Arrest in Fair Lakes Murder

Arrest in Fair Lakes Murder

Centreville man charged in Nov. 3 shooting.

One man is dead and a Fair Lakes woman is hospitalized after a shooting last week in the woman's home. Fairfax County Police have charged Anthony Lee Burdis, 38, of 13200 block of Leafcrest Lane in Chantilly with one count of murder in connection with the crime.

Police have not released the identity of the 37-year-old woman or provided any details of her current medical condition. However, they have identified John M. Shirley, 53, of Annandale Road in Falls Church as the murder victim. Police also say that both Shirley and the woman were shot in the upper body.

The shooting occurred on Thursday, Nov. 3, around 10:26 p.m. in The Gates of Fair Lakes condominiums, just off the Fair Lakes Parkway. Police responded to the 12700 block of Fair Crest Court after several neighbors reported hearing gunshots.

"I just can't believe how someone could grab a gun and shoot someone," said Ditter Leon, who lives in the unit above the woman. "It's just crazy."

Police are calling the incident "domestic related" and according to police spokeswoman Mary Mulrenan, "The shooter used to be involved with the female victim, and the homicide victim is a current friend of hers."

Mulrenan said Shirley was also stabbed in his upper body, as well as shot — noting that it's "unusual" for a victim to sustain both types of injuries at once. However, she added, "The cause of death was shooting."

The woman was not stabbed, but was flown by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital in critical condition as a result of her life-threatening injuries. Shirley was already dead when police arrived.

Leon has lived in the neighborhood since 1999 and said it's normally a "very peaceful, safe" community. But when he got home that night, around 11:30 p.m., he saw unmarked police cars parked on a nearby street. When he turned onto Fair Crest Court, he said, "I saw the ambulances, firefighters and a lot of police. That's when I knew something had happened."

There, on the sidewalk in front of his building, just outside the woman's home, was Shirley. "The door was open, the light was on and the guy was laying on the ground, almost like in a fetal position," said Leon.

"At first, I didn't know he was dead," said Leon. "It just looked like a pile of clothes on the ground. He's a big guy, but he was all balled up." Leon had often seen Shirley in the neighborhood and said he "seemed like a decent guy and always dressed well."

He said the woman has a teenage son who didn't live with her. He was also saddened to learn she'd been wounded so badly. "She's very nice," he said. "She's one of the few neighbors who say hi. Wow, I can't believe she got shot; I knew this woman."

After the shootings, said Mulrenan, police began searching the area for the shooter, by cruiser and helicopter. She said an officer saw a man "acting suspicious, sneaking around and hiding" in the vicinity of the Fair Lakes Shopping Center, up the street from where the crime occurred. Then, said Mulrenan, "A witness pointed him out and we found him behind the Target [department store]."

Burdis is being held without bond in the Adult Detention Center, and police say further charges are possible. He has a Dec. 14 court date.

ALTHOUGH THE front of the female victim's home looks like others in her neighborhood, the rear of it tells another story. A door leads into the den from the small back porch, and someone had removed the screen from the lower window closest to that door and smashed the glass of that window to reach in and unlock the door.

The neighborhood itself looks like any other residential area in the fall. Leaves have turned red and orange on the trees, yellow and orange flowers adorn the yards and pumpkins decorate the front porches. But a murder took place there, just a week ago, and the residents are still stunned.

"It's normally quiet and peaceful here," said Mary Shaw, who's lived there three years.