The Washington Post

Former football star found stabbed to death in Fairfax

A 19-year-old college student who had starred in football at a Northern Virginia high school was found stabbed to death Friday in Fairfax County, authorities said.

County police said a suspect was arrested and was charged with murder Saturday afternoon.

The victim, Zavier O. Stringfellow, of the Manassas area, was found about 7 p.m. in a minivan that had crashed into a barrier in the Vienna area at the end of a service road off Chain Bridge Road near Glengyle Drive, police said.

The suspect was identified as Johnny E. Bonilla, 22, of Catharpin Valley Drive in Gainesville.

The victim and suspect did not know each other before Friday evening, the police said. But they had planned to meet then and apparently did so, police said.

“There was a struggle, and the victim was stabbed,” police said.

It could not be learned why the meeting was arranged, or what led to the struggle.

Stringfellow was a graduate of Battlefield High School in Prince William County and was a sophomore defensive end at Ferrum College in southwestern Virginia.

At Battlefield, where he was chosen for all-star football teams, he was also esteemed for his character and personality.

He was highly popular and “a great team leader,” said Battlefield coach Mark Cox. In addition, Cox said, he was “one of the kindest, nicest players I’ve coached.”

Johan Solarte, a friend from Battlefield, called Stringfellow a “great guy” who did well in school and helped others. “Everyone looked up to him,” Solarte said.

Peter Hermann contributed to this report.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.



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