by Carla Branch
Yesterday’s 12-hour standoff between a man who was suspected of shooting a woman in their home at Cameron Station, Alexandria, ended last night at 10:45 p.m. when the suspect shot himself.
Alexandria and Arlington police were outside the home in the 5000-block of Waple Lane from 11:00 a.m. yesterday until the incident came to a tragic close. A man who was walking his dog notified police of “shots fired”. When police arrived at the town home, they found a woman outside the home suffering from several gunshot wounds. Paramedics transported her to a local hospital, where she is in critical, but stable condition. The suspect was identified as James Downs and victim as Dominique Dunford, who together own Cameron Perks, a Cameron Station coffee shop. A two-year-old, who was in the house at the time of the shooting came out into the yard and police were able to take her to safety.
Police notified nearby neighbors that there was an incident in progress and asked those people to leave their homes. Because the incident began when most people were at work, police did not have to evacuate anyone. As a precaution, however, police asked Samuel Tucker Elementary School to go to “lock down” status for about an hour. Also, buses carrying students from Francis Hammond Middle School, the Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center and T.C. Williams High School brought students who live in Cameron Station to Tucker, where parents met them.
Throughout the day and evening, police were in telephone contact with Downs, who, periodically came out onto his balcony brandishing a hand gun. In the evening, the Arlington Police Special Operations Team relieved the Alexandria Special Operations Team, which had been in place all day. At around 10:45 p.m., police outside the home heard a gunshot. When they entered the home, they found Downs dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.