day festival of lights safely due to COVID-19. This year’s festival starts tomorrow (Saturday). [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Police have identified the name and age of a teen shot and killed on Sept. 17.

Ponce Garcia, 19, was found with multiple gunshot wounds overnight in the area of Colts Neck Road and Glade Drive.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identity was released by the Fairfax County Police Department today (Friday) after next of kin were notified.

The investigation is ongoing and detectives continue to process evidence and conduct interviews.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact FCPD using the following methods:

This remains an active investigation and detectives are asking anyone who has information about this incident to contact them at 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone – 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text – Type “FCCS” plus tip to 847411, and by web – Click HERE. Download our Mobile tip411 App “Fairfax Co Crime Solvers”. Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest.

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Local police are investigating a shooting that happened in a neighborhood on the intersection of North Shore Drive and Becontree Lane on May 22.

Two men shot at the SUV of a man and woman while they were driving in the neighborhood around 12:50 p.m.

No injuries were reported. Police believe both parties knew each other.

Although the suspects drove off in their vehicle, charges are pending, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Information about the incident was made public today (Tuesday).

File photo

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Fairfax County police are investigating a shooting that they say took place in front of a 7-Eleven in Herndon early Thursday (May 7) morning.

After receiving a report for possible gunshots, police said that they found out that a man was being treated for a non-serious gunshot wound at a local hospital.

“Further investigation determined the shooting took place in front of [13190 Parcher Avenue],” police said, adding that the front of the 7-Eleven at that address was damaged.

Police also said that they found several shell casings in the area.

The case is currently an active investigation, according to police. Anyone who has information can contact the police department at 703-246-7800

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A Herndon home was shot at over the weekend, according to the Herndon Police Department.

Police believe someone shot into a home on the 11000 block of Lopez Lane on Saturday, Jan. 4.

No injuries were reported and the case is under investigation.

Local police shared information about the incident on Tuesday (Jan. 7).

The police department did not return a request for comment for further information.

Image via Google Maps

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The security systems of Dogwood Elementary School are expected to get an upgrade after state Gov. Ralph Northam awarded five Fairfax County Public Schools a state grant.

The $236,102 grant pays for video monitoring systems, mass notification systems, visiter identification technology, two-way radios and other security upgrades.  It was established through the School Security Equipment Grants program, which was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Four other schools were selected for the grant: Crestwood Elementary, Parklawn Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Whitman Middle School. The grant is given to schools that are most in need of modern equipment, cannot afford the equipment, or have a relatively high number of offenses.

This year’s grant favored elementary schools at the recommendation of Northam’s Students Safety Workgroup.

A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions to accept the grant.

Image via Google Maps

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A Herndon police officer was involved in a shooting while responding to a report of an armed robbery in the area on Monday night.

Two suspects have been arrested, according to the Herndon Police Department. There is no active threat to the community.

The severity of the officer’s injuries is unknown.  The incident happened near Locust Street at around 9 p.m. on Monday (September 2).

The investigation is ongoing and the Herndon Police Department declined to release any other details about the incident.

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

LARCENIES:

1600 block of Becontree Lane, cell phone from school

11900 block of Freedom Drive, cell phone from location

1800 block of Presidents Street, property from vehicle

1600 block of Reston Parkway, merchandise from business

1900 block of Reston Station Boulevard, bicycle from parking lot

11800 block of Sunrise Valley Drive, bicycle from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

This story was updated.

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Virginia State Police arrested a Herndon man for allegedly trying to murder a police officer following a Clarke County shooting.

Police charged 33-year-old Timothy B. Neal with attempted capital murder of a police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to Virginia State Police.

Shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 5), a Clarke County sheriff’s deputy responded to a medical emergency call at a farmer’s market in the 4800 block of Harry Byrd Hwy (Route 7), Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said.

“When the Deputy and an ambulance arrived on scene, the male subject who reported being in distress had left the market on foot,” Geller said.

More from the Virginia State Police:

The Deputy began a search of the area for the male — later identified as Neal — and located him walking in the median of Route 7. Neal was compliant with the Deputy’s request for an ID. The Deputy had returned to his patrol car and was seated inside checking the man’s information when Neal pulled a concealed weapon from his waistband and fired at and struck the Deputy’s vehicle.

The Deputy immediately took cover and returned fire. Neal was struck and was transported to the Winchester Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The Deputy was not injured in the incident.

At the request of the Clarke County Sheriff, the Police Shooting Investigation Team, out of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office, is investigating the officer-involved shooting. The incident remains under investigation at this time.

Neal is being held without bond at the Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center.

File photo

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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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Local police say there is no evidence connected to a threat of violence at South Lakes High School.

On Friday, police investigated the possibility of a threat after receiving a report that a student threatened to “shoot up” the high school on social media.

According to the report, the student posted a picture on Snapchat with guns. If anyone reported the incident, the student threatened to shoot at the school, according to a parent of one of the students who reported the incident.

In a statement to Reston Now, Fairfax County Police Sgt. Brad Woehlren said the threat was investigated and “no threats, charges or arrests” were made.

The parent said he was impressed with how the school and its security officer handled the report.

I personally am very happy with how South Lakes is protecting our kids and I think it would help empower others to feel safe coming forward if they knew that South Lakes takes these issues seriously and can show that action was taken to prevent anything from happening,” said Ray Boatwright.

