Clarendon stabbing leaves victim with serious injuries

The stabbing happened outside the Pio Pio restaurant in Clarendon. Photo: Ben Rice

After going more than two years without a murder, Arlington recently had four murders in two weeks. Thursday brought more violent crime when a man was stabbed after police say he chased a suspect who had tried to break into his car.

As of Thursday night, police say the man’s condition had stabilized and they expected him to survive. They say he was stabbed multiple times by the suspect, who fled the scene and had not been caught as of Thursday night.

Police say the victim, a 31-year-old man from Montgomery County, caught the suspect breaking into his car in the Clarendon area around 1:30 p.m. Thursday in a parking lot near the southeast corner of North Fairfax Drive and North Kenmore Street.

Police say the victim chased the suspect across nearby Wilson Boulevard and onto the property of the Pio Pio restaurant, where during a struggle, police say the suspect stabbed the man repeatedly.

“I saw a lot of blood over there,” said Ray Knight, who works across the street from the crime scene.

Nearby residents and workers say violent crime in the Clarendon area is almost unheard of – especially in broad daylight.

"I guess you never know where it's going to pop up, but it surprises me that it happened right here,” Arlington native Rex Thomas said. “This is so busy right here."

Police say after stabbing the victim, the suspect ran south into the Ashton Heights neighborhood. Residents there say he ran through a narrow area in between two rows of townhouses.

Police say soon after that, a work van was stolen nearby, and they believe the suspect may have taken it and used it as a getaway vehicle. Police used K-9 dogs to search Ashton Heights, but the dogs lost the suspect’s scent.

Police describe the suspect as a 28 to 32-year-old Hispanic man who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs about 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and dark blue jeans.

Police say the T-shirt may be ripped and the suspect may have been hurt along with the victim. Police believe drops of blood in between the homes where the suspect ran may be his own.

Although it does not appear Thursday’s stabbing will wind up a murder case, it is part of a recent spike in violent crime in Arlington.

Police say a man killed his wife and himself on July 24 in the Fairlington area, and then three days later a man who has since been arrested allegedly murdered the owner of a Columbia Pike jewelry store.

Most recently,{ } two men were found killed Tuesday in an apartment in the Hall’s Hill area. Those deaths are being investigated as a double homicide.

Arlington Police chief Doug Scott says there does not appear to be a connection between any of the violent crimes.

"[They are] totally unrelated,” he said after Thursday’s stabbing. “But [this is] certainly something that concerns us."

Residents we talked to don’t believe the recent crimes are the start of a long term spike in the crime rate.

"It doesn't make me afraid to live here,” said Ashton Heights resident Doug Stetson. “We've had [our] place for about 30 years, and the crime rate is near zero. I expect it will stay low. I believe this is a blip."