Police make arrest in murder of 20-year-old: ‘This wasn’t a random attack – he assassinated him’

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA – The Fairfax County Police Department announced on February 14th that they’ve made an arrest in the homicide of 20-year-old Samuel Onyeuka.

It is reported that the murder of Samuel Onyeuka serves as the first homicide committed within Fairfax County in 2021.

Onyeuka was reportedly found having suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body on February 10th, not far from his home located in Reston. Authorities say that the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Police officials suspect that the shooting that took place outside a townhome community in the 2300 block of Branleigh Park Court was not a “random act of violence,” but rather a targeted shooting.

Witnesses informed police that the suspected shooter had fled the scene in what appeared to be a silver Nissan Rouge.

The suspect arrested in the case was identified by authorities as 20-year-old Jalenn Keene, and is said to be facing second-degree murder charges.

During the course of the investigation, police had located the suspect’s vehicle used to flee the scene of the murder within the Newport News area.

A subsequent search of Keene’s vehicle was said to have resulted in police finding a 9-millimeter gun inside of the car, which police are actively investigating to determine if this was the firearm allegedly used in the murder of Onyeuka.

Jalenn Keene mugshot
Jalenn Keene – Fairfax County Police

Saly Fayez, who serves as the Director of Victim Services Division at Fairfax County Police Department, afforded the following statement from the family of the victim during a press conference regarding the investigation:

“Words are insufficient to describe the deep concern and grief our family is having about the unjust murder of our dear Sam – our beloved, kind, gentle, son, brother, nephew, uncle, friend, neighbor, and member of our community.

“We will continue to celebrate his life. While he is gone from us too soon, we believe he is resting in peace for all eternity where no harm will ever be done to him again. Our family does ask that anyone with any information to please reach out to detectives so we can bring our family some justice.”

Major Ed O’Carroll from the Fairfax County Police Department also shared the following during the press conference:

“We take every act of violence seriously. And our officers, detectives, and professional staff give everything they have – day in and day out – towards making this one of the safest jurisdictions in the country.”

The suspect currently remains in the custody of Newport News authorities and is expected to be transferred over to Fairfax County custody in the coming days.

No possible motives in the alleged murder have been mentioned by officials as of this writing.

This is a developing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we gather further updates on this case.

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LET Unity

In other recent news stemming from Virginia, Senator Josh Hawley’s wife has reportedly filed criminal charges against one of the alleged protesters behind a harassing demonstration that had taken place outside of their home in early January. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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VIENNA, VA – The wife of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has filed criminal charges against one of the ShutdownDC organizers of a January 4 protest at Hawley’s home in Vienna.

The criminal complaint filed by Erin Hawley charges the organizer with one count of illegally demonstrating, a misdemeanor.

The complaint identified the organizer as Patrick Young of Washington, D.C. Sen. Hawley’s office reported that the complaint was filed in Fairfax County Court, but Young told ABC News that he had not received notice as of Friday morning.

Despite police descriptions of the protest being mostly peaceful, Erin Hawley said otherwise. In a statement, she said:

“[T]he doorbell rang, and from downstairs, I could hear loud noises at the door: knocking, stomping, shouting, or some combination. I went upstairs to see what was happening . . . [t]he protestors were screaming with bullhorns and shouting, ‘Come out, come out!’ I was frightened.”

The protest occurred while Erin Hawley was home alone with the couple’s newborn daughter. Sen. Hawley was in Missouri with the couple’s two young boys at the time.

The protesters said they organized the “vigil” outside the Hawley home to protest a GOP plan to object to the electoral college vote certification scheduled for January 6.

About 15 people participated in the protest chanting “Protect democracy” while holding candles.

Sen. Hawley had strong words for the protesters when he learned of the protests outside his home:

“Tonight, while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter. They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door.

“And didn’t have the guts to do it in daylight, but only under cover of darkness so you could hide. You’re scum. And we won’t be intimidated.”

Vienna police reported that they did not see anyone pounding on the Hawleys’ or their neighbors’ doors, did not hear threats being made by the crowd, and did not see any vandalism beyond some chalk on the sidewalk. Officer Juan Vazquez told the Associated Press that the “people were peaceful”:

“Officers are only allowed to put in the report what they see. We can’t get warrants on something we didn’t see. If someone wants to make a complaint, they’re more than welcome to file a police report.”

Vazquez said the protesters did violate several local laws, but when police explained the violations to the protesters, they left the area:

“There were no issues, no arrests. We didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”

Some of the laws violated by the protesters included a Virginia statute prohibiting picketing in front of a private residence, a local ordinance about making noise in front of a residence and littering.

While thanking the police for their assistance, Sen. Hawley’s spokesperson disputed the police description of the protesters. Spokesperson Kelli Ford said:

“In fact, when Erin, Josh’s wife, asked them to leave, they instead screamed threats through blow horns at Erin, a newborn baby and their neighbors, and then they followed up by stepping onto their porch to pound on the front door and peer inside the house at Erin,”

An hour-long video of the protest posted on social media showed about a dozen protesters meeting in a parking lot of a strip mall. The group, carrying signs and a bullhorn, walked through the streets of Vienna to the Hawley home carrying candles.

The group arrived at the home and began chanting, “Due diligence has been done. Biden Harris have won.”

The crowd passed around a bullhorn while chanting. As the group rapidly ramped up to random shouting, three of the group walked up to the front door of the home and began looking through windows, and one appeared to try opening the door.

A person inside, presumably Erin Hawley, came to the door carrying an infant and appeared to speak with a protester.

She reportedly told the protester that there was a baby in the home, there were neighbors being disturbed, and asked the group to leave.

The protesters then walked away from the door and back to the sidewalk in front of the home.

The protesters continued chanting and shouting from the sidewalk and street in front of the home.

About 35 minutes into the video, three people arrived and entered the residence. At the same time, the police arrived and an officer talked to the protesters. The officer tells a member of the crowd:

“You are protesting in front of a residence. I have been informed by my superiors that that is actually illegal. I do have a supervisor en route if you want to speak to them. Can we please quiet down until we have a supervisor out here?”

The group refused the officer’s request and continued shouting toward the home.

About twenty minutes later, as more police arrive, the group departs saying they would “return in the early mornings or during the night.” Two protest signs and two lit candles were left on the lawn in front of the home.

Erin Hawley wrote in the criminal complaint that the incident left her “fearful,” and that the family had to hire a private security firm because the protesters threatened to return.

Young was identified as an organizer of the ShutdownDC protest because of multiple interviews he gave to the news media following the protest.

A district magistrate found enough evidence to issue a summons for Young. ShutdownDC issued a statement regarding the reports of a summons being issued:

“We are not aware of any summons issued related to our candlelight vigil at Senator Hawley’s house. Police on the scene did not believe a crime was committed.

That was confirmed by the Vienna Police Department in media reports days later. If a summons has been issued, it is outrageous that a rich and powerful person — a United States Senator — can go to their magistrate to get a summons to harass a normal person.”

The group also sent out a tweet regarding the complaint:

“The guy who is trying to have people thrown in jail for having a candlelight vigil is complaining about being silenced.”

Sen. Hawley came under fire for his show of support for pro-Trump protesters in Washington D.C. on January 6 shortly before the assault on the United States Capitol.

He was also one of the senators that voted against certification of the electoral college votes in the 2020 presidential election.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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