A 27-year-old armed man was shot and killed by Arlington police in the stairwell of his apartment building early yesterday after he refused repeated requests to surrender and instead raised his gun toward a police officer, according to a police spokesman.
The man was identified as Mark Daniel Self of 738 N. Nelson St. His killing was the first by a police officer in Arlington in at least 18 years, police spokesman Tom Bell said.
Bell said the incident began around 9:30 p.m. Monday when Self called police to report gunpowder and a bomb in his garden apartment in the Virginia Square area.
Police searched the unit but found no bomb, gunpowder or other weapons. Self "appeared strange, but not a threat," Bell said. The police left.
Police were summoned again around 12:30 a.m., this time by neighbors, to investigate a slamming noise, Bell said. Hearing nothing, police left. They were called back minutes later to investigate gunshots, he said.
Police said Self was spotted on an inside stairwell with a gun. While one officer on a bullhorn asked Self to give himself up, another officer, identified as Marcus Taylor, entered the building, according to Bell.
Self walked down the stairs toward Taylor, walked back upstairs and fired one shot, according to police. When he again approached Taylor, the officer fired, shooting Self in the hand, Bell said. Self walked out of view, then reappeared minutes later and raised his gun. Taylor fired one shot, hitting Self in the chest, according to police. Self was pronounced dead at Arlington Hospital around 2:30 a.m.
An initial investigation by the police internal affairs unit has concluded that Taylor acted properly, Bell said. Taylor, a 21-year department veteran, was given yesterday off and is due at work Saturday. He was not available for comment.
Police said they found that Self had fired numerous shots inside his apartment. One of Self's neighbors in the quiet garden apartment complex said Self had introduced him to his wife and young daughter, but police said they found no evidence that others lived in the apartment.
F. Michael Ballard, an attorney for Self's family, said Self was unmarried. He said Self grew up in Northern Virginia, graduated from Langley High School in McLean, worked as a lithographer at Reprint Co. Inc. in Arlington and had no history of trouble with the law. Self spoke to his mother last week. "There was no indication there was any problem," Ballard said.
The family is troubled by details police gave of the incident, particularly the assertion that Self had little reaction when shot in the hand, Ballard said. The family also wants to investigate a neighbor's claim that it took an ambulance half an hour to arrive, he said.