Ten minutes later, just across the Arlington line, three Fairfax police officers fatally shot a 19-year-old bank robbery suspect, at 11:32 a.m.
The suspect, Hailu Brook, also known as Hailu Brook Hailu, was a senior at Yorktown High School in Arlington County. He lived on the 7400 block of Eldorado Street in McLean, according to Fairfax Police, but had been recently living with relatives in Arlington and enrolled at Yorktown in September, according to Arlington County Public School Spokesperson Frank Bellavia.
Hailu turned 19 years old on Nov. 4, according to search warrants filed by Fairfax officers.
Arlington County and Fairfax County detectives are coordinating an ongoing investigation, according to an Arlington County Police press release.
FAIRFAX OFFICERS were initially called to a reported bank robbery at 11:21 am, Dec. 10, at Branch Banking & Trust Bank at 6220 Old Dominion Drive in McLean.
“In that robbery, the suspect entered the bank, brandished a semi-automatic handgun and robbed the teller,” according to a search warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court. The suspect was wearing “a black-hooded sweat shirt with the hood over his head” as well as a mask, blue jeans, and white and black running shoes.
Two witnesses helped police locate the suspect, including one citizen who was at a drive-thru window when he observed the suspect enter the bank with the handgun, and then flee in a champagne-colored Honda, according to the court documents.
“The witness followed the suspect in his vehicle until the suspect crashed into a light pole,” according to the search warrants. That crash occurred at Old Dominion Drive and Valley Wood Road, according to both Arlington and Fairfax police.
Another witness then observed the suspect exit the vehicle with a white bag, later found to contain money.
“The second witness called 911 and stayed on the phone with the dispatcher as he followed the suspect,” according to the warrants.
Officers confronted Hailu Brook in the 5300 block of North 36th Street, just over the Arlington County border.
“The suspect produced a handgun and failed to obey the officers’ commands. Three officers fired at the suspect, striking him in the upper body,” according to both departments.
“The officers challenged the suspect, who matched the description of the bank robbery suspect, and then ended the encounter by utilizing deadly force,” according to the warrants written by a Fairfax officer.
THE THREE OFFICERS, all assigned to the McLean District Station, were veterans on the force, who had worked for 21 years, nine and three years, according to Fairfax Police.
Fairfax County Public Information Officer Shelley Broderick could not comment on how many shots were fired, how many times Hailu was shot, or whether he spoke English.
“Anytime there’s a shooting, we’re going to have an internal investigation,” she said. “There is no estimate as to when the investigation will be completed.”
Arlington Police were alerted to the incident from a Fairfax Police helicopter, according to Arlington County information officer Crystal Nosal. “They were alerting us because they had sightings of the suspect near a school.”
Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School and Nottingham Elementary School were all locked down during the incident, she said.
Nosal added that she was once involved in a police shooting in the past, and that the investigation takes a significant amount of time.
“[That shooting] took place in October, and we didn’t send the [information] to the Commonwealth Attorney until spring. They want to go through the whole investigation and they like to be very meticulous.”
Hailu Brook was the son of an Ethiopian diplomat, Brook Hailu Beshah of McLean, who formerly served as Ethiopia’s deputy ambassador to the United States and is currently a part-time professor at George Washington University.
OFFICER DON GOTTHARDT, another Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson, said Fairfax Police could not answer questions Friday because Arlington County is now in charge of the investigation.
When asked if police have guidelines when to pursue a suspect and when not to, Gotthardt answered, “there are general orders, when we will … and when we shall not.”
Gotthardt refused on Friday to answer questions about the specific guidelines.