Suspect in Falls Church Standoff Dies, Police Say

By Tom Jackman and Emma Brown
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 16, 2009; 12:35 PM

The Fairfax County man who shot himself yesterday after holding off police for 24 hours died this morning, Fairfax police said.

John T. Valentini, 44, who police believe shot his ex-girlfriend on Tuesday night in his Pimmit Hills neighborhood in the Falls Church area, died at 4:12 a.m. today at Inova Fairfax Hospital, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

His ex-girlfriend, 36, whose name was not released, is still in critical condition at that hospital, police said.

After Valentini allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of his 8-year-old son, he fled into his family's home on Lisle Avenue, where his son and current girlfriend were. Police surrounded the home and a standoff began about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

After police lost communication with Valentini, they decided to enter about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and Valentini shot himself once in the head, police said.

His girlfriend and son were unharmed.

Police said Valentini and the woman he shot had been arguing over their son when the shooting occurred.

A search of the Lisle Avenue house by police last night discovered a .38-caliber Taurus revolver, which appeared to have two shots fired and three live rounds still in the gun, according to a search warrant document filed today in Fairfax. Police also seized a "blood-stained pillow."

The standoff unfolded near Fisher Drive and Lisle Avenue, just east of Tysons Corner. Tactical teams, motorcycle officers, a command bus, detectives and negotiators descended on the neighborhood, staked out positions and then sat and waited.

Police initially had trouble reaching the people inside the house in the 7600 block of Lisle Avenue. By yesterday morning, they had contacted the man and the woman inside by phone, police sources indicated, but by mid-afternoon the conversations ended.

Sheena Kelly, who lives two doors from the besieged house, said she was taking groceries into her house about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when she heard "a pop. If I'd looked around, I probably would have seen him."

Instead, she went inside, and police called 30 minutes later advising her to stay there. Kelly said she had family visiting from out of town and stayed home from work with them yesterday.

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