(NOTE: This case is under active investigation and the information provided is preliminary and subject to change as additional facts and evidence are verified)
The first patrol officer to locate Mr. Gianelos in the 3100 block of Annandale Road was Master Police Officer (MPO) Michael Meszaros, a 25-year veteran assigned to the Mason District Station who is certified in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. After making contact with Mr. Gianelos, MPO Meszaros attempted to establish a verbal and non-verbal rapport, as the officer recognized Mr. Gianelos had cognitive disabilities. The first back-up officer to arrive on the scene was Private First Class (PFC) Hyun Chang, a 6-year veteran, who attempted to assist MPO Meszaros in escorting Mr. Gianelos to a patrol cruiser for safety until they could reunite him with the caretakers. It was at this time there was a struggle and the two officers and Mr. Gianelos found themselves on the ground, and Officer Jessica Kenna and her Field Training Instructor PFC Courtney Young, a 15-year veteran, arrived on the scene to assist with securing Mr. Gianelos in handcuffs to render the situation safe for all, until Mr. Gianelos could be reunited with his caretakers.
Once Mr. Gianelos was handcuffed, Medics from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department were requested in accordance with policy to medically assess an abrasion on his head. While awaiting the arrival of both the Medics and caretakers, the Officers monitored Mr. Gianelos’ condition. Upon arrival of the Medics and the start of their assessment process, they determined that Mr. Gianelos was suffering a medical emergency which required CPR and transport to the hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
Detectives from the Police Department’s Major Crimes Division in coordination with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County are actively conducting interviews of the officers involved, group home staff, day program employees, caretakers, and all witnesses. This investigation includes reviews of all radio traffic, witness statements, reviews of all in-car video systems for any evidence, and all other evidentiary leads developed. The interviews, which are active, will further assist us in determining the exact actions of all involved from the beginning of the field trip to the arrival at the hospital.
The Office of the Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on April 21, 2016 and will provide a determination of the manner and cause of death based upon the autopsy examination, other forensic testing procedures, and information obtained from the criminal investigation.
Our goal through all of the investigative processes will be to verify the actions of each person involved in this event. Once the investigation is complete, the entire case, including all evidence collected, the Medical Examiner’s report, any audio or video recordings, witness statements, and any other facts relevant to the case, will be turned over to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County for final determination of any criminal liability in accordance with the Code of Virginia. The Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau continues with its administrative investigation which will review all actions by the officers for compliance with all departmental policies and procedures. All of the involved officers have been placed on routine administrative restricted duty in non-patrol duty assignments while the investigations continue. Again, please note this case is under active investigation and the information provided is preliminary and subject to change as additional facts and evidence are verified.
Anyone who believes they may have information is requested to contact us at 703-691-2131. The Fairfax County Police Department will provide further updates within the next 30 days or as soon as additional information becomes available.
Details regarding our previous releases can be viewed here<https://fcpdnews.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/first-update-to-death-investigation-in-falls-church/>.