WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




VRE Searching for Coffee Vendor at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — Want to run your own coffee shop and sell train tickets? There may be an opportunity for you at the Quantico Virginia Railway Express station. The commuter railroad wants to talk to interested people about setting up shop at the train station that sits just outside the “crossroads of the Marine Corps.”

VRE is looking for a company to run a full-service coffee shop, offer food, sell train tickets, and maintain the restrooms, between 5 and 9:30 a.m., and between 3 and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays when the trains don’t run.

The contract for the current vendor at the station, the Coffee Club Cafe has been there since 2008, and their contract later extended.

“The 2010 extension is set to expire this year and that is why we are taking it back on the street again to solicit interest in this operation,” said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

Vendor service at the station dates back to 2005 when the Whistle Stop Cafe opened at the Quantico Station. Similar vendor service is also offered at the Woodbridge station, and it too is operated by the same people who operate the Coffee Club Cafe in Quantico, said Roeber.

Whether or not the business is profitable, the rent is affordable.

“As to profitability, I can’t really speak to that because I don’t know the actually amount of business going through the doors on a daily basis. I will say that the rent we charge is so minimal, and we then provide revenue commission to the vendor based on their tickets sales at the station so there clearly is the opportunity to make money,” said Roeber.

Applications for potential vendors at Quantico are due to VRE no later than 1 p.m. July 24.

Furlough Will Be Felt Across Quantico Base

QUANTICO, Va. — The impending furlough of Department of Defense civilians will have an impact on virtually all customer and family services offered aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

On May 14, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the furloughs as a result of the federal budget sequestration that included a $37 billion dollar cut to the DOD budget for the current fiscal year. Letters were sent to civilian employees in late May and early June to inform them of the reduction in work and pay.

Between July 8 and Sept. 20, civilians, with a few exceptions, will have to take one day of unpaid leave each week, for a total of 11 furlough days. Based on that arrangement, Quantico agencies have planned the following changes to accommodate a 20 percent reduction in civilian workforce during the furlough period:

Defense Commissary Agency: Commissary closed Mondays.

Base Schools: Schools closed Mondays, Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30.

Naval Health Clinic Quantico: No physical therapy services Fridays for dependents and retirees – active duty only. Dental readiness appointments and urgent dental care only available Fridays; no dental services at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico or The Basic School on Fridays.

DEERS ID Card Center: Closed Fridays.

Bowling Center: Closed Sundays, beginning July 7.

All Points Travel: Reduction in Tuesday hours to noon to 6 p.m.

Recreation, Information, Tickets and Tours: Reduction in Tuesday hours to noon to 6 p.m.

Base Theater: Closed for events Mondays and Saturdays, July 7 to Sept. 30. Movie schedule unaffected.

Auto Hobby Skills Center: Closed Wednesdays.

Marina: Closed Mondays.

Barber Physical Activity Center: Reduction in weekday hours to 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Family Advocacy Program: No community outreach events Friday through Sunday; limited community outreach Monday through Thursday.

Prevention and Education Program: No programs Fridays, reduced flexibility to schedule evening outreach programs.

Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center: No counseling services same day as consultation with Naval Health Clinic staff. Possible impacts to group counseling schedules, prevention outreach, prevention command training and early intervention.

Vehicle Registration: Closed Fridays.

Traffic Safety Branch: Closed one day per week; day to be determined.

Semper Fit Administrative Office: Reduced coverage, longer wait period for scheduling events, reduction in commercial sponsorship.

Regional Contracting Office: Closed Fridays.

Base Comptroller Offices: Military personnel only one day a week, alternating between Friday and Monday.

Quantico Takes on the Frankenfish

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Several Snakehead fish were caught in the Potomac River today at Quantico Marine Corps Base as part of a first-ever tournament to rid the invasive fish from the waters. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

QUANTICO, Va. – A gloomy day took a favorable turn for those participating in the first Snakehead Fishing Tournament at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Shawn Mahood, a Stafford County resident, says he caught a snakehead that he estimates to be 8 or 9 pounds – and it wasn’t giving up without a fight.

“It’s just the biggest, baddest thing out there so that’s what you want to catch,” said Mahood. “It was very feisty. I actually thought he was going to break my line.”

The Marines joined in on the fight against a new invader — the Asian snakehead, a cross between an eel, fish, snake and a piranha that some say threatens the indigenous fish in local waters. Participating groups, individuals and volunteers from the conservation volunteer program, united to celebrate a day of fishing, barbequing and fun in the sun.

However, Mahood, along with many of the other participants and Marines, said that it is the joy of fishing and being outdoors that captured interest, not to eliminate the snakehead completely from the local waters.

“A lot of people think that they’re garbage and want to eradicate them, but I don’t think they’re doing the damage to the ecology that many say that they are,” said Manhood.

Janette Freitas, a resident from Prince William County, says the event was a good idea to promote fishing and enjoying the outdoors. She belonged to one of the winning teams, the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.

