Something Happened in Alexandria Last Night, Details TK

The WaPo headline “Two found severely wounded in Alexandria” caught my eye, given that I live in Alexandria. The report that followed, alas, did not add to my store of knowledge.

Two people with severe injuries were found Friday night in an Alexandria neighborhood just south of Four Mile Run, authorities said.

The two were both described as male. Police said they were found in a vehicle by officers who were summoned about 6 p.m. to the 500 block of Four Mile Road.

They were taken to a hospital with what police said were being described as life-threatening injuries.

No details were available Friday night on the nature of the injuries, or how they were inflicted. Nor could the ages of the victims be learned.

The street where they were found is a largely residential area of small apartment houses, just west of Mount Vernon Avenue.

The matter remained under investigation late Friday.

This gem of a story was the collaborative product of two reporters. Here’s what we know:

Two people were injured.

According to police, someone is describing said injuries as life threatening. Who, we don’t know.

Someone described said people as male; their actual maleness is not yet confirmed. Are the injuries so severe that traditional sex identifiers are not present? Or are police or the journalists in question just going out of their way to avoid cis bias?

The ages of said people is not learnable. Not even guessable. It’s a complete mystery.

How the people came to be injured is not known to the reporters. Whether they asked police or residents of the community is unknown. Was there a car crash? Were there gunshots? Who can say, really? It’s not knowable.

Whatever happened, it took place Friday night near Four Mile Run.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Phil says:

    The double byline is comical and the article is four paragraphs too long..

    But the bigger issue, I’m guessing, is the Alexandria Police’s refusal to release information. This seems to be a common pattern when it comes to police departments in Northern Virginia. In this particular case, why can’t they confirm the sex of the victims, or the nature of the injuries?

  2. Ron says:

    You don’t actually expect journalists to actually ask questions, do you?

    That might make them “reporters” instead of simply a paid regurgitator of government press releases, or worse yet, uninformed speculators, while imparting some sort of various political bent along the way.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Conjecture: the two victims were under age.

  4. Tony W says:


  5. It’s called writing a “news” story off of a police department’s press release without asking them a single question, and it looks bad to just print the press release in full.

  6. Tim Topper says:

    That’s exactly right, the media wrote their stories off the police departments press release. Since the incident just occurred we should expect the police can’t release many details yet.

  7. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    I’m willing to bet neither you, James, nor any of you commenters have a moment’s experience in daily journalism, and so none of you have been told to track down a story, from the barest wisps of information, on a Friday night deadline. PIOs have gone home, so if you’re lucky the watch commander will comment. If not, then you’re at the mercy of a dispatcher, who most likely has been instructed to not speak with the press.

    But, hey, if you want to get your rocks off slagging the lamestream media, who am I to stand in your way?

  8. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    By the way, here’s the Post’s updated story. It has more detail, and it sounds like a weird one.

    Someone who spotted the men inside the van first tipped police to the trouble in the 500 block of Four Mile Road about 6 p.m., said Ashley Hildebrandt, an Alexandria police spokeswoman. The men “weren’t shot,” she said. “They were just severely hurt.” She added that detectives were seeking to determine the exact nature of their wounds.

    “It’s very strange,” she said.

  9. Peter says:

    It now looks like the police are refusing to release further information. I would imagine that’s because there’s an ongoing investigation.

  10. SafeTea says:

    Reporters/journalists no longer function in the same capacity they did say, 10 years ago. The lack of investigative gumption has been on the wane for awhile, but since the inception of the Obama regime it’s not even a requirement anymore. Even the pretense of investigative reporting isn’t expected. Just read the words in front of you. There’s a good Commie-bot.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @SafeTea: Why bring Obama into it? The lack of actual reporting and the migration of actual reporters from the profession started much earlier. One of my friends was a UPI radio reporter for many years but quit early 2000s because of the continued slide in the profession. Bureaus were laying off actual reporters left and right. You might as well blame Zell, for his stupid LBO of the Chicago Tribune and the absolute collapse of any actual news reporting in the city.