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Shooting Victim Identified

Arlington police investigate second murder of the year.

Police identified the man found shot to death in an Arlington parking lot Monday night as Daniel Lopez, 39, of Alexandria.

According to police department spokesman Matt Martin, Lopez was discovered around 7:30 Monday night in a lot behind the strip mall at 2900 Columbia Pike. Martin declined to comment on whether Lopez, nicknamed "El Seco," was a gang member.

"There is no indication of a motive," said Martin.

Officers on the scene found Lopez with bullet wounds to his chest and head. Witnesses, police said, described a heavy-set Latino man with long, curly hair running from the area after the shots sounded.

Police are still seeking more witnesses. Anyone who was near the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive that night is encouraged to call the department's tip line at 866-411-8477. Callers can remain anonymous and do not have to testify in court.

Lopez was found only hours after the police department released its crime statistics for the 2003 to 2004 term, this time showing a dramatic decline in homicide, robbery and rape and car theft. Crime, the statistics state, is at its lowest level in Arlington since 1962.

Arlington saw 3 murders in 2003 and only 1 in 2004, a drop of more than 66.7 percent. Yet the county's latest murder is its second for the year 2005.

"Although Arlington is an exceptionally safe and secure community, there are pockets of vulnerability within the County," said police chief Doug Scott.

Scott reaffirmed the department's commitment to furthering the reduction in crime. The most significant drops in the last year were seen in violent crimes. Rape is down 13 percent in Arlington, robbery down 11. Slight increases were seen in some types of theft. The county saw three incidents of purse snatching in 2004 compared with only one in 2003.

These most recent statistics outline the number of index crimes committed in the county. The index uses eight standardized categories that law enforcement groups use throughout the United States to measure crime rates. The crime rate — the number of index crimes for every 100,000 people in the county — stands at 2,585 in 2004, down from 2,754 in 2003.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Fairfax County saw 4 murders in 2004, Arlington one. The rate of robbery in Fairfax is also more than twice what it is in Arlington while the rate of larceny there is almost 70 percent higher. Alexandria has a crime rate comparable to Arlington's, according to the statistics.

Monday's shooting marks Arlington's second murder in 2005. The first was the shooting of a Woodbridge man in the Nauck neighborhood.