2 Alexandria shootings within 15 minutes under police investigation

Alexandria police investigate a shooting incident a local gas stations, allegedly involving individuals riding dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles. (Courtesy APD)
It’s not the first time a group of people on dirt bikes and ATVs has descended on the streets of the D.C. region; but last Saturday night, one of two shootings that happened within minutes of each other in Northern Virginia was linked to a large group of people seen operating them.

“If you live in the region, that this is not the first time that this has taken place,” Alexandria police Assistant Chief Easton McDonald said Monday in a news conference livestreamed by WTOP’s partners 7News.

McDonald said each jurisdiction in the D.C. area has a plan in place for what to do when people on these vehicles take to the streets, and Alexandria police were aware that a group was coming to the area, having received communication from Arlington officials of a group “coming into that direction.”

McDonald said that there was officer at the area before the second shooting took place.

“However, we had a shooting at 7:52 (p.m.), and that took resources to that particular area. By the time the first report of the next shooting came out at 8:05 pm., officers went back to that scene and everybody had left that area,” including the victims, McDonald said.

The earlier shooting happened on the 3800 block of Florence Drive in the Arlandria neighborhood. Police found a 26-year-old man who had been shoot. He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to a police news release.

A few minutes later at 8:05 p.m., police responded to another shooting on the 700 block of S. Patrick Street — 4 miles away from the first shooting.

At the scene, officers were informed of “dozens of individuals riding dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and other recreational vehicles” gathering at nearby gas stations when individuals began shooting.

Police said they learned of a “victim who had been taken to the hospital in stable condition.”

McDonald said multiple shots were fired at the second location.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

“We live in a time now where there’s a lot of video cellphone footage,” McDonald said, “These dirt bikes are not to be on the street, and we will enforce the law. If you come into the city of Alexandria, if you come into Virginia, the law will be enforced with these vehicles.”

McDonald said those who ride these vehicles in places they are not allowed will be given a $500 fine.

“You need to wear your helmet, and we will we will seize the vehicle and release the vehicle to the rightful owner. Once we seize the vehicle, it’s no different than driving a car on the road with no tags. You’re you’ll receive a ticket.”

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Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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