TRAFFIC: Lomond Drive is closed at Fairmont Ave for a water main break. It is likely Lomond Dr will remain closed for most of today.
— PWCPoliceDept (@PWCPoliceDept) November 21, 2014
Two murders back to back, less than a week apart, has some Prince William County residents talking about safety.
On Nov. 10, a Woodbridge Senior High School student was shot and killed on a walking path just outside the school. Police said the victim was killed in a drug-related robbery. Five people, including a 16-year-old girl, were arrested and charged in connection to Williams’ death.
In the early hours of Nov. 16, Christopher Nathaniel Weaver, 19, and a 15-year-old boy were shot in Dale City. Both were taken to a hospital where Weaver died, and a 15-year-old suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.
One shooting suspect was arrested the following day in Arlington, and the second was taken into custody last night in Manassas.
The two shootings were not related.
In an interview with Potomac Local, Prince William Police Department Chief Stephan Hudson says the county has seen some troubling incidents in recent days, but says crime in the community continues to be at historically low levels.
“Even with two recent murders that have occurred within five or six days of each other, we still are at a total of six murders for the entire year. Historically, over the past 30 plus years, [the number of] our murders vary every single year. They’ve gone from lows of one and two to a high of 16. So, I am not overly concerned that this represents some kind of a trend that we need to be concerned about,” said Hudson.
Statistically, Prince William is on par with having the same number of murders this year as last. A total of 16 people were murdered in Prince William in 2006, and 12 people were murder in the county in 2008. Those two years, out of the past 10, saw the most murders in the county.
The department’s policy of directing a massive amount of resources to the county’s most violent crimes immediately after they occur is what helped detectives to quickly track down suspects in the two most recent murders.
“The department has worked exceeding hard, and the folks in our criminal investigations division, as well as many others, have worked tireless hours to try and make sure we resolve these cases quickly. One of our primary focuses is on serious violent crimes is that we pour every resource on to those as quickly as we possibly can to make sure we bring those responsible to justice,” said Hudson.
The police department is “always recruiting,” said Hudson. The budget passed by county leaders this year funds hiring 25 new police officers. A new cadet class will begin in January.
“Up until the crash in the real estate market, we had a staffing plan of adding 25 new officers every year going back to the late 90s. We’ve always been in the hiring mode. As the county continues to grow and as the population continues to explode around us, the department needs to grow to keep pace with that,” said Hudson.
Will adding more officers continue to keep crime low?
“Absolutely. We feel that being able to add more officers to the force and more officers onto the street, we’re going to be able to keep this community safe. If we are not able to keep pace with population growth, I would be concerned about the impact that could create, however, if we are able to maintain the staffing plan of being able to add 20 to 25 officers per year, on top of our current contingent of staff, I’m confident we will continue to maintain a safe community as we have been doing,” said Hudson.
Hudson recently returned to the U.S. after attending terrorism training in Israel.
The final suspect in a shooting death last week was arrested in Manassas.
Bryan Lamonte Patterson, 25, of 4716 Kirkdale Drive in Dale City, was taken into custody without incident at a house in Manassas last night. Patterson is charged in the murder of 19-year-old Christopher Nathaniel Weaver, killed in the early morning hours of Nov. 16. A second victim, a 15-year-old boy, was also shot and taken to a hospital with injuries that did nto appear to be life threatening.
Police released a description of Patterson yesterday at the same time they announced the Nov. 17 arrest of 35-year-old Christopher Coward, also of Dale City, who is also charged with murder in Weaver’s death.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 14, 2015.
The footprint of Old Town Manassas could soon expand east.
A proposal calls for 140 new condos to be built at Manassas Station, a new four-story housing development that would replace the old ABC Photo Processing Center on Prince William Street, originally built in 1953 and modified in 1985.
If approved, the new homes would have the same look and feel of the buildings in Old Town and would come on the heels of Manassas City leaders approving 94 new condos at the site of the old Manassas Journal Messenger building on Church Street.
The same developer who built Historic Courts of Manassas on Center Street would also be developing Manassas Station. A new Baldwin Intermediate School will be built across the street where ballfields outside Osbourn High School are in what is an already changing neighborhood. In order for the project to move forward, the land needs to be rezoned from industrial to residential use.
