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FairfaxATF enters murder investigation with $10,000 reward offer

ATF enters murder investigation with $10,000 reward offer

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The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect who shot a man Oct. 20 at a Falls Church-area ATM, officials said Oct. 29.

The shooting occurred around 5:20 a.m. as the victim, who was on his way to work, accessed an ATM at the Wells Fargo bank branch at 2928 Annandale Road. The suspect, wearing what police say were a distinctive-looking backpack and white sneakers with thick black laces, approached the victim and startled him, causing him to drop his wallet and spill his credit cards. 

The suspect shot the victim once with a revolver and departed the scene without making off with any of the victim’s money or credit cards, police said. No ATM transaction appears to have taken place during the incident, authorities said. 

A bicyclist discovered the victim, Nelson Alexander Sr., 73, of Falls Church, lying on the ground at 6:14 a.m. that day. Alexander underwent surgery at a local hospital, but died from his injuries three days later. There will be a vigil for him at the crime scene on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m., police said.


Charlie Patterson, special agent in charge of ATF’s Washington field office, offered Alexander’s family his “deepest condolences” and called the shooting an  “absolute tragedy and unacceptable.”

Patterson pledged ATF’s full assistance in trying to bring the suspect to justice and said county police would have access to all of the agency’s investigative and analytical resources. He encouraged people with tips on the case to call 888-ATF-TIPS. Callers may remain anonymous.

County police ask anyone who has information about the suspect, recognizes him from the bank’s surveillance footage or may have witnessed the shooting to call the Major Crimes Bureau at (703) 246-7800, option 2. The public also may submit tips anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477) and by texting “FCCS” plus tip to 847411.

Maj. Edward O’Carroll, commander of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes/Cyber and Forensics Bureau, said the department has been “inundated” with tips from the community regarding this case.

O’Carroll called the shooting a “very tragic and senseless loss.”

County police played a video showing what appears to be the suspect and two other young men boarding a Metrobus on Oct. 20 at 1:20 a.m. near the Seven Corners Shopping Center in the 6200 block of Arlington Boulevard. The video depicts the trio getting on the bus, chatting in the seats during the ride and departing in the city of Alexandria.

Another video shows a dark-colored 2009 Nissan Murano near the crime scene around the time of the shooting. Authorities said the vehicle had been stolen several hours earlier from the 5200 block of Dover Place in the city of Alexandria. 

County police on Oct. 24 found the vehicle on Marshall Street about a half-mile from the bank branch and continue to process it for forensic evidence. Police think the vehicle was abandoned shortly after the shooting.

Police are trying to identify all three people in the bus video and are asking area residents to review their home-surveillance video footage not only from Oct. 19 to 20 but also from days preceding the shooting.

Authorities think the three people in the video may have been engaged in other criminal activity that night. The encounter that ended with Alexander’s shooting likely was a crime of opportunity, O’Carroll said.

At least one of the young men in the video at times bared his face completely, so some members of the public likely can identify him, police said. Authorities are trying to identify all three of the men in the video, O’Carroll said.

“Justice is necessary before another person gets hurt or killed in our community,” he said.

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