(Updated at 10:45 p.m.) An Alexandria City high school teenager was killed in a “big fight” at Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s, police say.
According to scanner traffic, the incident began around 12:21 p.m. with a call about a fight at McDonald’s at 3646 King Street. Police said one person was stabbed and seriously injured, then pronounced dead in hospital.
“We responded to a large group fight in the 3600 block and King Street,” Alexandria Police spokesperson Capt. Courtney Ballantine said. “During the fight, an 18-year-old boy was seriously injured and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. We have confirmed it was a male and we have confirmed it was from a CAHS student. We have no suspicious information. It’s still ongoing.”
In a message tonight, ACSS Principal Peter Balas told the school community that the student killed was Senior Luis Mejia Hernandez.
Today is a very sad day at Alexandria City High School (ACHS). I am saddened to share with you the news of the passing of one of our senior Titans from the class of 2022, Luis Mejia Hernandez. Luis passed away today, May 24, 2022 and he will be greatly missed by the Titan community, especially the International Academy.
Today the administrative and support teams met with the teachers and staff who work with Luis. In addition, the administration met with all CAHS staff at the end of the school day to discuss the incidents of the day. On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathy to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed and will always and forever be a Titan.
Balas said CAHS will host an asynchronous virtual learning day tomorrow (Wednesday).
“The transition to virtual learning for our students of tomorrow will give our school community the time and space to mourn and process this loss,” Balas said. “We will have members of the Schools Support Team, the Department of Student and Equity Services, and the City’s Department of Community and Social Services available on-site for anyone in need of this support.”
Hernandez’s death marks the city’s second homicide of 2022. A teenager was also killed in an attempted carjacking at Potomac Yard earlier this month.
Police said around 30 to 50 people were involved in the scuffle outside the McDonald’s.
“So many people were involved, we’re still trying to go through the video and the witnesses to figure out what we’re looking at,” Ballantine said. “What we’re looking at is 30 to 50 people.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Escobar at 703-746-6819. Callers can remain anonymous.
The Bradlee McDonald’s has seen its share of fights before, with one person injured in a fight last year and a minor shot dead last September.
Alexandria City High School’s neighboring campuses were placed in “secure the building” status and later suffered a staggered layoff following the incident.
According to CSPA:
Due to an ongoing police investigation into an off-campus incident, the security status of the building at the King Street and Minnie Howard campuses of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) will not be lifted until 3 p.m. 15 p.m. this afternoon, May 24, 2022. This decision is made out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our students and staff. Please refrain from picking up your students before 3:15 p.m. Families picking up their students from school at the usual time should expect delays.
In addition, we will proceed to a staggered departure of students in the afternoon today from 3:15 p.m. This means that students will be sent out in small groups and led by staff out of the school building. Please expect delays and note that students may return from school later than usual. All extracurricular activities are also canceled and CAHS students must return home immediately upon dismissal.
The safety and security of our students and staff is the most important priority. Thank you for your partnership and patience as we work to get students and staff out of the building safely and quickly.
We will continue to communicate to provide families with the most up-to-date information.
Alexandria’s DASH Network also tweeted that buses will temporarily not run to the Bradlee Mall.
🚨 Due to police activity in the area, DASH buses are not able to serve stops at Bradlee Shopping Center and King Street & Marlee Way at this time. 🚨 https://t.co/bLBaISyFPg
— DASH Bus (@DASHBus) May 24, 2022
A @ACPSk12 student lost his life in an act of violence.
Our most sacred obligation is to protect children. Nothing is more important.
This is an active investigation and @AlexandriaVAPD seeks help from anyone with information. Call 703-746-6819https://t.co/XUIwW9d3mD
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) May 24, 2022
James Cullum contributed to this story