Hillwood Avenue Standoff Ends


June 26, 2012

11:32 pm:  The City has released the following account of the situation that developed yesterday on Hillwood Avenue.

The Falls Church City Police Department received a call for a domestic disturbance in the 600 block of Hillwood shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday, June 25.

City police responded to the scene and were met by a distraught male subject with a handgun.  There were also reports that the subject had poured gasoline on himself and throughout the house.  Two family members were in the house at the time but were swiftly extracted from the property by Falls Church Police.  The subject subsequently barricaded himself in the house.

Falls Church Police activated the Falls Church Emergency Services Unit (ESU) and requested mutual aid from Fairfax County Police Department and the City of Falls Church Sheriff’s Office.  The incident escalated as the subject became more agitated.  Additional mutual aid units were called throughout the 28 hour standoff including the City of Alexandria Police Department, Arlington County Police Department, Arlington and Fairfax Fire and EMS, regional SWAT teams, and the continued efforts of Fairfax County Police.

Just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, the subject gave the Falls Church Police an opportunity for non-lethal use of force.  The subject subsequently surrendered to authorities and was immediately treated and transported to Fairfax Hospital.  Felony charges are pending and the investigation continues.

The Falls Church Police and the City thank the community for patience and support in a successful outcome of this event.

•    Residents of Hillwood Ave. may return to their homes.
•    Eastbound Hillwood Ave. will be open by the morning rush hour. The westbound lane will remain closed as the investigation continues.
•    Washington Gas is on the scene and is in the process of restoring gas utilities to all homes that experienced disrupted service.
•    Residents of the Hillwood neighborhood will have regularly scheduled trash and recycling collection on Wednesday, June 27.

10:33 pm:  The City has announced that the  stand-off on Hillwood Avenue has ended with the surrender of the individual involved.  Roads remain closed due to ongoing police investigations, however residents in the affected area are allowed back to their homes.  The eastbound lanes of Hillwood Avenue will be open by Wednesday morning’s rush hour.  Any utilities that were impacted are also anticipated to be restored by tomorrow morning.

5:30 pm:  During the 4 pm hour police officers temporarily lost contact with the man barricaded in a house in the 600 block of Hillwood Avenue.  After tear gas cannisters were fired into the house the man again picked up the telephone.   City spokesperson Susan Finarelli stated that officials continue to work for a peaceful resolution to the standoff, now over 24 hours old.

3:30 pm: Hillwood Avenue remains closed between Roosevelt and Cherry Streets and negotiations between police and an armed man that began at 1 am continue. Officials report no progress, and traffic is heavy on alternate routes of East Broad Street and Annandale Road. Arlington County officials also are on the scene, as are multiple television stations.

The City of Falls Church Communications Office issued this statement:

“Hillwood Ave remains closed from S. Roosevelt St through Cherry St. Residents within the barricaded area should continue to use caution. If those residents need to leave their homes, they should call police dispatch at 703-241-5053. If residents need to enter their homes, they need to speak with officers stationed on Hillwood Ave at Flagmaker Dr. Not all requests can be accommodated. Ideally, residents should stay in their homes or stay out of the neighborhood.

The City of Falls Church Police Department thanks its jurisdictional partners for assistance during this event. City of Alexandria police are currently on-scene; Fairfax SWAT and Arlington County police also assisted through the night and remain on call for further help.

The City also thanks its residents and business owners affected by the street closures. The City and everyone involved hope this concludes in a peaceful way.”

June 25, 11 pm: For nearly seven hours local police have attempted to resolve a barricade situation in the 600 block of Hillwood Avenue.  Shots reportedly were fired inside a house around 4:30 this afternoon, prompting an immediate response by City of Falls Church Police and Sheriff and Fairfax County Police.  The entire block has been cordoned off and some nearby houses evacuated.  Within the last hour police have inserted non-toxic gas into the residence but the gunman has not emerged.

June 25, 2012 


10 Responses to “Hillwood Avenue Standoff Ends”

  1. Dave Hagigh on June 27th, 2012 8:19 am

    Of course this is good news. But it begs the question, why did we need law enforcement from sevearl other jurisdictions? Are F.C. cops up to the task?

  2. Susan on June 27th, 2012 9:22 am

    That the situation turned out so well is a testament to how “up to the task” the Falls Church City police Department is.