The city’s planning commission twice denied approval of the condo building because it would be built too close to existing historic homes on Fairview Avenue. But those who work in the city’s planning office said Manassas Station should go forward because it fits the city’s downtown development plan.
“There’s been very little interest in the property until our people came in and proposed something,” said John Foote, a lawyer representing the developer.
The amount of increased traffic that would come from the development is a concern. A new traffic signal at the nearby intersection of Fairview Avenue and Tudor Lane would need to be installed, and the developer has proffered $117,000 for the needed signal.
The developer has also offered $671,860 in proffers to the city’s school system to help offset the cost of educating new students who would move into the condo building. Foote said he used the city’s own data to determine that condo buildings in the city generate fewer school children than a nearby townhouse community and a trailer park.
Opponents of the project said the character of Old Town is changing too fast, fear its population will become denser, and that they don’t want the city to someday look like Arlington.
“I feel that the look and feel of this massive building will further erode the look and feel of our historic district, a district that so many people care about and what makes Manassas unique. Soon it will be hard to find historic buildings if we continue to allow development of this scale in the historic district,” said Mary Ann Jenkins, who lives on Windsor Street in the city.
Supporters of the new project called the condos a sign of “progress” being made in the city. They, along with Foote, also said many young Millenials are choosing to rent rather than buy a home due to the down economy.
“I’m 30 years old and I’m not in a position to purchase a home. It’s a tough world, economically, and I don’t know what can be done to support home ownership because it’s a difficult thing,” one woman told city leaders.
Manassas Station would be built on nearly four acres of land, feature 85 one-bedroom units and 55 two-bedroom units. Among other proffers, the developer has offered $50,000 to improve parking in Old Town, $121,800 for public safety improvements, $6,300 for parks, and would not allow owners to sublease any condo unit in the building.
The Prince William County School Board voted 7-1 to accept the new boundary plans for the 12th high school, including several amendments. Click here for the full story from our news partner Bristow Beat.
Police busted three people suspected of making meth in an area motel.
Investigators made the bust Nov. 3 at Red Roof Inn just off Interstate 66 near Manassas
A search warrant indicates police suspected meth was being made inside room 237, and it was being sold to people staying at the motel. Detectives went to the door to speak with and spoke with two men staying in the room. While there, they and saw batteries, tin foil, butane, gas masks, tubing and a clear jar with a white powdery substance that
indicate the manufacturing of methamphetamine, all lying in plain sight, according to the search warrant.
The two men told police that meth had recently been made inside the room and that the man who rented the room would return shortly, according to the search warrant.
The renter of the room returned a short time later driving a Toyota Highlander, according to the search warrant. Needles, a spoon and a battery were all items listed on the search warrant as recovered.
James Kiger, 45, of no fixed address, is charged with manufacture of methamphetamine.
Lindsey Elizabeth Rengstorff, 24, of Bowling Green, is charged with possession.
Samuel Hoak, 21, of Pembridge Road in Manassas is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.
The suspects are due in court Jan. 9, 2015.
One man is in custody and another is sought in the shooting death of a Dale City man.
Christopher Weaver was shot and killed at a home on the 13400 block of Keating Drive in Dale City early Sunday. A 15-year-old boy was also wounded during the shooting.
Police then arrested their first suspect in the shooting, 35-year-old Christopher Coward, of Kirkdale Drive in Dale City, during a traffic stop in Arlington on Nov. 17. Coward is charged with murder and is suspected of
fleeing the scene of the shooting with another suspect – Bryan Patterson, 35, of 914 Hillcrest Drive in Vienna.
Patterson is charged with murder and is sought by police. He is described as black, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 165 pounds, with short black hair and a beard.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Patterson is encouraged to call police at 703-792-6500.
The “Promenade at First Town Center” project in Dumfries is moving ahead.
Dumfries will hold a public hearing to get feedback on a plan to sell nearly four acres of land on Main Street (Route 1 south), between the ACTS Thrift Store and the existing “First Town Center” office building next to Town Hall for $150,000.
Real estate developer Pete Singh needs the parcel to build the “Promenade at Dumfries First Town Center,” a mix of retail and residential in the heart of the town.
A date for the public hearing should be set at the next town council meeting on Dec. 2. The town council unanimously approved the motion to move the land sale to a public hearing on Tuesday.
