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Surovell, Beyer hosting vigil for Bijan Ghaisar at site of shooting

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Washington, November 7, 2018 | comments
Covering the Corridor

State. Sen. Scott Surovell and Rep. Don Beyer will be holding a vigil for Bijan Ghaisar Thursday evening at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue, the spot where the 25-year-old accountant from McLean was shot by Park Police last year.

Ghaisar, who was unarmed, died from his injuries 10 days later.

Surovell said on Facebook that the vigil will start at 6 p.m., and recommended that anyone driving to the event park on Paul Spring Parkway. Surovell, who lives two blocks from the site, recently erected a large wooden sign at the site and chained it to a tree after previous memorial signs left by family and friends were removed. The sign currently reads “One Year, Zero Answers” and includes information about about a memorial event to be held at the Lincoln Memorial on Nov. 17, the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

Both Surovell and Beyer are expected to be in attendance.

Ghaisar was shot after a police chase that began on the George Washington Parkway near the Alexandria border and ended at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue. Officers opened fire at Ghaisar as his Jeep Grand Cherokee slowly rolled around them. Five of the shots hit Ghaisar, according to his family. He succumbed to his wounds on Nov 27.

Neither the Park Police nor the FBI, which took over the investigation of the shooting, have yet provided a reason for why Ghaisar was shot. The two officers who fired at him have not been named, and other parts of the incident — including 911 calls made to police after the fender bender — also remain shrouded in mystery.

The pursuit of Ghaisar began around 7:30 p.m. on a Friday evening. A few moments earlier he had left the scene of a fender-bender accident on the parkway in the City of Alexandria near Slater’s Lane. It’s unknown why Ghaisar drove off — his SUV was rear-ended by another vehicle — nor is it clear why Park Police officers initiated a high-speed chase with him after spotting his vehicle.

Most of the details about the incident are only known because in-car police footage of the chase and shooting was released by Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler in January. In the video, Ghaisar’s vehicle leads Park Police and Fairfax County Police southbound on the parkway. He stopped a total of three times during the chase, driving off after officers approached his car the first two times. After he began to slowly maneuver around officers at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue, the officers opened fire — squeezing off nine shots in 25 seconds — until Ghaisar’s SUV rolled to a stop in into a drainage ditch next to the road.

Roessler has since confirmed that Fairfax officers determined at the scene that Ghaisar was unarmed, something that his family has insisted throughout the investigation.

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