Fairfax police shoot man during pursuit

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 11:49 PM

A man who led Fairfax County police on a winding pursuit through the Falls Church area, at one point even stealing a Fairfax police cruiser, was shot Thursday afternoon after he steered another stolen vehicle at an officer trying to stop him, police said.

The man's wounds were not life-threatening, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. He was not identified. The man was not thought to have fired any shots at police, who tried repeatedly to stop him, and it was not known whether he had a weapon, Caldwell said.

The wounded man ended up pulling over and calmly surrendering on westbound Route 50, across from Loehmann's Plaza in the Falls Church area, at the beginning of the evening rush hour, which led to massive traffic delays for hours afterward.

The police initially were dispatched for the report of a "suspicious person" sitting in a Mercedes 500 SL in the 2900 block of Westcott Street at 4:35 p.m. When an officer arrived, he ran the license plate and found the Mercedes was stolen, Caldwell said.

The officer approached the car, the man got out and a "physical altercation" ensued, Caldwell said. The man then fled on foot, and the officer called for backup.

Caldwell said the backup officer arrived and joined the foot chase. But the suspect circled back, jumped into the backup officer's car and drove off, Caldwell said.

A short, low-speed pursuit followed through the winding streets just west of Falls Church City. After a few minutes, the man drove his newly acquired Ford Crown Victoria back to the stolen Mercedes, left the police car and climbed back into the Mercedes, Caldwell said.

The pursuit resumed and the Mercedes headed south on Graham Road. An officer trying to stop the chase placed sharp "stop sticks" across the road near Oakland Avenue, Caldwell said.

But the Mercedes avoided the stop sticks, Caldwell said, "and appears to head in the officer's direction. Shots are fired," but the car continued south on Graham.

The Mercedes then turned right onto westbound Route 50, where it pulled over and stopped without further resistance, Caldwell said. Officers rendered first aid, and the man was then driven to Inova Fairfax Hospital.

The black Mercedes appeared to have at least two bullet holes in the front windshield, one in the driver's side window and another in the post between the front and rear driver side doors. Blue latex medical gloves and one black tennis shoe were on the ground outside the driver's door.

Behind the stopped Mercedes on westbound Route 50, two black unmarked police sport-utility vehicles, both carrying police search dogs, had suffered severe front-end damage. The Mercedes appeared to have been struck in the rear.

Caldwell said one officer and one pedestrian were slightly injured.

At the intersection of Graham Road and Oakland Avenue, crime-scene detectives photographed seven evidence markers in the northbound lane of Graham. It was not clear whether all the markers indicated shell casings or other evidence.

Caldwell did not know how many shots were fired, or how many times the man was hit.

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