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Va. PD’s 35-hour standoff that began as welfare check ends peacefully

Negotiators successfully ended a standoff with an armed woman in a car


Fairfax County Police/Twitter

By Bill Carey
Police 1

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — A standoff that began as a welfare check ended peacefully after 35 hours on Wednesday.

The armed woman had barricaded herself in a car on Richmond Highway at 11 a.m., WJLA reported. Fairfax Police Department Lt. James Curry said the incident began with a welfare check for a missing woman from Maryland.

“The original call for service came yesterday before 11 and it started as an investigation – a welfare check – for a woman who was reported missing out of Maryland,” Curry said. “It was that point in time when we were approached by a second woman who had stated she was abducted. From that, we were led to a car that was possibly involved, and it led to where we are today.”

There was a brief pursuit on Richmond Highway, which ended with the woman in the car brandishing a gun. During the standoff, officers and negotiators used a megaphone and cellphone to talk with the woman. She was also given food, water and cigarettes.

Area residents were critical of the time spent, road closures and traffic, but Curry said they wanted to end the standoff peacefully. “This could be somebody else’s daughter, somebody else’s sister, somebody else’s mother,” Curry said. “And I think all of us would want these same lengths that we are going to, to be extended to their family member. We’re going to be here until we can get this right, and getting this right is getting her out of that vehicle, safely.”

Curry added that time was a factor in how they worked toward a peaceful end: “This specific incident does give us the ability to bring our resources together, to get her on the phone, to have properly trained officers – in that negotiation – talk to her, listen to her and it’s all about effective communication on these.”