Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

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Police investigate multiple shootings

From Prince William County police:

Shooting Investigation – On September 19 at 12:00AM, officers responded to the 3100 block of River Heritage Blvd in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a shooting. The initial investigation revealed that the victim, a 19-year-old man of Dumfries, was walking in a wooded area near the above location when he was approached by several males. During the encounter, one of the males brandished a firearm and fired at the victim, missing him. The victim was able to flee the area and contact police a short time later. After the shooting, the suspects fled the area. No injuries or property damage were reported.  At this point, this incident does not appear to be random. The investigation continues.

Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle – On September 18 at 4:01PM, officers responded to the area of Belvedere Dr and Benton St in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a shots fired call. Several callers reported to police that multiple shots were heard in the above area. When officers arrived, they located several shell casings in the roadway. While searching the surrounding area, officers located a vehicle which had several bullet holes. Officers located the driver of the vehicle a short time later. The victim was uncooperative with officers during the investigation. No suspect description is available at this time. There were no injuries or other property reported damaged. The investigation continues.

 

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Historic Brentsville Courthouse to be used as absentee in-person voting center

Underground railroad brentsville courthouse prince william visit

The Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre will serve as an absentee in-person voting center for the November General Election.

Prince William County Brenstville District Supervisor ordered county staff on Tuesday to allow the use of the historic property, which served as the county’s fourth courthouse.

Here’s Lawson’s directive to county staff:

“Direct County staff to bring a Board resolution transferring sufficient funds to the Office of Election that would enable the Registrar to open an in-person absentee voting location at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre two weeks prior to the gubernatorial election in November. The transfer resolution should state that is it conditioned upon the Electoral Board and Registrar using the funds for an absentee voting location at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, and for no other purpose.”

The historic courthouse will be one of five absentee voting centers in the county. The move to allow absentee voting at the old Courthouse comes as both Lawson and Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland ordered staff to look for more places for absentee in-person voting locations on the western side of the county.

From Prince William County Office of Elections spokesman Winston Forrest:

“We are asking for $28,000 for the one-time ‘pilot’ run of in-person absentee voting at the Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre.”

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Delays for Prince William police, fire stations

WOODBRIDGE — Police officers will have to wait longer before they can occupy a new police station in Woodbridge.

Construction of the county’s new Central District Station is running 60 days behind schedule due to a delay in the installation of electric and gas lines, as well as construction delays caused by weather. Instead of a November occupancy, officers and staff should be able to move into the new building by Jan. 1, 2018.

“We’re going to start transferring the police force into the building at that time,” Prince William County Director of Public Works Matthew Villareale told elected leaders on Tuesday.

The new $28.6 million station will be located on Davis Ford Road near the intersection of Prince William Parkway, adjacent to the Prince William County Government Center.

Next to the police station will be a new Fire and Rescue Station 26. The $11.2 million station will open on time, by November.

“We anticipate it will be running calls on October 1,” added Villareale.

In Gainesville, a $6 million effort to add 5,000 more square feet to the Gainesville Fire and Rescue Station is also running 60 days behind schedule. Villareale said that Phase 2 of the project, to increase the size of the living quarters in the 27-year-old building, is delayed. 

The project should be completed by January, he added.

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Virginia State Police warn of automated traffic ticket scam

If you get an email from someone claiming to be from the Virginia State Police telling you about an automated traffic ticket, it’s a scam. 

From Virginia State Police: 

Virginia State Police is warning all Virginians of an email scam that advises individuals they are receiving an “automated traffic ticket” from the State Police. The Virginia State Police does not use or issue digital/automated traffic tickets or summonses. Anyone receiving such an email should delete it and NOT click on any links provided in the email (See example below).

The email scam is just one of numerous tactics used by scammers to harass individuals under the guise of being the Virginia State Police. Just last month Virginia State Police pushed out an advisory about state police phone numbers being cloned by scammers demanding money and/or threatening individuals with arrest warrants. In these instances, anyone receiving such a phone call should hang up.

To protect one’s self from such scams:

— Never open or click on a link in an email from an unknown email address, individual or organization. To check the validity of an email, locate the entity’s website and call to determine if it is a legitimate email. The same goes for an individual.

— Never give out personal information, credit card numbers, bank account information, etc. to an unknown individuals or entities via the phone or email.

— For additional tips on how to protect yourself and identifying common scams, go to www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds.

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Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center launches Sentara Neck and Back Center

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center announces its newest addition to help you get back in the game!

Today, Monday, September 18th, the hospital launched the Sentara Back and Neck Center during a ribbon cutting attended by doctors, nurses, volunteers and members of the team.

The Sentara Back and Neck Center offers patients a ‘one-stop shop’ for complete, compassionate care from our board-certified, fellowship trained spine surgeons offering advanced surgical procedures and treatments such as minimally invasive surgeries and artificial disk replacement.

“It’s a more comprehensive approach to treating spinal issues. It’s a team approach, “explains Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Surgeon at Sentara.

This comprehensive, team approach to treating back pain and spinal issues allows patients to return to their lives with less pain and more hope. Whether that treatment means minimally invasive surgeries or a non-surgical alternative, like working with a pain management specialist or trained physical therapist to create a rehabilitation plan – the new Sentara Back and Neck Center is a specialized program that has something to get everyone back in the game.

“Most people realize they’re going to have some aches and pains, or stiffness, with normal aging. That’s very common. The majority of the issues we see are among those lines, but when you have radiating pain into the extremities- into your arm, into your leg, numbness, weakness, tingling… that’s really not common with normal aging,” explains Dr. Lotfi.

