Police are now offering a $1,000 reward for the man charged with the murder of 21-year-old Javier Bonilla Rivas. Last week Jorge Ramirez, 30, stabbed Rivas in the upper body and killed him, according to Fairfax County Police reports.
On Tuesday, July 26, around 11:40 p.m., officers were called to a fight in the parking lot of the Arthur Treacher’s fast food restaurant, in the 9500 block of Lee Highway in the Fairfax area of the county. They found Rivas suffering from a stab wound. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Ramirez, who also goes by the name "Mario," had fled the scene of the crime and is still missing, police said.
The incident was not gang-related, said Officer Mary Mulrenan of the Fairfax County Police. "It was an argument between two people, one of whom stabbed the other," she said. Police are still investigating the cause of this argument, said Lt. Rich Perez.
According to Mulrenan, both Rivas and Ramirez "appear to be part of a group of homeless people who live in that area." Rivas is from El Salvador, but Mulrenan does not know how long he had been living in the Fairfax area.
According to statistics compiled by Fairfax County Human Services, as of January 2005, 1,949 homeless people were living in the Fairfax County area. Of these people, 800 were single and 422 of them had children.
Crime among the homeless population in the Fairfax area is mostly limited to petty incidents such as trespassing, drunk in public, or shoplifting, said Officer Lynn Coulter of the City of Fairfax Police Department.
"Most of the problems with homeless people are more that some of them are drunk, or incidents like that," said Coulter. The City has an ordinance in place that allows store owners to sign a form giving the police permission to enforce no-trespassing on their property. The ordinance, which Coulter wrote, is based on a similar one in Virginia Beach.
Since mid-June, the City of Fairfax Police Department's incident report has recorded at least six arrests in which the suspect is listed as having "no fixed address." All but one were charged with either trespassing or drunk in public, and one was charged with attempted burglary.
"In the year and half I’ve been there, a crime (involving a homeless person) is something that occurs sometimes," said Mulrenan. "Sometimes a homeless person has committed a crime, but in most of the press releases I’ve seen, they’ve been the victims. But it’s not something that occurs regularly."
Police ask anyone with information on Ramirez’s whereabouts or on the homicide to call Fairfax County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will reward information that leads to an arrest with $1,000 cash. Callers never have to give their name or appear in court.