A person who police said fired shots at officers following a traffic stop in Northern Virginia is in custody.
What police described as a nearly 12-hour search ended in the area of Arlington Boulevard and Graham Road in West Falls Church on Thursday night.
A witness said a person jumped out of a car following a crash and started firing at police who were following. Police identified the man as 27-year-old Ricardo Singleton.
The chain of events that ended in Fairfax County began Thursday morning in Arlington County, according to police.
Around 9 a.m. a man inside a car at 1400 North Courthouse Road — later identified as Singleton — motioned to Arlington County Sheriff’s deputies to come over. When the deputies came over, they saw that he had a firearm.
That’s when Singleton sped off, Arlington County police Chief Charles Penn said in a news conference Thursday night.
The deputies got in their vehicle and found Singleton in a nearby garage, where Penn said the Singleton mentioned “something about needing help.” They saw that Singleton had a firearm once again.
Singleton then drove off and was next involved in a hit-and-run crash, Penn said. The deputies worked to identify the driver and get warrants for eluding police, brandishing and the hit-and-run.
Throughout the day, law enforcement officials looked for Singleton. Just after 7:30 p.m., officers found him in the area of George Mason Drive and Columbia Pike, where they tried to stop him.
When Singleton did not stop, officers pursued him into Fairfax County. During the chase, Penn said the Singleton fired his weapon at the officers.
“What a day this was that began in Arlington County and concluded just behind me,” Fairfax County police Chief Kevin Davis said Thursday night.
Davis said that when Singleton stopped his car in the middle of the intersection near Arlington Boulevard and Graham Road and took off running, he also took out his firearm and “recklessly fired several rounds” at police officers from Arlington and Fairfax counties and Virginia State Police troopers.
Police found a “semi-automatic with an extended magazine” at the scene.
One Fairfax County police officer discharged his weapon, according to Davis.
“It’s an absolute miracle that no one was struck, killed or injured” during the two shootings in Arlington and Falls Church, Davis said, describing the area of the second shooting as lined with restaurants and gas stations. The second shooting happened “early enough in the night that there were pedestrians walking around,” he said.
“Several citizens were in harm’s way,” Davis said.
Writesh Maulik, of Oakton, Virginia, told WTOP’s Mike Murillo that he was headed home when the vehicle, allegedly driven by Singleton, struck the rear of his vehicle at that intersection.
“I was heading westbound on [Route 50], and I saw a couple of cop cars coming eastbound … I was like ‘OK, somebody’s gonna get pulled over — somebody’s gonna have their day ruined, right?’, and immediately — within seconds of that — something … slams into my vehicle, said Maulik, adding “I didn’t know what that was.”
Looking through his rearview mirror, Maulik said that he saw “a bunch of cops” from multiple agencies “just piled up behind my vehicle.”
Emily Poindexter was stopped at the light on Graham Road waiting to make a turn, when she said she was sideswiped.
“He was in the middle of the intersection getting out of his car. He started shooting at the cop cars on the other side of the intersection and running toward the Shell station,” she said.
At some point during the foot chase that followed, Davis said that they lost Singleton. One witness told WTOP’s Kyle Cooper, also who reported from the scene, that he saw Singleton run toward a grocery store, while police were running the opposite way before correcting their direction. Singleton was later found hiding behind one of the stores.
Cooper reported there were bullet holes at gas station pumps nearby. Singleton struck several cars while he was being pursued, according to Davis. He said police are still counting how many.
WTOP’s Kyle Cooper and Mike Murillo, who reported from Fairfax County, contributed to this report.