News & Politics

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Alexandria Neighborhood Where Wednesday’s Shooting Happened

Del Ray's Front Porch, a gathering place for drinks and food in the warm months. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The Alexandria neighborhood where a gunman fired on a baseball practice involving members of Congress Wednesday is called Del Ray. It’s a former streetcar suburb of DC and not a touristy destination like Old Town. It’s mostly residential with a lot of local, non-chain businesses.

Del Ray is very walkable, a place where mornings you see a lot of people taking their kids to school or walking their dogs. Its main drag is Mount Vernon Avenue stretching from Braddock Road all the way to West Glebe. Monroe Avenue, where the shooting took place, is roughly in the middle of the strip. There’s a recreation complex on Monroe with two baseball fields, a large soccer field, a YMCA, and a dog run. One of the fields is the home field of T.C. Williams, the high school from Remember the Titans. Across the street is the Swing’s Coffee roasting facility, an Aldi supermarket, and a CVS.

I’ve lived in the neighborhood for about a decade. It’s a quiet and peaceful place to live, and it’s surreal to see it on the news. Here’s a guide I wrote to Del Ray a while back. I wrote that it “feels a little like an idealized small town: Most businesses are independent, and they’re situated along a 1½-mile-long stretch of Mount Vernon Avenue whose sidewalks are often full of people, all of whom seem to know one another, walking between errands, dinner dates, and coffee runs.”

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.