The Arlington County Police Department has completed a weeks-long investigation into the September 14, 2019, false report of a possible shooter at the Ballston Quarter movie theater. A review of the facts and circumstances by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office determined that there was no evidence that any crime was committed, nor did anyone enter the theater with the intent to cause public harm or concern. As a result, no charges will be filed.
To summarize this incident, at approximately 8:38 p.m. on Sept. 14, police were dispatched to multiple emergency calls reporting a possible shooter inside the movie theater at the Ballston Quarter located at 4238 Wilson Boulevard. Upon police arrival, the theater was placed under shelter in place status while a systematic search of the entire Ballston Quarter was initiated. The search concluded with negative results and no evidence of a shooting or any victims of a shooting were located.
Following the incident, detectives conducted a thorough investigation which included the review of surveillance images, witness interviews and the identification of the involved parties. The evidence determined that during the playing of the movie IT Chapter Two, a juvenile within a group shouted a video game reference to the effect of “Pennywise has sharpshooter activated.” This statement was misinterpreted as a possible active incident; however, the investigation revealed that at no time were references to an active shooter made inside the theater.
“A thorough and complete investigation revealed no evidence to support that any crime was committed,” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney. “In today’s climate of heightened awareness around active violence incidents in public places, this incident serves as a reminder about the unintended impacts otherwise innocent actions might have.”
“While we’re fortunate this incident was a false alarm and no significant injuries were reported, responding officers acted quickly and dutifully to ensure the safety of the public and mall personnel,” said M. Jay Farr, Chief of Police. “I am proud of the actions of our responding officers and the detailed detective work conducted to bring this incident to its final disposition.”
Police Investigate Shooting in Alcova Heights
The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 10, 2019 in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
At approximately 12:54 a.m., police were dispatched to the 3500 block of 6th Street S. for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim in the roadway suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately began rendering aid. The victim was transported by medics to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life-threatening. The suspect fled the scene in a dark colored SUV prior to police arrival. Currently there is no suspect description.
The preliminary investigation indicates this to be an isolated incident and there is no evidence of any ongoing threat to the community. Detectives continue their investigation and are speaking with witnesses and processing evidence as the search for the suspect proceeds.
Anyone with information and/or home surveillance that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).