String of 3 Slayings Startles Authorities
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
An unusual 12 hours of violence in Fairfax County left three people dead in separate homicides in different parts of the county, an outbreak of mayhem that authorities believe is unprecedented in the normally serene suburb.
"As far as totally unrelated incidents, I can't think of any day like this one," said Lt. Richard J. Perez, a police spokesman and former homicide detective.
One victim was shot; another, stabbed. Police would not specify the cause of death in the third incident. Suspects have been identified in two cases.
"Every time I get that call, my heart sinks," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D), who is notified after every homicide. "But these tragic events notwithstanding," Connolly said, "we have to put it in context. Fairfax County has a very low crime rate by any standard."
The first incident occurred about 10 p.m. Sunday in the Burke section of the county when Orator "Jose" Wesley Hall, 24, of the 4800 block of Nash Drive was shot after a heated argument with an acquaintance near the 6000 block of Old Blacksmith Drive. A 19-year-old friend who was with Hall drove him to Glory Days Grill on Old Keene Mill Road, where the victim's body was found in the car in the parking lot, police spokeswoman Mary Mulrenan said.
Mulrenan said that it was unclear what Hall and the shooter argued about but that it might have been drug-related. Investigators have an unnamed suspect, and charges are pending, she said.
Ten hours later, at 8 a.m. yesterday, a 22-year-old woman from the Alexandria section was fatally stabbed in her apartment in the 6400 block of Edsall Road, police said. She and her 56-year-old aunt, who also lives there, argued violently before the stabbing. The younger woman, whom police did not identify, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The aunt, whose name was not released, was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police are investigating whether her wounds were self-inflicted. A young man and two children were in the home at the time of the stabbing, police said. No one else was injured.
Charges are pending against the aunt, Mulrenan said.
In the third incident, the body of David R. Feliz, 45, was found about 9:30 a.m. yesterday in an apartment building in the 6000 block of Bellview Drive in the Culmore section. An employee discovered Feliz in the laundry room, thought he was sleeping and notified police. Police said Feliz, of no fixed address, suffered trauma to the upper body and was pronounced dead at the scene.
There have been multiple related homicides in the county before, most recently the slayings of Detective Vicky O. Armel, Officer Michael E. Garbarino and their assailant, Michael W. Kennedy, outside the Sully police station May 8.
And on Dec. 25, Nathan Cheatham, 27, fatally shot his mother in McLean, then drove to a house in Great Falls and killed three friends before committing suicide.
But this is the first time veteran police officials can remember three unrelated slayings in one day. The killings raise the number of homicides in the county this year to 18. Fairfax had 22 homicides in 2005.
In 2005, the county's crime rate, or number of crimes per 100,000 residents, was lower than that of any surrounding jurisdiction of comparable size. In recent years, as Fairfax's population has soared, the number of homicides has stayed steady, between 10 and 20 -- unusually low for a jurisdiction exceeding 1 million people.