“I think it’s interesting that people are so worried about snakeheads when you can come here and fish and see these other species that are native to this area so obviously they’re not killing everything.”

Frankenfish’s bad reputation 

Quantico Maj. Russell Strange said that the snakehead has gotten a bad reputation but because the species is fairly new, not much academic research is available.

“It’s definitely invasive; however, it’s not as bad as people first thought it was,” said Strange. “It can survive almost any brackish waters and that’s the only thing keeping it out of the bay right now. Individuals find that they’re actually great sporting fish and awesome for catching; Many bass fishermen appreciate the fight that these fish put on.”

Over 20 teams as well as individuals participated alongside the Marines to enjoy a day of fishing and other eventful activities taking place the base. June 7 to 9 marks free fishing weekend in Virginia, so fishing licenses were not required to participate. Boats were launched from the Chopawamsic and Quantico creeks beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday and ran until 3 p.m. Snakeheads weren’t the only species being hunted, however. Weigh-in tournament winners were encouraged to reel in Gar, Carp and Catfish as well.

Base Commander Col. David Maxwell, who was in charge of initiating the idea of the tournament, says that he was pleased with the turnout of the event.

“Since [the snakehead] is an invasive species and they’re trying to manage the species here, maybe this is the way to do it and have some fun as well to go along with it,” said Maxwell.

Fishing with bow and arrow

While many anglers used the traditional rod and reel method to capture their fish, many of the fish were actually caught with an archery tackle. The “Ironwoods” team, including Daniel Breeden, from Prince William County and Bobby Breeden, from Stafford County, mostly used bow and arrows to capture their fish, with their weigh-in totaling at 254 pounds.

“From what we’ve seen with the numbers is that they’re here and they’re not going away,” said Strange. “A tournament like this is not going to rid all of the waters of the snakehead; the fish is very adaptable and can live in very shallow waters. The great fear was that everyone thought they were going to eat the ecosystem away.”

Frankenfish on the menu

Recently, however, snakeheads are the ones getting eaten. Many restaurants along the East Coast have begun offering the fish on the menus.

“I’ve eaten them and they are fabulous,” said Strange. Tony & Joes Seafood Place and Nicks Riverside Grill in Georgetown recently offered the so-called “Frankenfish” on their menu as a temporary dish. More restaurants around the Washington D.C. and Annapolis area are continuing to expanding the seafood options to include snakehead.

At the tournament wrap-up, Steve Morris holds the prizewinning snakehead at a whopping 10.18 pounds, just 7 pounds shy of the17-pound, 6-ounce record caught in the Potomac River last week.

If Fairfax FBI Site Fails, Prince William a Second Choice

In the process to relocate the FBI’s national headquarters to Virginia, it appears the CIA was here first.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and members of a bipartisan congressional delegation in April unanimously chose a site in Fairfax County next to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station for the new FBI headquarters. Now home to a massive warehouse owned by the General Services Administration, State officials assured the federal government the site has quick access to transit, and to Interstates 95, 395, and the Capital Beltway, and would meet criteria set forth by the General Services Administration.

Virginia, and Maryland with their chosen site in Prince Georges County, have been in the competition for the federal agency and its 11,000 jobs since last fall. The idea is to move the agency out of its aging J. Edgar Hoover Building offices in Downtown Washington and move personnel to a new building in one of the two nearby states.

But the mere existence of the warehouse in Springfield, which can be seen from I-95 and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, and is said to be the largest wooden truss building this side of the Mississippi River, may stifle any chances the area once had of becoming the new home of the FBI. 

It’s rumored that the facility has a large underground room complete with lead-lined walls, accessible only by elevator, and is complete with a state-of-the-art communications system, according to the Washington Post.

But just 30 minutes south, at a new housing development called Potomac Shores on the banks of the Potomac River in Woodbridge, could be the next best choice for the FBI’s national headquarters.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is collecting signatures of locally elected officials in hopes they’ll join him in urging the feds to consider Potomac Shores as an alternative space because of its proximity to Quantico, the FBI Academy, and an FBI screening facility at Manassas Regional Airport. Prince William is also home to the agency’s Northern Virginia bureau. 

“Should the Springfield site be deemed unsuitable by the GSA for the new FBI headquarters, we believe it would be prudent to have another specific site ready to immediately advance for this critical project to secure it for Virginia. That alternative site is clearly the Potomac Shores development site in Prince William County,” Stewart’s letter states.

With some 4,000 planned new homes at Potomac Shores, a walkable mixed-use business and shopping district, hotel, a planned Virginia Railway Express station, and access to express lanes currently under construction on I-95, Stewart said those who would work at the building would have a “reverse commute” in a secured space next to the river underneath Quantico’s controlled airspace.

Additionally, 75% of Northern Virginia’s workforce lives within a 30 minute rush-hour commute of Prince William County, according to Stewart’s letter.

