Police investigate murder in Falls Church; neighbors fear crime is gang related

A Fairfax County Police car on Bellview Drive in Falls Church. (WJLA)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WJLA) – Fairfax County Police say the man whose body was found in a Falls Church parking lot early Monday was murdered, and that the incident may be a random crime.

Residents of the 6000 block of Bellview Drive woke to the disconcerting sight of homicide detectives and crime scene investigators peppering the Olde Salem Village apartment complex, looking for evidence in connection with a suspicious death that was later ruled a homicide.

“They say they got four guys [who] tried to rob and kill another one, a single guy,” said Falls Church resident Sergio Alvarez.

Just after 2 a.m. on Sept. 1, officers responded to a “suspicious person” call. Instead, they found the body of 27-year-old Filaberto Ramirez; police believe he was beaten or stabbed to death.

The discovery of the victim’s body has left neighbors near Bailey’s Crossroads on edge.

“Yes, I worry, I’m concerned because I have a son; he’s 19 years old,” said Falls Church resident Maria Delcid.

Many residents say they are concerned the killing was gang related.

“It’s like the wild, wild West right here,” said Alvarez, a father of three, adding that violent fights in the early morning hours are happening at least once a month. “People say they are maybe for gang members, or used to be. Who knows?”

Police are investigating to see if there is a gang element involved.

“There wasn’t anything left at the scene that would be a signature of any sort, but that’s not always done,” said FCPD Officer Bud Walker.

Some residents of the mostly Latino neighborhood say they’ve had enough. Alvarez, a construction worker, says he’s moving out.

“My contract is up in two months, I’m walking away,” he said. “I don’t want to get involved. The community, they are afraid.”

Even longtime resident Rene Marino is considering leaving.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, made best friends here,” he said. “I don’t even let my kid play out here … we’re considering moving out, just because of the way it is.”

On Monday night, more than a dozen Fairfax County Police officers returned to the scene of the crime to look for more clues, saying a certain part of their investigation could only be completed once it got dark.

Many neighbors with whom ABC 7 News spoke say they don’t know who Ramirez was.

“When I came out to go to work at 6 a.m., I actually saw him laying there without his shirt,” Marino said.

“The man had a broken nose … he had a lot of bleeding from here,” said resident Daniel Cespedes, touching his chin and neck area.

Residents say the neighborhood can be a dangerous place, and that fights are very common, often fueled by alcohol.

“They look at each other with the wrong faces, they don’t like the vibes, and stuff goes down,” Cespedes said.

Neighbors say although fights are frequent, people being killed is not.

“It’s just sad that your own race [is] killing each other, Spanish on Spanish,” Cespedes said.