Recount: City police reveal five homicides, not four

Recount: City police reveal five homicides, not four
(File Photo)

By Erich Wagner (File Photo)

City police revealed that they are investigating a fifth homicide this year — a case that dates back to January — after the department’s official tally clashed with the local media’s count.

The discrepancy came to light after the death of Bradley Bostick last week. Authorities listed his killing as Alexandria’s fifth homicide, though only three others — the police-involved shooting death of Taft Sellers as well as the murders of Elmer Roehrs and Julian Dawkins — were publicly known.

On January 8, officers arrived at a nursing home on the 900 block of Virginia Ave. in Del Ray after two residents began fighting. Edward Heitz, 82, was injured after falling during a confrontation with a 62-year-old male patient.

Heitz was taken to George Washington Hospital for treatment and eventually released, according to department spokesman Lt. Mark Bergin. But he died just days later — on January 11.

Bergin said a delay in the autopsy report was partially responsible for the holdup. The Northern Virginia regional medical examiner’s office did not rule Heitz’s death as a homicide via blunt-force trauma until May 2.

“The autopsy report also indicated some medical conditions,” Bergin said. “Sometimes that complicates our efforts to move forward.”

Bergin said detectives are still working to locate a key witness. As for the delay in announcing the investigation, the department is reviewing its reporting procedures.

“In this case the delay is significant, and I won’t say it’s not serious, but the people involved in this are known and we don’t consider the person to be a threat to public safety,” Bergin said. “That said, we are internally reviewing our procedure for releasing information like this and we will try to do better in the future.”