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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hostage barricade incident in Annandale

A hostage barricade incident on Columbia Pike in Annandale last night led to a huge traffic jam in the area for several hours. According to a Fairfax County Police Department notice, police responded to a call for help from a 32-year-old woman at about 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 17.

When they arrived at the home, at 6614 Columbia Pike, they were barred from entering by a male occupant.

“In an abundance of caution, a section of Columbia Pike was blocked to traffic in both directions near Sleepy Hollow Road,” the notice states. “Residents in the vicinity were contacted and asked to shelter-in-place.”

The man, identified as Omed Helmand, 32, was the woman’s ex-boyfriend. He was allegedly agitated and making threatening statements. The couple eventually came outside and both were taken  into custody at around 11 p.m. and were taken to the hospital to be checked for injuries.

Police subsequently secured a felony warrant for Helmand for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was later charged with malicious wounding, strangulation, and abduction. He remains in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

The FCPD’s Mobile Crisis Unit and negotiation team were used in the incidence. Neighbors reported seeing dozens of police cars and a helicopter. One resident, who heard the police asking Helmend to come out with his hands up, says the house is a rental unit and had been occupied by Spanish and Arabic-speaking people.

Another neighbor saw two police cruisers blocking access to westbound Columbia Pike at Sleepy Hollow Road with flares in the road in the late afternoon. There were many emergency vehicles on both sides of Columbia Pike. The service road from Sleepy Hollow to Oak Hill was shut down, and later moved back to Sleepy Hollow Manor.

At about 5:45 p.m., the resident saw a helicopter circling overhead lower than usual. By about 11 p.m., eastbound Columbia Pike was open, but the westbound lanes were still closed. The resident was guys in minimal tactical gear on the westbound side standing out in the open and talking, so the incident appeared to be over.


  1. Thanks to all FCPD officers who worked so diligently to have this event come to a peaceful conclusion with no one injured, suspects or FCPD officers. And to think there also was an accident just up the road involving a pedestrian fatality...not in crosswalk...which took place in the midst of it all.

  2. It was precisely this sort of overwhelming response that led to John Geer being shot by the FCPD under still obscure circumstances. There is a significant difference between containing a situation and further ratcheting up an already high level of tension. The FCPD has gunned down three unarmed civilians under suspicious circumstances in the past few years. As a result of these episodes, it has become clear that the FCPD has developed into a subculture that rationalizes these sorts of killings as merely being an inevitable aspect of law enforcement. County prosecutors have abetted that sense of entitlement giving the FCPD carte blanche to fire at will. That abrogation responsibility leaves me with absolutely no desire whatsoever to have any contact with the FCPD. So, while I certainly don't have any sympathy for Mr. Helmand, I can only conclude he was extremely fortunate to come out of this Ferguson-type situation without becoming another of those inevitable casualties.

    1. I had not pieced together the number of recent FCPD's killings of unarmed citizens; it points to the fact that we have officers that are not competent enough to handle much less defuse volatile situations. I was able to hear the officer talking to Helmand and from what I could hear, it seemed he handled the situation ideally; he defused, he didn't berate, he calmed, he did not threaten; he also made it clear he was not leaving until Helmand came out. He reiterated at least three times that I heard that Helmand would not be hurt if he came out slowly with his hands up. He also reassured Helmand that the girlfriend was safe and OK. I was not thrilled with the hundreds of cars that had to use my driveway to make a U-turn; (surely someone could have directed traffic in the residential area.) I was pleased with the primary officer that handled the bullhorn. A secondary one tried but his diction was not at all clear and he sounded threatening. All in all happy with the outcome.

  3. Glad to see a domestic violence case handled well. Hope the guy gets anger management counseling as well as being incarcerated & hope the woman gets counseling so she can avoid this situation in the future as much as possible.

  4. Return the idiot to sender, wherever that is. And if there is no there, then send him to Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan where I am certain he will feel at home.

  5. Good thing PFC Biggs was not on this case.