Neighbors along tidy Bisvey Drive in Fairfax County said yesterday that long before the fatal shooting of Emery C. Buckman Wednesday night they had complained numerous times to county officials and police about the tenants of the house where Buckman was killed.
The neighbors said they met a few months ago with police officers, including Lt. Robert A. Carlisle, Fairfax County Supervisor James M. Scott (D-Providence), zoning field supervisor Lennart C. Koneczny and others to talk about their grievances. Among their longstanding complaints were noise and the number of people living in the house at 2840 Bisvey Dr., they said.
"The residents of that house have been quite a concern," Carlisle said yesterday. "There've been fights from people coming in and leaving."
Michael Richardo White, 26, of 2113 Maryland Ave. NE, was arrested yesterday and charged with murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony in the case, which was the first homicide in Fairfax County this year. White was being held yesterday without bond at the county jail.
Dottie Rhodes, one of Buckman's relatives, said the 28-year-old Buckman ran the Buckman Construction Co. from the house, where he lived with his brother.
But residents of the street said that as many as eight to 10 people at a time lived in the house. "I think they've got every room rented out," said one.
"They've [the neighbors] been living . . . with all the traffic in and out," said a neighbor, who described the area as "just a little quiet neighborhood except for repercussions down there."
Carlisle said police have made some arrests at the house and in the street during the last two to three years. But he said, "Often, when we get down there [for complaints], the activity has ceased," and the people are back inside the house.
Carlisle said that while complaints of noise and drinking in the street have been difficult to deal with, a Mason District SET Team -- for Station Select Enforcement Team -- was created to deal with such problems.
In fact, he said, the SET Team has conducted surveillance in that area and was on the cul-de-sac only three hours before Wednesday's shooting.
"I saw a gang of people in the street," said one neighbor who said he saw the shooting. He asked not to be identified. "Emery was trying to get them to leave. I heard something that sounded like a firecracker and I saw a flash of light . . . . Then I heard people shout, 'They shot him.' He was laying in the street by the curb."
A group of five or six people was visiting the house when a quarrel began, according to police spokesman Warren R. Carmichael. After Buckman was shot, a group sped away, he said.
White was arrested yesterday at about 7:30 a.m. when he arrived for work at M&M Floors Inc. in Falls Church, police said, where he had been employed for several months as a sanding helper.
Koneczny, the zoning field supervisor who was at the neighborhood meeting several months ago, said the neighbors' complaints were investigated, but "we were not able to establish any zoning violations."
He said zoning regulations allow four unrelated people to live in a single-family dwelling and, therefore, it was "a difficult case for us to prove."
Neighbors still insist there were as many as eight to 10 people living in the house at one time. "Now we know they're not just coming in here with cans of beer," said one neighbor. "Now we know they have guns."