An officer in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has been caught up in the investigation around a carjacking and firearm theft that occurred early Wednesday morning in Clarke County.
In the course of the incident, the officer’s service pistol and personal vehicle were taken, and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has launched an internal affairs investigation.
At around 4:15 a.m. on July 12, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office received 911 call from a person stating that his vehicle was stolen by an unknown person at gunpoint.
The victim was an officer with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office; the suspect is 24-year-old Zaxarea Alzanam from Schenectady, NY.
According to Clarke County Sheriff’s Office the Loudoun officer gave a Alzanam a ride from Loudoun to the J&J Corner Store on Rt. 7 near Berryville. After dropping off Alzanam, the officer found his cell phones were missing.
The victim returned to the J&J to look for Alzanam. Alzanam was able to take a pistol—the officer’s service firearm—from the vehicle, ordered the victim out of his SUV, and drove away north on Sheperds Mill Road.
Shortly thereafter, the Clarke Sheriff’s Office received another call. The vehicle had run off the road and was stuck in the 1300 block of Sheperds Mill Road, about a mile north of Rt. 7. By the time Deputy Jacob Kennedy responded, the vehicle had been freed and was headed back south. Kennedy attempted to pull the SUV over, and the vehicle fled.
Alzanam crashed the vehicle near the intersection of Rt. 7 and Shepherds Mill and fled into the woods on foot.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and Berryville Police Department were called to assist in the ensuing manhunt. A helicopter from Fairfax County Police Department also responded.
The search came to an end at 8:11 a.m. when a resident of nearby Chilly Hollow Road called to say the Alzanam was at his home, and he was holding the suspect at gunpont.
The Winchester Star reported that Brian Morgan noticed cattle behaving unusually, spotted Alzanam running across a field, chased him down in a truck, and fired a shot into the ground and ordered Alzanam onto the ground. He, Shannon Dulaney, and Wayne Warfield Jr. attempted to hold the suspect at gunpoint.
Law enforcement arrived to find Alzanam had nonetheless fled into a nearby parked vehicle and locked the doors.
Alzanam was taken into custody and transported to the Northwest Virginia Regional Adult Detention Center after being medically cleared at the Winchester Medical Center. He was out on parole from New York. He has been charged with carjacking, auto theft, firearm theft, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and eluding police. He is being held without bound.
Loudoun Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kraig Troxell confirmed that the incident involved the officer’s personal vehicle and service weapon, which was recovered.
“This is an active criminal investigation being conducted by the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and it would be inappropriate for any further comment on their criminal case,” Troxell stated. “In addition, the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office is conducting a separate internal affairs investigation.”
The Loudoun and Clarke Sheriff’s offices have declined to confirm the identity of Loudoun officer involved, and a Loudoun Sheriff’s Office spokesman was not able to immediately confirm whether one of the phones stolen was issued by the Sheriff’s Office.
This article was updated at 8:14 p.m. to correct the name of Chilly Hollow Road and the Northwest Virginia Regional Adult Detention Center.