Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Once again, persistent police work and technology combined to find, and arrest, the suspects in a tragic and senseless murder in our community. Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis announced the arrests of two young men in the killing of Nelson Alexander, Sr., affectionately known by his family as “Uncle Bird,” who was using a walk-up ATM at the Wells Fargo bank on Annandale Road in Falls Church when he was accosted and shot. Mr. Alexander was a longtime and beloved resident of the area, killed, apparently, on his way to work in the early morning of October 20, 2021.


The ATM’s surveillance camera caught some of the action at the machine, and footage also revealed a specific vehicle that had been stolen in the City of Alexandria. Additional surveillance video from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) revealed the suspects boarding a Metrobus near the Seven Corners Shopping Center earlier in the evening and led to determining the line of travel taken by the suspects throughout several Northern Virginia jurisdictions. Numerous tips from the community included private video footage, which aided detectives in executing search warrants for digital and forensic evidence.


On April 7, 2022, arrest warrants for felony murder and robbery were issued for 19-year-old Timothy Kashuan Bradshaw Robinson, who was arrested on April 8 at his home in Falls Church. Warrants for felony murder and use of a firearm were obtained for a 17-year-old male, who will be extradited to Fairfax County from Maryland. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives offered a $10,000 reward for information that led to the arrests, and the Fairfax County Police will handle the allocation of appropriate cash rewards to qualified tipsters.


The tragedy of Mr. Alexander’s death will linger over his extended family and the community for many years, perhaps forever, with many questions that always may remain unanswered. If there is any satisfaction to come from this tragedy, it is that the suspects have been caught, and will face the consequences under the law. The sadness is exacerbated by the knowledge that these two young suspects also ripped apart their own family circles by their actions. So many lives affected by one rash decision on the morning of October 20.


A successful police investigation relies on the expertise of the officers and detectives assigned to the case; on modern technology – surveillance cameras, DNA, for instance; on the community response – Mr. Alexander was discovered in the parking lot by a passerby, and the Alexander family arranged for a candlelight vigil that raised community awareness; and on good, old-fashioned “shoe leather,” as officers tracked down information and clues. Also crucial to the investigation was the cooperation of other police departments and federal agencies. The National Capital Region especially is fortunate to have a collaborative and cooperative relationship between public safety agencies, so that investigations of such shocking crimes are thorough, brought to closure, and appropriately adjudicated.

Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]