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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Man dies after struggle with police at Roundtree Park

Updated April 20, 11:50 p.m.: The Fairfax County Police are investigating a death at Roundtree Park on Annandale Road. According to an FCPD bulletin, patrol officers from the Mason District Station were dispatched to the park just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, to search for “a critical missing man who had wandered from the park on foot.”

The deceased has been identified as Paul Arthur Gianelos, 45, of Annandale. He suffered from cognitive disabilities and had been on an outing with other members of the group home where he lived.

An initial investigation has revealed that the first responding officer had been with FCPD for more than 20 years and is certified in Crisis Intervention Training. He found Gianelos about a mile away, on Annandale Road, and attempted to engage him in conversation. The officer contacted the caregiver and attempted to reunite them, but for reasons yet to be determined, Gianelos became physically combative with the officer and a struggle ensued.

The officer requested assistance and as three additional officers arrived, Gianelos, who remained combative, was taken to the ground and handcuffed. He sustained a minor abrasion during the scuffle and rescue was summoned.

Gianelos was alert and breathing at that time but then experienced an apparent medical emergency, went into cardiac arrest, and CPR was administered as he was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.

No weapons were used against Gianelos during this incident. The police department is conducting a two-pronged investigation; first, the Major Crimes Division is conducting a criminal investigation and detectives from the Internal Affairs Bureau are conducting an administrative investigation.


  1. An unfortunate incident. It seem that our officers acted out of compassion, but sometimes that is not enough to defuse a trouble man.

    1. I've done some research and found out that this "troubled man" had autism, which is not a mental illness.

      People who knew him said that he was a very gentle person, and, having taught children with autism since 2006, I can tell you that he was likely frightened by four officers who probably had no clue about how to approach someone on the spectrum.

      I'm not jumping to conclusions, but I can tell you that it's absolutely stunning how many people can't even begin to "read" someone on the spectrum--as well as how many police officers are set to treat someone like Paul as a violent threat from the second they first see him. It's amazing to me that ALL police officers aren't trained better.