Youth Shot, Beaten in Fatal Attack In Fairfax

By Martin Weil and Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A teenager was shot, beaten and fatally wounded in Fairfax County last night in an attack that had many of the earmarks of a gang conflict.

The attack, during which assailants shouted in Spanish, "Is he dead?" according to one witness, occurred about 11 p.m. in a parking lot outside the Woodlawn Gardens apartments. The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Witnesses told of hearing as many as three gunshots and then seeing the fallen youth being kicked and beaten on Blankenship Street, in the Hybla Valley area between Alexandria and Fort Belvoir. A neighborhood resident said the victim and the attackers appeared to be about 16 or 17.

The attack came at a time of rising concern in Northern Virginia about beatings, stabbings and killings carried out by rival gangs of Spanish-speaking teenagers.

Residents of the neighborhood said it appeared that the victim had been pursued on foot and in a van.

One said that after hearing the shots, she saw someone beat the prone victim with a baseball bat.

Another said the assailants shouted "mean things" at the victim and "kicked him to see if he was dead."

The assailants fled before police arrived, witnesses said, some trying to climb a fence, others vanishing into shrubbery. No suspects had been arrested as of early today.

Two years ago, police and prosecutors said they believed that as many as a dozen gangs were active in Northern Virginia.

Fairfax County police have said they believed four murders were committed by gang members between 2002 and 2005.

Until last night, however, people on Blankenship Street, which is just west of Route 1, said they believed their area had been free of gang activity. None of those interviewed said they recognized the attackers or the victim.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company