As Stewart is a Republican, he’s also got support from across the aisle.

“The important thing here is that we all work together to ensure we get the FBI’s national headquarters in Virginia, no matter what district it’s located in,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Farifax, Prince William.

Another site that’s been proposed sits in Loudoun County, just off the Dulles Toll Road near Dulles Airport where Metro’s new Silver line is slated to run.

But for those eager to move on from the Fairfax County site, one Fairfax County official said taxpayers would save money if the FBI would locate to the GSA property in Springfield as the land is already federally owned. And, if Prince William County trades land from a developer for the FBI site, it’s possible the county could forgo millions of property tax dollars.

“The fact they’re working so hard to discredit this site tells me this site is the front runner,” said Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay.

McKay says the warehouse, which sits in his district, is primarily used to house documents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and office furniture for federal agencies, does have it’s challenges. He said security is an issue as the warehouse has several independent tenants coming and going on the property who are not controlled by the federal government, but added those issues could be resolved through a partnership with the FBI.

“This site was selected by the governor in April, and since then there’s been no been big revelation that has happened to change things over the past two weeks,” said McKay.

2 Quantico FBI Agents Die in Training Exercise

FBI agents at Quantico’s Critical Incident Response Group are mourning the loss of two of thier own.

Special Agent Christopher Lorek and Special Agent Stephen Shaw were killed Friday off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two were apart of a specialized hostage rescue team.

We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men. Like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team, they accept the highest risk each and every day, when training and on operational missions, to keep our nation safe. Our hearts are with their wives, children, and other loved ones who feel their loss most deeply. And they will always be part of the FBI Family,” said FBI Director Robert Muller in a press release.

Lorek, 41, is survived by his wife and two daughters, and had been with the FBI since 1996. Shaw, 40, leaves behind a wife, a 3-year-old daughter, and a 1-year-old son. He joined the FBI in 2005.

The incident remains under investigation, the FBI states.

Expect Road Work at Joplin Road Tonight and Tomorrow Night

QUANTICO, Va. — Drivers can expect delays tonight and tomorrow night on Interstate 95 south at Joplin Road.

More in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects.

Starting tonight, May 15, and Thursday night, May 16, from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., and again on Friday night, May 17, from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close a single right lane of I-95 south at Joplin Road, Exit 150 for approximately a half-mile. This will allow crews to safely install concrete beams for a new 95 Express Lanes bridge over Joplin Road.

On Joplin Road, (Route 619) two-way traffic will be directed by flaggers during overnight work hours.

All closures are weather permitting. Police will be on site for motorists safety. 


St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church to Highlight Problem of Human Trafficking

Submitted News

TRIANGLE, Va. – In an effort to bring attention to the ever-increasing problem of human trafficking, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Triangle, Va., will offer human trafficking awareness presentations at the parish after all the Masses on the weekend of May 18-19, 2013.

There will be guest speakers, a video, handouts, and suggestions for direct ways to take action. Everyone is invited to this free event. The Masses are on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish) and 5:30 p.m. The parish is located at 18825 Fuller Heights Road, Triangle, Va. 22172.

“It’s shocking how prevalent and complex human trafficking is and how it plagues our own communities in surprising ways,” said Fr. Kevin Downey, O.F.M., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. “The good news is, there are things we all can do to address it, to protect our children and to help those in need.”

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Statistics show that more than 27 million people in more than 161 countries are victims of human trafficking. Two hundred thousand of these are in the United States alone. Fifty percent of victims are children. Every two minutes, 14 people fall victim to this crime. Sex trafficking and forced labor are the most common forms of trafficking in the United States.

Prince William County, Fairfax, and Loudon are among Northern Virginia counties that have or are establishing Anti-Human Trafficking Alliances or Task Forces.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration’s Statement on Human Trafficking clearly outlines the Catholic Church’s teaching on human trafficking, noting, “Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the basic dignity and rights of the human person. All efforts must be expended to end it.”

The USCCB has been a leader in the U.S. and global response to human trafficking for more than a decade, and has even established an Anti-Trafficking Program within its Migration and Refugee Services Department to coordinate the response of the U.S. Church.

The event is sponsored by the parish’s Franciscan Action and Advocacy Council (FAAC).

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (www.stfrncis.org) is part of the Diocese of Arlington and was established in 1957 to serve the military community at Quantico Marine Base. For more information, contact the parish office at 703-221-4044.

Active Shooter Drill Planned for Quantico Middle/High School

QUANTICO, Va. — There will be loud noises coming from Quantico Middle/High School tomorrow.

The Marine Corps base of the same name on which it sits and emergency first responders scheduled an active shooter drill beginning at noon. Quantico officials warn the exercise is only a drill, and asked residents not be alarmed.

“Participating agencies will include but not be limited to Fire and Rescue Departments, Marine Base Quantico’s Crisis Management Team and the Provost Marshal’s Office,” a base spokesperson released in a statement.