Our expanded orthopedic specialty services are a reflection of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s commitment to offer state-of-the-art services right here in our community.

“We’re there for you and your family every step of the way,” says Dr. Lotfi.

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‘Each illegal sign will result in a $100 fine’

STAFFORD — The Stafford County Government is going to war over popsicle signs.

Those common cardboard signs seen along roadways advertising the small business, apartment complexes, and Realtor open houses are now the target of the county’s public works staff.

“We’ve had so many signs, such a bad problem with it in recent months. We want to keep Stafford beautiful, and having signs in our gateways doesn’t do that,” said Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman. 

From a press release:

Stafford County is stepping up efforts to eliminate illegal signs placed in the public right-of-way and asking the public to obey sign ordinances. Illegal signs distract drivers, disrupt sight distances and clutter gateways to the county that Stafford has worked to beautify in recent years. Each illegal sign will result in a $100 fine.

This effort is aimed at the hundreds of signs illegally placed in the public right-of-way. Placing signs within the public right-of-way without a permit is illegal pursuant to both Stafford County and Virginia codes. Stafford County has entered into an agreement with the Virginia Department of Transportation to remove such signs from the public right-of-way. Illegal signs will be removed and a fine of $100 plus costs will be imposed on the person or entity being advertised on the signs.

To avoid fines, officials recommend that individuals or companies obtain permits from VDOT, remove the signs from the public right-of-way or obtain permission from private property owners to locate the signs on their property. Signs on private property may also require County permits. For information on the proper way to display a sign in Stafford County, please visit Sign Info or call the Department of Planning and Zoning at 540-658-8668.

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Supervisors approve $14 million replacement animal shelter

WOODBRIDGE — In the words of Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large, ‘the board is finally going to, at last, take action on the animal shelter.”

And tonight it did, voting 7-1 to spend $14 million to replace the county’s 40-year-old animal shelter on Bristow Road. The new facility that will include everything from new adoption center, 56 doubled-sided kennels for cats and dogs, a full veterinarian space, offices for animal control officers, and a community room for training pets and their owners.

“We are in desperate need of a new shelter. These animals, the shelter staff, the local rescues, and the overall community deserves to be respected and protected. And the level of service that is being provided today. That is not happening,” said Ann Marie Johnson, of Dale City.

“We’ve been talking about budgeting for a new shelter for past three years, but we’ve been talking about a new shelter for 14 years,” said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe.

Supervisors chose the Option C, the one that was recommended by county staff and by respondents to Stewart’s email survey. It was one of four options Supervisors could choose from ranging between $11 million and $17 million.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland was the lone dissenting vote. He objected to the cost, noting that as recent as last year the cost figures for the proposed shelter topped out at $12 million.

The rising cost of construction was given by county public works staff as the reason for the cost increases. They vowed to watch costs to ensure they don’t rise, barring any unforeseen disaster like a hurricane.

“You cannot make these decisions in a vacuum. Every dollar that we spend is one less dollar that we can spend on something else,” said Candland, who said he agreed a new shelter was needed, but he didn’t like the price tag on this project.

The new shelter is slated to open by 2021. Stewart urged county staff to speed up the process of construction so staff and animals can move into the new center quickly.

“We’ve got great staff there, we just need a new facility,” added Stewart.

The current shelter dates back to 1975. The building was donated to the county at the time, according to Nohe.

“The county has changed since then,” he said.

Just this week, after taking in rescue animals from Florida that were in the path of Hurricane Irma, the current shelter ran out of space to house new animals that would be surrounded by their owners. Afterward, shelter officials stopped accepting new animals at the facility.

A police spokesman said the change was temporary.

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Police shooting death of 15-year-old Haymarket teen ruled justified

A new police report just released states a 15-year-old male struck a woman in the head with a crowbar and caused her serious injuries before he was shot and killed by police on Friday.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert called the teen’s shooting justified. 

From a press release:

The criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on September 15, 2017, in the Haymarket area of Prince William County has been completed.

This investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and was reviewed by the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office this morning for a determination of criminal liability concerning the officers’ actions in the shooting. In the interest of keeping the residents of Prince William County informed of significant incidents involving our officers and the community, further details of the investigation and the ruling of criminal liability are being publicly disclosed.

On September 15, 2017 at approximately 10:45AM, the Prince William County Public Safety Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a male claiming he had a bomb strapped to his chest and was holding his mother hostage inside a residence located in the 6800 block of Hartzell Hill Lane in Haymarket.

During the call, the individual stated he had blades and blunt weapons and that he was possibly going to retrieve a gun. The male also made threats towards his family and the police, in addition to, making statements that he did not want to live anymore. He eventually became agitated with the call-taker upon further questioning and disconnected. Communications center staff were unable to reestablish contact with the caller before officers arrived.

A patrol officer and an officer assigned to the Department’s Tactical Training & Response Unit were first to arrive in the area of the home at approximately 10:58AM. Due to the threat of the bomb, the officers parked their vehicles down the street away from the residence and attempted to coordinate their approach.

At that point, a male ran towards the officers from the residence in a panic and informed them his brother had a weapon. While one of the officers was retrieving equipment from his trunk, the other officer observed a different male strike a female with a large metal object in front of the home. The female was able to run away from the assailant, at which time, the individual began approaching the officers at an aggressive pace. (more…)

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