    Do you want to fund and train a police department comprised of every type of specialist and all of the equipment required to respond to every conceivable situation in addition to enough officers to backfill when our limited number of officers are all required over a 24 hour priod at one location?

    Thanks FCCPD!

  3. SJM on June 27th, 2012 9:39 am

    who was this person? In all the coverage, nobody has mentioned who he is and why was he so “distraught” and why did it take over 24 hours to resolve the situation? For some reason we can get more information regarding illegal smoking outside a restaurant at Eden Center then a standoff situation that puts more people in danger. What is the big cover up?

  4. Ken Feltman, Hillwood Avenue, Falls Church on June 27th, 2012 10:03 am

    Thank goodness that no one was hurt. Yes, neighbors nearest the scene were greatly inconvenienced – and some are still sorting things out and getting utilities restored. But no one was hurt, including our neighbor who is now detained and will receive treatment.

    Thanks to Hillwood neighbor Tom Clinton for doing his usual excellent work in keeping us informed and to Councilman Dave Snyder who was on the scene both before and after Monday’s City Council meeting, advising confused and worried neighbors (like me!). Thank you to our neighborhood association for the email and phone updates.

    Most of all, special thanks to the various poilice units who handled a life-threatening situation as gently as possible. We are grateful.

    Beside that, today is a beautiful day for a walk around the neighborhood!

  5. John Enright, Camden, Maine on June 27th, 2012 12:24 pm

    No one was hurt! The City Police performed professionally, and demonstrated maturity in obtaining support from neighboring Police and Fire Department

  6. TFC on June 27th, 2012 1:32 pm

    @Dave: The metro area is rich in law enforcement resources. No one department needs to have every capability if we have mutual aid agreements. Same is true for Fire Departments.

  7. FC resident on June 27th, 2012 3:17 pm

    @Dave: We can go out and spend millions on SWAT training, armored personnel carrier, non-lethal weapons, etc. Or, we can form mutual aid agreements with area law enforcement agencies that already have some of these things. FC does, in fact, have its own Emergency Services Unit…obviously they needed addiitonal equipment/manpower TFC is right – we do the same things with Fire & EMS…it just makes sense.

    @SJM: Couldn’t agree more. It’s unbelievable that the media have not figured out / released the name of this individual. It would be nice to know who threatened a neighborhood by firing shots and dousing the house in gasoline…and burdening publicly-funded emergency services.

  8. mel watson on June 27th, 2012 5:10 pm

    While I am sure they are good men and women and there is always a need for special skills and cooperation amongst jurisdications….I sort of side with Dave….and I think do this think a lot of this is might be over FC police’s “grade level.”

  9. Brian Sulc, Falls Church on June 28th, 2012 10:29 am

    I’m a bit surprised at the suggestion that this 2.2 square mile town should have SWAT and Negotiator expertise. It just makes good business sense to leverage neighboring jurisdictions’ capabilities, especially given the resources available all around us (Fairfax Co is one of the more populated and resourced counties in the U.S.) and how rarely a problem like this arises in FCC. As someone who works with both federal and state & local law enforcement, I also snicker at how we continue to find opportunities to snipe at the FCC PD every chance we get. I guess because we are bitter about speed traps, which I’m not too fond of either, by the way. Same thing happened with the recent Gardner case – lots of comments about how our PD was no match for the high profile defense attorney, etc. In fact, the FCC PD had lots of prior experience with that attorney, and they have worked many rapes before. As “HOWNAIVE” commented on a previous FC X article, they have done attempted murder cases, large scale narcotics distribution cases, national level fraud cases, etc. Their detectives are known throughout the region for their work on gangs, computer crimes, and crimes against children. And in this case, as our PD has done repeatedly, in the Gardner case and many others, many of which are not publicized, they got the job done successfully. In a case like this, if you get everyone out unhurt, that is an “A”. In fact, delay and waiting it out is often the most successful tactic.

  10. FC resident on July 1st, 2012 5:01 pm


    Thanks for your comments, I couldn’t agree more. It’s the folks who know least about law enforcement tactics who love to sit in judgment and offer criticisms. At the end of the day, the police department will do what’s necessary to get the job done safely and effectively, as they did in this instance. Everyone else is just offering ill-informed critiques from the comfort of their armchairs.

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