Quantico officials describe the exercise as “full-scale,” and say it’s one that has been planned for more than a year to improve preparedness and response times in the event a shooter were to ever appear on campus.

The school has 308 students enrolled in classes in grades six through 12.


3 Crashes Snarl Traffic, Motorcyclist Left Seriously Injured


The victim in an early morning crash on Interstate 95 remains unidentified this lunchtime as police try to reach his family.

The crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of I-95 at mile post 148 at Quantico in Stafford County, where a 2007 Chrysler station wagon failed to stop in time and rear-ended and a 2012 Honda that has stopped for congested traffic.

Then, a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle rear-ended the station wagon, and the impact caused the cyclist to slide into another car, and was thrown from the bike in the opposite direction where he collided with a tractor-trailer, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Then, to avoid the motorcyclist, three cars collided in the northbound lanes causing a third crash, said Geller.

The only person injured was the motorcyclist, who was flown to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Sandra T. Wilson, 47, of Ruther Glen, was the driver of the station wagon and was charged with following too closely, said Geller.

The lanes were reopened to traffic by 7 a.m.

7 a.m. 

QUANTICO, Va. — All lanes of Interstate 95 are reopened at mile post 148 at Quantico following a multi-vehicle crash this morning.

Police said the crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of the highway. A medical helicopter was called to fly one victim suffering life threatening injuries to a hospital. All of the northbound lanes were closed following the crash.

No details on what caused the crash, or who was involved have been released by police. Drivers should expect delays on I-95 this morning.

This incident follows a fatal crash on Tuesday that took the life of a Dumfries man riding his motorcycle. In that crash, the motorcyclist crashed and then was struck by a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck did not stop and police asked anyone who many have more information about the truck to come forward.


Quantico’s Top OCS Leader Out Following Triple Shooting

QUANTCO, Va. — The top man in charge of Quantico’s Officer’s Candidate School, where three Marines died in March, is out of a job.

The Marine Corps Times reports decorated infantry officer Col. Kris Stillings was relieved of command Monday. Stillings was selected to lead OCS two years ago, but officials told the corps newspaper the decision to relieve him was a “painful” one that “boiled down to accountability.”

In the late evening hours of March 22, Quantico and the surrounding area was rocked with the sound of gunfire that emanated from inside the OCS barracks. The base was placed on lock down, with many Marines and their families living on base being told to stay indoors and heed warnings delivered over a large loudspeaker known as Giant Voice.

By sunrise the next morning, word was given that an armed staff member at OCS, Sergeant Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, Calif. shot and killed Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, Calif., and Corporal Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Miss.

Man Struck While Crossing Train Tracks

QUANTICO, Va. — A man said to be trespassing on train tracks near Quantico was struck by a locomotive about 9 a.m. Saturday.

The 44-year-old man victim is said to be from Spotsylvania County and was attempting to cross the tracks when struck , said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The man suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.


All Clear Given After Suspicious Substance Found at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — The scene is now clear, and what officials at Quantico thought was a suspicious white powdery substance at the town’s post office turned out to be nothing.

A HAZMAT team called to the post office was cleared at 9:40 a.m., according to a base spokesman. The post office was closed about 10 a.m. today after a suspicious substance was found, according to base officials.

Two Marine Corps Postal Specialists, a civilian postal clerk, and a customer were inside the building when the substance was found. Emergency personelle that have cleared the scene included military police and firefighters, bomb disposal specialists, and a HAZMAT team.

Search for Prostitution Suspect in Triangle Turns Up Heroin

Stafford Deputy Sniffs Out Drug, Prostitution Suspects in Prince William

STAFFORD, Va. — Police tracked a wanted fugitive from Stafford County to a hotel in Triangle. Now behind bars, the woman faces new charges of prostitution and drug possession.

The woman was found to be at the Ramada Inn at 4136 Inn Street in Prince William County on April 3. According to police documents, Stafford County Sherriff’s Deputy D.A. Volpe, assigned to the sheriff’s office’s Special Problems Unit, found the woman’s car at the inn. The deputy then saw the woman leave the hotel a short time later and get into the car, documents state.

The officer followed the car as it pulled onto nearby Interstate 95 south headed for Stafford County. While following the car, the officer saw two more occupants inside of the vehicle – a female in the front passenger seat and a male in the rear passenger seat, documents state.

The officer pulled over the car and arrested the driver, identified in court records as 23-year-old Caitlyn Collins. She was arrested on outstanding warrants in Stafford County for failing to appear in court, according to Virginia court case records. The officer then questioned the two other occupants and learned they did not have a driver’s license, so a tow truck was called to haul away the car.

But during a search of the vehicle a small amount of marijuana was found in the passenger side door handle, documents state. The deputy called for backup, and continued searching the car and found “numerous small packages of suspected heroin,” according to court documents Kept in small baggies, the heroin was stuffed between the back side of the rear seat and the back seat cushion, according to court documents. The drugs were tested positive for heroin, according to police.

