12-Hour Standoff Comes to Deadly End

Police believe shooting suspect took his own life

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A 12-hour standoff at an Alexandria townhome came to a deadly end Thursday night, after police surrounded the home where a woman was shot several times.

Shortly before 10:45 p.m., police heard a gunshot coming from inside the townhome.  When they went inside, they found the suspect, 44-year-old James Downs, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

The day's events started unfolding around 10:30 a.m.  Officers were called to  the home on Waple Lane in the Cameron Station neighborhood, and found the female shooting victim outside the house. Inside, there was a man and a 2-year-old child, but the man allowed police to remove the child from the home.

Negotiators were in contact with the man for much of the day, trying to convince him to surrender.

"We're going to stay out here as long as it takes," Alexandria Deputy Police Chief Blaine Corle said Thursday night.  "It's most important to us that we resolve the incident peacefully, that there's no use of force and no one gets hurt.  We'll stay out all night if we have to."

Apparently the woman was shot while trying to back a car out of the garage. She got the car outside but was found on the front lawn.

Surrounding homes were evacuated, and Samuel Tucker Elementary School was locked down for a while. Students were not allowed outside, and parents were not allowed in.

Police closed several streets in the neighborhood as a precaution.

"It's scary, and I think it's a little crazy, but it looks like police are doing the best they can," Cameron Station resident Pamela Alexander said.


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Because of police activity some students from T.C. Williams High School, and Minnie Howard and Hammond elementary schools were not allowed to go home immediately after class. Some residents of the Cameron Station neighborhood residents were not being allowed into their homes. Police were directing them to a family reunification center in the Tucker Elementary gym. 

The woman is in serious but stable condition. Neighbors said she and Downs were co-owners of a coffee shop.  It closed shortly after receiving word of the shooting. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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