Police arrest man in connection with Belle Pre Way homicide

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Police arrest man in connection with Belle Pre Way homicide
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By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Alexandria police announced last week that they had arrested a man in connection with the shooting death of resident Leon Williams last October in North Old Town.

Brian Bolar, 26, of Dumfries was arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on May 19. He is being held without bond in the William G. Truesdale Detention Center in the city.

Williams, 37, was found suffering from a gunshot wound on the night of October 7, 2015 on Belle Pre Way, near the Brad- dock Road Metro station. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

The slaying prompted a discussion among residents, com- munity leaders and police about the number of “shots fired” calls to first responders in the neighborhood. Data provided by police last year showed that while the overall number of such calls had been on the decline, officials’ reporting of such incidents to the community had increased.

In a statement, Police Chief Earl Cook applauded detectives’ work to find and apprehend Bolar.

“Last year when this terrible crime occurred, I promised that our detectives would not rest until this case resulted in the arrest of the perpetrator,” Cook said. “I am continually impressed by the tenacity of our detectives and officers and their dedicated work to close an investigation.”

Police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the department still is seeking witnesses in the case and asked anyone who may have seen or have information about the incident to call Detective Bikeramjit Gill at 703-746-6751.

“In this case, and some others, we know that there was a group of people out and
that they saw things, but they weren’t coming forward,” Nosal said. “We hope that they may feel safer now that the suspect is behind bars.”

Judy Noritake, president of the Braddock Metro Citizens’ Association, welcomed the news and noted that crime seems to have decreased after the Alexandria Police Department temporarily deployed additional resources to the neighborhood. But she noted that police still must work to solve the killing of Shakkan Elliot-Tibbs last July along the 700 block of N. Fayette St.

“After those two very unfortunate incidents in the area last summer, while I’ve always felt good police work was being done in the neighborhood, they really have worked it,” Noritake said. “But since then, two things have happened, and one was that the live-in embedded officer in the ARHA [Andrew Atkins] property … moved back in. There was a confluence of many efforts, but it seems the number of calls have dropped, and there have been, to my knowledge, no ‘shots fired’ calls since about the time that the Belle Pre Way incident occurred.”

But Leslie Zupan of the West Old Town Citizens Association said that while she noticed increased police presence in the immediate after- math of the homicides, that has decreased in recent months. She said she wants to see the department fill currently vacant positions in the city’s community policing initiative, which she noted officials have promised to do.

“I’m happy they’ve solved that homicide, but we still have an unsolved one, and I want to see what they do with that,” Zupan said. “[Police presence] has actually declined because of so many vacancies in the community policing program. I know they’re hoping to fill it and they’re making some efforts to cover the neighborhood, but the police presence is not the same that it was immediately after the homicides.”

Zupan acknowledged that the number of “shots fired” calls in the neighborhood seem to have decreased, but said she worried the issue would re-emerge in the coming months.

“We do not seem to have had a problem with that lately that I’ve heard from,” she said. “But these things, they do go in cycles, as [Cook] has even said.”

Police officials in a statement thanked officials with the U.S. Marshall Service for assisting with the investigation. Nosal said although local police found and apprehended Bolar in Alexandria, they enlisted the Marshall Service’s help during their search, in case he had left the area.

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