Afterward, the deputy placed the male passenger, identified in court documents as 40-year-old Bernard Young, under arrest. While being taken to the magistrate’s office, court documents state Young told an officer “that he had a ‘powder’ in his sock,” documents state. After arriving at the magistrate, the substance tested positive for cocaine that Young admitted to snorting, documents state.

The female in the passenger seat was not arrested.

Collins told police Bernard was staying in room 171 at the hotel in Triangle, and Prince William police were called to secure the room while a search warrant was being obtained to investigate the property. Once inside, police found rubber bands consistent with heroin packaging lying on the bed, as well as a scale, documents state. But despite suspicions, no one else was found hiding out in the room.

Collins is charged with prostitution, possession of a controlled substance, and with grand larceny, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy. She is due in a Stafford County courtroom on May 30.

Young faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and manufacture and sale of a controlled substance, said Kennedy. He is also due in court on May 30.

Quantico Swears in New Town Police Chief

New Chief has 14 Years Experience

QUANTICO, Va. — Local officials and Quantico town residents gathered to swear-in the new Quantico Chief of Police, John P. Clair. The ceremony, held at the Quantico Virginia Railway Express Station, was swelling with excitement as the Town Council held a brief meeting.

Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown reflected on the town’s hardships in the past months surrounding the controversy with the former Quantico Chief of Police, who resigned from the position after an audit revealed internal theft.

“We’ve faced a lot of challenges in our time as a [Quantico Town] Council – some more serious than expected. Most of the focus in these past nine months has been internal, and I think we’ve made significant progress. I’ll be honest with you – it’s been a little overwhelming coming in while some things have been going on; overwhelming and a little discouraging. There were some serious issues in the Police Department that left us without a chief,” Brown said.

Hiring Clair as the new Chief of Police is Quantico’s effort to rebrand the town and start anew.

“He’s an experienced, decorated, law enforcement professional. I’m 100 percent convinced that he’s fully committed to the job and he’s willing to give one hundred and ten percent,” said Brown, remarking on Clair’s enforcement background and character. Clair, previously a law enforcement officer with the Prince William County Police Department, he comes to Quantico with fourteen years experience. He began his duties in the town on March 25.

Sworn in by a Clerk of the Circuit Court, Michelle McQuigg, Clair officially was appointed to his new position, before Reverend Jim Spurgeon performed the Benediction.

“I had a lot to say, but the Mayor stole all my thunder,” Clair first remarked after being sworn in, filling the room with laughter. “I appreciate all of the regional support. We’re the only town inside of a Marine base, and I think that makes what goes on here very special,” Clair said, thanking his wife, the Prince William County Police Department and Quantico officials.

Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, R- Stafford, Woodbridge, Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman and Prince William Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan were in attendance, in addition to several officers of the Prince William County Police Department and Quantico Marine Corps Base officers.

*This story has been revised 

Burning Smell Blamed on Quantico Brush Fire

QUATNICO, Va. — What’s that burning smell? Officials at Quantico said it’s a brush fire crews are working to contain.

More from the Marine Corps Base:

Quantico Fire Department and Emergency Rescue Services responded to a fire crawling through the woods in Training Area 11 on the west side of Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 9, 2013.

The affected area was too large to extinguish outright so emergency responders limited the spread of the fire by bulldozing a “no burn” zone around it. After the zone had been crafted, firefighters fought fire with fire by “back-burning”, a controlled burn designed to rob the fire of fuel so it can be managed safely.

An official with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department on Wednesday attributed the burning smell to the brush fire.

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[Photo: Quantico Marine Corps Base]


Quantico Creates Violence Prevention Programs in Light Of Recent Shooting

Submitted News

QUANTICO, Va. — In light of the tragic events at Officer Candidates School on March 21 and in response to the lessons learned from a similar incident at Ft. Hood in 2009, the Marine Corps is implementing a new Violence Prevention Program in order to prevent violence on its installations and throughout the service.

Marine Corps Base Quantico, as the crossroads of the Corps, is a pioneer installation and is slated to conduct the training April 2 to April 12 as set forth in Marine Corps Order 5580.3.

The order reads: “Human factors continue to be a leading cause of mishaps and suicides. Personnel are often under stress from personal or professional factors that are not apparent to the command’s decision makers. In many instances, the individual’s risk factors were known by various leaders and peers as isolated pieces of the whole picture preventing appropriate assistance. The FPB will provide a process to combine those factors into one composite picture.”

The loss of one’s own is a hard blow for any leader, but a threat to the well-being of a unit from the inside has leaped to a top priority.

“Last week’s incident stands as a reminder of how real the insider threat is to the Marine Corps,” said Pete Russett, director of Mission Assurance. “Though no one can accurately predict the behavior of others, this program is designed to allow base personnel to recognize and report behavior that may be indicative of potential violence.”

