2016 Year in Review: Crime in Loudoun County
Jan. 21: Ashburn resident Charles Severance was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for killing three people in Alexandria over the course of a decade on Jan. 21. Severance is said to have murdered the three prominent Alexandria residents as part of grudge against the city's elite.
Feb. 14: Osama El-Atari, 37, of Leesburg, was found shot to death inside his pickup truck in Maryland on Feb. 14, according to the Prince George's County Police Department. El-Atari was convicted in 2010 of embezzling more than $71 million from banks across several states.
May 2: About 20 current members of Sterling’s Calvary Temple were allowed to provide outreach to youth in the county's Juvenile Detention Center on May 2. Members of the church are under investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police after two women came forward in 2015 with allegations that they were sexually assaulted by its members.
July 7: The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office's Tactical Enforcement Unit started an investigation into an alleged underage prostitution ring spanning Virginia, Maryland and D.C. run by MS-13 members for the profit of the gang's leadership in El Salvador, according to a search warrant filed July 7 in Loudoun County Circuit Court.
Aug. 31: John Miller IV, 45, of Leesburg, allegedly struck and killed a 5-month-old baby with his SUV as the infant was being pushed by his mother through a Lansdowne intersection on Aug. 31. A witness, according to a search warrant, told investigators he saw the driver of the SUV holding a phone in his left hand “as if he was watching or reading something.” Miller has been charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. He'll go on trial in 2017.
Oct. 1: The Ashburn Colored School, a one-room 19th-century schoolhouse being restored by the Loudoun School for the Gifted, was vandalized overnight Sept. 30 with swastikas, other crude images and the words “white power.” Community leaders spoke out against the vandalism at a press conference that garnered national attention.
Oct. 25: A man fatally shot an 11-month-old lab mix puppy at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling on Oct. 25. Loudoun County authorities said the a man acted in self-defense.
Nov 22: With more than a month remaining in 2016, opioid overdoses in Loudoun County were already up more than 60 percent compared to all of 2015. As of Nov. 21, there were 78 total opioid overdoses in 2016, 17 of which were fatal, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. In 2015, there were 10 fatal overdoses and 49 overall.
Dec. 9: A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge Dec. 9 sentenced 50-year-old Ashburn IT executive Braulio Castillo to life plus 16 years in prison for murdering his estranged wife and staging it to look like a suicide in March 2014.
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