The Old Towne West Apartments on South Columbus Street rwas the scene of a triple shooting on April 2, leaving one man dead and two other men critically injured. The incident happened around 8 p.m. Sunday evening, and police responded within minutes to an emergency 911 call from the building.
“We’re in a difficult position because the only witnesses to this are in critical condition,” said Capt. John Crawford, commander of the Alexandria Police Department’s public information office. “They’re in pretty bad shape.”
On Monday, Alexandria police identified the victim of the fatal shooting as Lee Timmons, a 50-year-old Alexandria man. His death was ruled a homicide — the city’s second this year. The other victims, Alexandria men ages 19 and 57, were transported by helicopter to Inova Fairfax Hospital where they remain in critical condition.
“We’re investigating it as a crime,” said Amy Bertsch, a spokeswoman for the police. “Right now, we’re in the process of interviewing witnesses, recovering evidence and learning more about the people who are involved.”
Several residents of the building say that the shooting took place in an apartment on the fifth floor that was home to a man known as “Slim.” Neighbors described the 57-year-old man as being in ill health, using a walker to get around. They say that his apartment was visited by a constant stream of visitors — family and friends who would check on him and bring him groceries.
“He was really fragile, like if you touched him he would tilt over,” said Geri Baldwin, a resident of the building. “I’m still in shock over this.”
Baldwin said that she has been concerned about security at Old Towne West for years. She said that the building is not safe, with many people coming and going. She also said that the building has a well-known reputation for drug trafficking, and she would like to see people sign in at the front desk.
“That’s not possible,” said Atta Osei, manager of the apartments. “We don’t have the resources for that.”
Mimi Mussia, who has lived in the building for three years, says that Sunday’s triple shooting has caused her to reconsider her housing options.
“This incident has made me think about things a lot,” Mussia said. “I want to move out because it’s just not safe here.”
The apartment complex, which includes dozens of federally subsidized units, was the scene of a police standoff last year. In August, police responded to a call that said a suicidal 31-year-old woman was in one of the apartments with a gun. After a 12-hour-standoff, a team of 20 special operations officers deployed tear gas and invaded the apartment to discover it was empty.