News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reston gang activity up, ages down

So housing prices might still be falling, but there's one area where Reston is gaining ground: gang activity.

Recent search warrant affidavits culled from Fairfax Circuit Court repeatedly show suspected gang-related activity in all parts of the county, including Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon and especially Reston.

Last month, two Reston teens, 16 and 13, were questioned by police for their suspected involvement in activity believed to have been committed by members of the "18th Street" criminal street gang.

According to police, a student riding a public school bus to Dogwood Elementary School was assaulted by suspected gang members when he exited the bus on Glade Drive in Reston. Records state he was beaten with the "belt-buckle portion" of belts worn by the assailants.
Huh? Are there 17-year-olds going to Dogwood these days, or are gangs, apparently being shut out of the lucrative bank robbing business by our athletic but plan-averse serial robber, resorting to trying to grab kids' lunch money and Pokemon cards? Whatever the reason, Reston's so incredibly special the MS-13 reportedly sent one of their leaders to Reston last October to "represent," by which they mean "shoot people."
Last week, the leader of a local MS-13 gang was indicted in U.S. District Court for shooting two suspected rival 18th Street gang members and one innocent bystander in the same Reston neighborhood.

Court documents signed by FBI officials assert that MS-13 leader Dennis L. Gil Bernandez was intentionally sent directly to Reston from El Salvador because the northern Virginia arm of his gang was not "representing" properly and rival gangs were being allowed to populate the Reston area.

A court affidavit claims that Bernandez responded by shooting one suspected rival gang member at point-blank range and another twice in the back. A third man, who held up his hands and said he was not a gang member, was also shot by Bernandez after Bernandez first said, "I can't leave any evidence," according to the affidavit.
You can find more fun details on this longstanding beef on this blog.

Like everything else, we can thank the economy for this:
Task force members say that Northern Virginia's strong economy was partially responsible for keeping gang problems to a minimum in Fairfax County over the last few years.

But the economy has since taken a downturn, and its natural, positive effect on gang suppression may be likewise deteriorating. According to Summers, while violent gang crime recently dropped about 30 percent from its 2005 high point, overall gang crime in Northern Virginia is undeniably up.

Bob Bermingham, gang coordinator for Fairfax County, estimated that gang-related crime in the county alone rose approximately 7 percent from 2007 to 2008. "But we're still ahead of 2005," he said. "The numbers are still lower."

Unfortunately, the ages of those committing gang crimes also appear to be lower.

According to Virginia State Police Detective Eric Vega, also a member of the regional task force, the average age of a male gang member in Virginia is now 17, for a female, 14. Vega said that children typically start their gang involvement in schools.

Last week, seven Chantilly teenagers, some as young as 13, were charged with 18 gang-related crimes.
Gang-related arrests have also recently taken place at Oakton and Fairfax High School. There's really nothing funny about this story, so here's a picture of a chicken wearing a vest:


  1. So all those parents who were screaming about not wanting their kids to go to South Lakes (redistricting battle) are now saying, "du-uh! We have gangs at Oakton and Fairfax High Schools?"

  2. It sounds like Bernandez would be a prime candidate for a very long vacation at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, where I'm sure he would make a very nice wife for some con named Bubba. Let's see how tough he is in there. Hope the feds throw a RICO charge against this piece of garbage. What I'd like to know is how he got into this country -- if he is not a U.S. citizen, it sounds like ICE or the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador was alseep at the wheel, assuming he didn't just slip across the border.

  3. Eek! I was called for jury selection on that case yesterday, and thankfully was not selected to be among the final 12 judging the case...whew!

    I will say though that Bernandez appears to be quite the's all in the eyes, ya know?

    I just hope the final 12 will be alright after the trial's conclusion - and that no retribution will be made against them or their families... :(


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