Updated: Deceased suspect identified in Old Town North shootout

Updated: Deceased suspect identified in Old Town North shootout
The Holiday Inn & Suites, located at 625 N. First St. (Photo/IHG Hotels & Resorts)

By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

Updated Oct. 29 at 2:14 p.m.

One suspect is dead and another has turned himself in to police following a Monday morning incident in Old Town North that began with an armed robbery at a hotel and involved a police officer getting shot, according to Virginia State Police.

Mitchell David Thompson. (Photo/Virginia State Police)

State police identified the suspect who died in the shootout as Michael K. Nelson, 27, of Fairfax County, on Oct. 28.

Mitchell David Thompson, 26, of Alexandria, turned himself in to the Virginia State Police on Monday evening, according to a news release. One of the suspects involved in the incident, he was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and additional charges are pending, according to the release.

The incident began shortly after 5 a.m. when the Alexandria Police Department received a 911 call of shots being fired at the Holiday Inn & Suites at 625 First St., according to state police. An armed robbery had taken place inside the hotel, and two male suspects had fled on foot, according to state police.

Upon arriving at the scene, APD established a perimeter in Old Town North and began searching for the suspects, according to state police. At about 5:50 a.m., a police officer located two suspects and began pursuing them on foot. When they reached the intersections of North Royal and Second streets, two blocks from the hotel, the officer and one of the suspects exchanged fire.

The officer was shot and sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, and the two suspects fled the scene again. 

At 6:24 a.m., APD’s K9 teams located Nelson near the intersection of Montgomery and North Fairfax streets, according to state police. Police officers exchanged gunfire with the Nelson, who died at the scene; however, his body was not located immediately. It was later determined that the suspect had been using a stolen firearm, according to state police.

Nelson’s remains have been transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy.

The portion of Old Town North where residents were instructed to shelter in place from 7:25 to 8:43 a.m. (Map/Google)

At 7:25 a.m., the City of Alexandria sent an eNews release notifying the public of the shootings and instructing residents in Old Town North to shelter in place.

“A suspect is believed to still be in the area,” the release read.

At 8:43 a.m., the city withdrew the shelter-in-place notice and reported that a suspect in connection with the shootings had been located. This was allegedly the body of the suspect who died after the second shootout with police. 

At 10:14 a.m., the city reported that Alexandria Police Officers and police dogs were in the area searching for evidence in connection with the shootings.

As of 7:43 p.m. on Monday evening, police had identified Thompson as a suspect, but had not apprehended him, according to a tweet from the Virginia State Police. Thompson turned himself at some point before 10:59 p.m.

By Monday evening, the officer who had been shot had been treated and released from the hospital, according to state police.

A convicted felon, Thompson has been arrested for several felony drug-related offenses in the past. In March 2017, he was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and selling drugs on or near school property. In October 2019, he was arrested again for manufacturing and selling drugs.

State police and APD are investigating the shootings, as well as the armed robbery.

The incident at the Holiday Inn began when a security guard noticed “suspicious activity” while doing a routine hourly sweep through the building at 5 a.m., according to Erica Lipscomb, vice president of sales and marketing for Crescent Hotels & Resort, the company that manages the hotel.

“[The security guard] did notice suspicious activity outside a guest room,” Lipscomb said. “Based off of what they saw, they immediately turned the corner, called the front desk and asked them to call 911.”

This was the 911 call state police identified as a call for “shots fired.”

Lipscomb said APD was on the scene within five minutes. When police arrived, the suspects were fleeing the building, according to state police. There was no point during the incident where the hotel’s staff or security team interacted with the suspects, Lipscomb said.

“Some of the articles say that there was shooting in the lobby of the hotel, and people running through the hotel, that’s not necessarily the case,” Lipscomb said.

It is unclear whether the suspects were guests at the hotel, Lipscomb said. The hotel was at 46% occupancy on Sunday night. The Holiday Inn staff have cooperated with police and shared the information that they have, Lipscomb said.

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.