All service members and Department of Defense civilian employees across the base are required to attend one of the three types of courses.

For the majority of the base population, the Violence Prevention Awareness and Recognition Course is required. It focuses on teaching small unit leaders how to recognize and report potential threats.

This course is available at the following times and locations:

LOCATION: Little Hall Theater (3 CLASSES EACH DAY)
DATES: April 9 – 12
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., and 2 – 4:30 p.m.

LOCATION: The Clubs at Quantico (3 CLASSES EACH DAY)
DATES: April 10 – 11
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., and 2 – 4:30 p.m.

LOCATION: The Basic School, Heywood Hall, Building 24164 Classroom #1 (2 CLASSES)
DATES: April 12
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., and 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

“In an infantry battalion, the lance corporals would have corporals to look out for them, and the corporals would have sergeants, and those sergeants would have staff sergeants — so on and so forth — up the chain.” said Russett. “In that traditional structure, everyone’s covered. Here in Quantico, where the same lance corporals may have a civilian officer-in-charge, it’s not so easy to make sure everyone is taken care of. The VPP plugs that hole.”

For command level DOD employees and service members, such as officers-in-charge, executive officers and sergeants major, there is the Violence Prevention Officer Course. The course will instruct these senior leaders how to respond to incoming violence prevention reports to best solve issues on a case-by-case basis as well as influence their units.

This course will be held at the following time and location:
DATES: April 2 – 4
TIME: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Liversedge Lodge, 2nd Floor Small Conference Room

“This is the Marine Corps answer to deal with inside threats,” Russett said. “Even though those small unit leaders may report potential threats, the commanders are vital.”

Finally, for those holding specialized billets, such as the Staff Judge Advocate, the Sexual Assault Prevention Officer and Substance Abuse Control Officer, there is the Violence Prevention Team Course. The course will instruct these key leaders on how they may influence a commanders’ response to a particular incident and advise a course of action relative to their position.

This course will be held at the following time and location:
DATE: April 4
TIME: 8 a.m. – noon and 1 – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Breckenridge Auditorium, Building 2076

The Violence Prevention Program is not a replacement for small unit leadership but is a viable resource to make sure Marines are taken care of.

Residents Weigh in on Wider U.S. 1 Linking Prince William, Stafford

For Potomac Local News

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — People are starting to look at future improvements to U.S. 1 between Joplin Road in Prince William County to Russell Road in Stafford County.

As can be imagined, a lot of factors would need consideration before starting the road-widening project.

Jack Van Dop, of the Federal Highway Administration, outlined some of those issues during a public hearing at Hilldrup Moving and Storage in Stafford County Tuesday night.

Costs of buying rights-of-way, cultural and social impacts as well as protecting streams and waterways all come into play in any road project, but right now, Van Dop the project is in its beginning phase.

“This is really a phase step one of a planning study versus the environmental design-construction schedule,” Van Dop told the audience of about 40 people who attended the meeting.

Van Dop said that previous public meetings in May and October of 2012, showed that people along the corridor are most concerned about congestion at the Joplin Road entrance to Quantico Marine Corp Base, impacts on local businesses and residents, access to Interstate 95 and the need for safe bicycle and pedestrian walkways and paths.

In addition to widening U.S. 1 from four to six lanes to accommodate increasing congestion in Stafford’s Bowell’s Corner area Telegraph Road, there is also discussion about how to improve nearby Russell Road that leads to the back entrance to Quantico.

Several improvements are under consideration:

1. Place two signal lights on Russell Road – one where traffic accesses southbound U.S. 1 and the other near the gate where traffic accesses northbound U.S. 1.

2. Construct a cloverleaf interchange at U.S. 1 and Russell Road

3. Construct a half cloverleaf on the northbound side of U.S. 1 and place a signal light on Russell Road where drivers access southbound U.S. 1.

Terry Heilman, of Widewater, attended the meeting and said he found it informative.

“I just wanted to see what was proposed,” said the retired U.S. Army Master Sgt.

Heilman went on to say that he thought the project, which Van Dop said has yet to be funded, will eventually come about.

“In the long run, I’m sure it needs to be done. It’ll be somewhat painful for a while,” Heilman said.

Rebecca Dixon, a nurse who works at Fort Belvoir, said she hopes that protecting the environment gets due consideration.

“I worry about the wetlands,” said Dixon, who lives in Stafford County.

Still she recognizes the project needs to move forward.

“I think it’s necessary because … it’s already very congested at the peak times,” she said

Dixon said she favored including walkways and paths along the highway, but wasn’t optimistic they would be included in any future road widening project.

“I feel that we really need to be concerned about the homes here and pedestrians and bicyclists. I think we really do need to incorporate some things to accommodate the public in a safe way. I think it’s a low priority from what I’m seeing,” she said.

Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Affairs, said the state would ultimately be in charge of allocating any money to the project since federal funds go through the states.

“They’re always in charge of deciding which project will get acted upon,” Hecox said.