The area in which the Promenade will be built is slated to be dubbed a
conservation area revitalization area on Dec. 2. The designation will allow Singh to apply for low-interest financing from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to construct the center, according to town documents.
Councilman Derrick Wood also wants to also include both of the town’s major shopping centers, Dumfries Shopping Center on Route 1 north, home to Todos Market and a public library, and Triangle Shopping Center that is home to a McDonald’s and the town’s police department, as
conservation revitalization areas.
Virginia Railway Express riders: pull out your calendars and take note.
Here is the holiday schedule for all VRE trains, noting when service will be modified or canceled due to a holiday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
November 27, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Thanksgiving
November 28, 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 24. 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 25, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Christmas
December 26, 2014 – “S” Schedule
December 29-31, 2014 – “S” Schedule
January 1, 2015 – No VRE service in observance of New Year’s Day
January 2, 2015 – “S” Schedule
January 19, 2014 – No VRE service in observance of Martin Luther King Jr., Day
At a formal pole removal ceremony on today, the City of Manassas Public Works & Utilities Department officially declared the Center Street/Prescott Avenue Overhead to Underground project complete. This Capital Improvement Project, which began in July 2012, removed 33 utility poles from the side of the road and relocated the lines underground.
The project entailed moving 27,708 linearfeet of conductor line from above ground to underground, making the area much more visually appealing. More than 15,352 man-hours were used to move electric lines and to upgrade 3,216 linear feet of water main pipes along the route which included; Center Street, Prescott Avenue, Zebedee Street, Quarry Road, Cherry Street and Maple Street. Moving these lines from above to below ground helps ensure reliability of electric service, while also taking away that cluttered feel of above ground power lines.
Local cable franchise lines for Comcast and Verizon were also moved to below ground during the project. 20 new Sternberg street lights were placed along the route, adding an “old town” ambience to the project. The City also upgraded the water main in this area to a new 12 inch line for improved pressure in the area.
Posted in: Manassas
Two soon-to-be graduates from our area will be ready to patrol the streets and highways of Virginia.
Muhammad Ismail Abbasi, of Lorton, and Robert Morgan Guyton, III, of Stafford, will graduate as members of the Virginia State Police 122nd Basic Session. Cadets turned state troopers, the two men will each patrol in Prince William County.
Here’s more in a press release:
The new troopers have received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management.
Selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants, the members of the 122nd Basic Session began probating Feb. 25, 2014, followed by 26 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy since May 25, 2014. The probationary phase, which allows recruits to train in the field prior to attending the Academy, requires trainees to complete two and half weeks of introductory training at the Academy before being assigned to a Field Training Officer (FTO).
Aa graduation ceremony held at the State Police Training Academy located at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield County, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 21.
Posted in: News
Stafford authorities say they have completed their investigation into a choking incident at Brooke Point High School.
A football player was choked and subsequently passed out inside a locker room Oct. 23. The following week, the school canceled its scheduled football match with North Stafford High School.
Here’s more in a statement from the Stafford Sheriff’s office:
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that on Wednesday, October 29, 2014,
the Sheriff’s Office was informed of an incident that occurred in the Brooke Point High School football team’s locker room on Thursday evening, October 23, 2014. The incident in the locker room involved the choking of one student by another.
Once informed of the incident the Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation. That investigation has now been completed. The investigation concluded that while the student who initiated the chocking incident could, according to Virginia Code, be charged with misdemeanor assault, no charges will be filed against the minor teen at this time. In this incident the Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the family of the victim prior to determining if charges would be brought. The Stafford County School Division has dealt with the situation according to the school division’s Code of Conduct.
This investigation is now completed and no further comment will be provided.
Traffic on a portion of Route 1 in Woodbridge will shift on Friday morning, said Prince William County Director of Keep Reading...
Posted in: News
This Saturday, Nov. 22, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School near Dumfries will host their 4th annual JP5K Keep Reading...
On Dec. 11, 2014, Major Bruce H. ‘Doc’ Norton, USMC (Ret.) will speak at the Freedom Museum about several books Keep Reading...
Posted in: Manassas
4 p.m. A contractor doing work in the area of Smoketown Road hit a gas main this afternoon causing the Keep Reading...
Teen competed for Chuck Norris Cup Vanessa Byrne has had a unique opportunity to combine her passion for karate Keep Reading...
It is now legal to open a craft brewery in a shopping center in Prince William County.