The school was under a lockdown in March after police received reports of a student with a gun. No weapon was found.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Spot a helicopter? — Don’t be alarmed. Helicopters are flying low in the area as crews conduct maintenance on power lines and wires in the coming days. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Obsolete offices — Fairfax County’s oldest office buildings have some of the lowest vacancy rates — even though they’re considered obsolete. That’s despite the fact that trophy towers are going up in Tysons and Reston. [Washington Business Journal]

Ashburn Shooting Arrest — A Centreville man has been arrested in connected with the shooting of a Reston man on Sunday at an Ashburn home. [Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office]

A new age — Metro’s Silver Line brings in a new age for Reston. Some fear development will ruin the community’s character. Others say it will fulfill its vision. [The Washington Post]

Photo submitted by Wade Gilley

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Roughly 200 students participated in a walkout on Friday (April 21) at Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road).

The walkout was in honor of the anniversary of 13 victims of the Columbine High School shooting.

Students left the school building at 10 a.m.. Most students re-entered the building and returned to fifth period class while a small group of students remained to continue the walkout.

Below is a message from Langston Hughes Middle School Principal Aimee Monticchio:

FCPS respects the rights of our students to engage in peaceful protest and express their opinions through speech and other ways as long as it is done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, and does not disrupt learning in the school.   Our school is committed to providing an environment where everyone is treated with respect and encouraged to help others.

Our teachers, administrators and staff continue to reinforce a sense of positive school community focused on teaching and learning in our increasingly complex world.  We thank you for your continued partnership in working with your child to discuss meaningful actions that they can take to engage in studies of all issues and participate fully in their community.

Similar walkouts happened at the school on February 21 and on March 14 in order to remember the victims of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

File photo

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Monday Morning Notes

Shooting on Sunday in Ashburn —  A Reston man was shot at early Sunday at a home on the 43500 block of Dunhill Court, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. [Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office]

Population density debate fires up — The Coalition for a Planned Reston will meet tonight to discuss a proposal by the county to increase the community’s population density. [Coalition for a Planned Reston]

Bookmark this, book lovers — Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its semi-annual book sale from Thursday through Sunday. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

Alcohol enforcement update — Officers from the Reston Neighborhood Patrol Unit conducted business compliance checks late last week at 11 businesses. 10 passed. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo by Sarah Mccue

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South Lakes High School is emphasizing its security and protest policies after a Florida high school shooting left 17 students and faculty dead.

Kim Retzer, the school’s principal, said the last several days have been “intense as the conversations and actions around school violence have taken place.” Last week, more than 350 students walked out of the school and stood outside midday for 17 minutes.

In response to mixed reactions about the walkout, Retzer said that Fairfax County Public Schools respect students’ rights to engage in peaceful protest and express their opinions, so long as the form of expression is “done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, and does not disrupt learning in the school.”

“Students participating in marches or walkouts are expected to participate in class and to respond to administrative questions and directives in the same way as all other students,” she added.

School policies also encourage teachers to remain in class with students who do not participate in walkouts. Staff can participate during “non-work time,” she said.

The school regularly assesses its safety protocols, staff indicated. Retzer described Dave Bonner, a school resource officer stationed at SLHS as “pro-active”  and “experienced.” Bonner routinely collaborates with the resource officer at the adjacent Hughes Middle School.

The school installed interior and exterior video surveillance several years ago and is in the process of upgrading older equipment.

Retzer expressed support for the feedback and support received by the school in the past week.

“I know I have hugged my child a little tighter in recent days,” she said.

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This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

“Enough is enough” is a slogan adopted by many advocates for action to end gun violence, but with 290 school shootings in the U.S. since 2013 clearly we are to the point that the shootings that have occurred in schools and numerous locales are more than enough.

Last Wednesday started off as a usual day at the legislature with the added feature that it was Valentine’s Day with lots of red decorations in the hallways and an abundance of chocolate available. It was also the first day of Lent with ashes offered at several nearby churches.

The day took a sharp turn in the late afternoon as the news media brought early reports of another instance of school shootings; this time at a school in Parkland, Florida. The timing was critical in that the General Assembly had over the past several weeks defeated with minimal debate and consideration more than 30 bills intended to reduce gun violence. My bill for universal background checks was among those.

The process for considering these bills was the same for all of them regardless of their approach. In the House the bills were assigned to the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and then to a subcommittee on guns composed of six members–four of whom have perfect NRA ratings. The outcome of the hearings is predictable. The advocates make many good and passionate arguments on behalf of common sense gun violence prevention legislation.

The NRA representative states the organization’s opposition along with someone from the Virginia Citizens Defense League with little argument or comments. The vote is always two for and four against. As important as the bills are to many people they are defeated; four members of the House of Delegates with their minds already made up decide for all 100 members of the House. There are few voting records to check because most members never get the opportunity to vote on gun regulation issues.

The strong concern among members of the press and on social media makes it clear that the legislature is going to have to respond to gun violence issues. Unfortunately, the schedule for introducing new bills in this session has passed; otherwise bills would have been introduced in response to the Florida shootings. Legislators would have had to confront the reality that there has been more than enough gun violence.

New York Times article offered some direction as to how legislatures might proceed. An article “How to Reduce Mass Shooting Deaths? Experts Say These Gun Laws Could Help” first appeared on October 5, 2017. It found that there is no way to eliminate the risk of mass shootings, “but there are a handful of policies that could reduce the likelihood of such events or reduce the number of people killed when such shootings do occur.” These include denying purchases by anyone convicted of certain felonies, universal background checks, limiting the sale of certain types of weapons and ammunition, and waiting periods for purchases.

In the next cycle of elections, positions of candidates on gun violence will play an even greater role in who gets elected. If minds of incumbents do not change, voters are likely to change their elected officials. The public has had more than enough.

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