Van Dop told people who attended the meeting that the next steps would include aerial mapping and trying to find money for design and construction.

For now though, the feasibility study only shows only what might happen if the project proceeds, Hecox said.

“This purely an analysis on ‘what if.’” It’s if they decide do it, what would it take to do it?” he said.

Quantico Victims, Shooter Identified

QUANTICO, Va. – The Navy Criminal Investigative Service identified the shooter who killed two Marines and then himself at Quantico Marine Corps Base as an Iraq war veteran.

More in a press release:

Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, Calif., served as a warehouse clerk. She joined the Marine Corps in December 2011, and was promoted to her current rank in February 2013. Castromata’s awards include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. She had not deployed.

Corporal Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Miss., was a field radio operator. He joined the Marine Corps in February 2010 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2012. Wooley’s awards include the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. He had not deployed.

Sergeant Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, Calif., was a tactics instructor at the school, and his military occupational specialty was machine-gunner. He joined the Marine Corps in May 2006 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2011. Lopez’s awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation 3rd award, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal 2nd award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon 4th award. He had deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

NCIS has identified Sgt. Lopez as the alleged shooter.

Quantico Base Commander Col. David W. Maxwell on Friday said the investigation into the shootings would be a lengthy one. He extended his condolences to the families of the Marines, and he asked for support from those who live in the surrounding area.


Quantico Triple Shooting Inquiry to be Lengthy


QUANTICO, Va. — Officials at Quantico Marine Corps Base today are mourning the loss of three active duty Marines.

An armed staff member of the Officer Candidate School shot and killed two other staff members —  male and female Marines — and then took his own life. All three victims were assigned staff members at the prestigious Officers Candidate School, OCS, an institution charged with molding Marines into officers.

A 911 call went out about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, and that’s when base officials learned the first victim, identified only as a male, had been shot and killed. About two hours later, military police with assistance from Prince William police entered the Taylor Hall barracks at OCS and found the female victim shot dead, and the shooter dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It’s unclear what transpired between the time the first shooting victim was found and the discovery of the bodies of the second victim and shooter.

“It’s been a very long night on Quantico Marine Corps Base,” said Base Commander Col. David W. Maxwell. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends of the Marines we lost.”

A full scale investigation into the shootings is underway here at the base known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps. The names of the victims will be released after all first of kin notifications are completed, said Maxwell, who declined to take questions during the press conference citing the sensitive nature of the investigation.

It’s unclear what relationship the three Marines shared.

“We anticipate this to be a lengthy investigation, and as we begin to comfort and take care of our Marines here, we ask for the thoughts and support of our neighbors in the surrounding areas at this difficult time,” said Maxwell.

More to the Story: Read our breaking coverage as the shootings unfolded

The OCS campus lies on the southern most point on the main side of the base along the Potomac River. It’s here that that every would-be Marine Corps officer trains to become a leader. The process can take as long as six months, and officer candidates — all on various career tracks – are exposed to rigorous training available in areas like squad basics, navigation, and physical fitness.

On Friday morning, Quantico officials did not have exact figures of how many officer candidates there are enrolled at the school, but they said the numbers continually fluctuate up and down.


During the overnight ordeal, a voice over a loudspeaker known as the Giant Voice System permeated the unseasonably frigid air, continually telling residents to stay indoors. Maxwell today credited the system with helping to disseminate important information to those who live behind Quanitco’s walls.

But as information about the fluid situation flowed out to members of the press, some of it became distorted. Initially, officials reported the shooter had been taken into custody shortly after the first shooting victim had been located. Only a short time later, we learned the shooter was still at large, but were told police knew the exact location of the shooter.

Knowing that he had already killed one person, officials then incorrectly reported the shooter was holed up in a barricade situation with police.

“There have been false reports in the media about a barricade or standoff situation between the shooter and police. That did not occur,” said Maxwell.

High alert

The base’s threat condition was elevated during the ordeal to Delta – the highest of any threat level on a military base. It’s used to warn of a potential terrorist attack, or to signal an active terrorist threat. Under Threat Con Delta, only military personnel were allowed on and off the base. That meant vehicles waiting to pass through Quantico’s main security gate, including a local OmniLink transit bus taking passengers to and from the tiny civilian Town of Quantico located inside the sprawling base, was held up for hours.

After the shooter and the female victim were found dead inside Taylor Hall, base officials at 2:30 a.m. lowered the threat level back to green and base

Picture 1 of 5

[Photo; Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

operations returned to normal.

3 Dead in Quantico Shooting

Breaking News


Update 4:20 a.m.

We now know all three of the victims in this case are Marines, and that the shooter took his own life.

Once Quantico officials were alerted to the first shooting victim of this attack about 11 p.m. Thursday, authorities swarmed the area of the Officer Candidate School on Quantico Marine Corps Base. The gunman barricaded himself inside the barracks of the school while police waited outside.

Two hours after the incident began, military police with the help of Prince William police entered the barracks to find a second victim dead from a gunshot wound. The male shooter — who is believed to have shot and killed both victims — was also found inside dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said 1st Lt. Agustin Solivan.

The two shooting victims have not been identified.

Base officials and police are expected to make a statement on what transpired here this morning outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps. 

Update 4 a.m. 

Three people are dead following a shooting at Quantico Marine Corps Base, including the shooter.

Quantico spokesman 1st Lt. Agustin Solivan confirms that police that were called to the base shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday later found the shooter and two other victims. It appears two of the victms were shot by the suspect, but it’s still unclear how the suspect was killed. 

All three are believed to be Marines. 

We’re told Quantico Commander David Maxwell is slated to speak about what happened here overnight. Officials from the Prince William County Police Department that assisted base officials during the incident are also slated to speak. 

More as we have it.

Update 3 a.m.

The all-clear has been sounded at Quantico. A line of cars that had been held at the Marine Corps Base’s main gate were allowed to exit, nearly three hours after incident began.

Security at Quantico's main gate remains tight as no one is allowed on or off base. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Security at Quantico’s main gate remains tight as no one is allowed on our off base. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Update 2:20 a.m.

A local transit bus, an OmniLink bus that serves the tiny Town of Quantico – the only town in the U.S. located within a major military installation – was just allowed to exit the base.

With an SUV trailing behind it as it drove away from the main gate, the bus had been waiting on Fuller Road to exit the base since at least 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Several vehicles remain lined up at the main gate and appear to be staging for an exit.

Update 1:30 a.m.

Some emergency vehicles can be seen leaving the scene, headed away from base on U.S. 1. Police cruisers still highly visible. 

Update 1:20 a.m.

While a heavy police presence remains at Qauntico’s main gate and on side streets, police officers that had been posted along Fuller Heights Road have now left the area.

More medic units have been seen entering the area from U.S. 1. All continue to head down Fuller Heights Road.

Update 1 a.m.

Loud speakers are sounding on base as a crackling voice provides instructions.

“Attention all Quantico residents: Stay in your residences,” the voice commands.

Those same instructions were repeated twice.  The speaker system appears to be apart of a base-wide warning system to provide updates to both military members and their families who live on base.

Quantico at this hour is is on threat condition Delta – the highest threat condition for any military base across this country. Delta is used to warn of potential or occurring terrorist attacks.

Condition Delta was also used on September 11, 2001, and it indicates only military personnel are allowed on and off base.

Several emergency vehicles have descended upon the Quantico Marine Corps Base and surrounding area. One medic unit from Prince William County could be seen with a police escort turning off U.S. 1 and then proceeding down Fuller Heights Road. Both the medic and police car came into the area with lights activated but no siren.

Police are posted along Fuller Heights Road in Triangle after a shooter was reported to be on the loose on Quantico Marine Corps Base. [Photo: Potomac Local News]

Police are posted along Fuller Heights Road in Triangle after a shooter was reported to be on the loose on Quantico Marine Corps Base. [Photo: Potomac Local News]

12:30 a.m. 

New information just in to Potomac Local News indicates the shooter is not in custody, however, military officials say they know where the suspect is.

The shooter, believed to be a Marine, has barricaded himself away from police. There is still little if any information on who the shooter might be, and there is still no update on the victim.

Prince William police officers who have been called to assist in this active shooter situation are posted along the length of Fuller Heights Road in Triangle. The road runs parallel to Fuller Road, the main thoroughfare on and off base. Just after midnight, a line of cars could be seen waiting to exit the base – including an OmniLink local transit bus.

The base was reported to be on lock down.

11:50  p.m.

QUANTICO, Va. — One person is injured tonight after a shooting on Quantico Marine Corps Base.

The shooting happened at 11 p.m. at the Officers Candidate School on base. One person is reported to have been shot, and the shooter is now in custody, said Quantico spokesman 1st Lt. Agustin Solivan.

The condition of the victim is unknown at this hour. Solivan said military police and Prince William police assisted in the apprehension of the suspect.

The base remains locked down at this hour.

More as we have it.


Overnight Road Work to Cause I-95 Closures

QUANTICO, Va. — Road crews plan to close a portion of Interstate 95 at Quantico this evening and overnight.

More in a press release:

Weather permitting, Thursday night March 21 (Friday morning March 22), Between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. the Virginia Department of Transportation will have intermittent full road closures on I-95 north and south near Exit 148, Russell Road, mile marker 148, for utility work. Closures will occur up to four times, lasting no longer than 15 minutes each to allow crews to relocate cable lines.

Motorists may experience minor delays. The last exit on I-95 north before the work zone is Exit 143, Garrisonville Road (Route 610), and on I-95 south the last exit is 150, Joplin Road (Route 619). Signs and message boards will be posted along the corridor to inform motorists of construction activities. State police will be onsite directing traffic.

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