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‘Devious licks’ social media challenge prompts vandalism in DC-area schools

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Vandalism inspired by a TikTok trend called “devious licks” is leaving a bad aftertaste among school administrators nationwide, including some in the D.C. area.

The latest back-to-school trend, courtesy of TikTok, is leaving school administrators across the country frustrated, including some in the D.C. area.

The “devious licks” challenge recently went viral on social media, inspiring students to steal or vandalize school property and post their exploits on TikTok.

Much of the vandalism and thefts have occurred in school bathrooms — a trend that prompted the principal of a Prince William County, Virginia, high school to warn that students will be disciplined for their actions.

“Last Friday, we experienced significant vandalism in our boys’ bathrooms, which included removing soap bags from soap dispensers to place them in the toilet, stuffing the toilets with paper towels, throwing trash throughout the bathroom, and stealing items from the bathrooms,” Lisamarie Kane, principal of Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, wrote in a letter Monday.

She said the school had to close some of the bathrooms but will reopen them Tuesday “with an extensive monitoring plan to help prevent this vandalism from occurring.”

Diana Gulotta, spokeswoman for Prince William County Schools, told WTOP that any students involved would be disciplined according to the county’s code of behavior.

Damage has also been reported at Falls Church High School and Rocky Run Middle School in Fairfax County.

“We are aware of several incidents of damage to school property related to a troubling TikTok challenge. Disciplinary action has and will be taken against those who participate in this behavior as part of our Students Rights and Responsibilities,” Fairfax County Public Schools spokeswoman Julie Moult said in an email.

Loudoun County Public Schools said it had some minor incidents related to the challenge but that there was no substantial damage.

D.C. Public Schools told WTOP that it has not seen any incidents. WTOP has contacted Montgomery and Prince George’s County schools in Maryland for comment.

Across the country, some students have been arrested and charged in connection to the challenge. Administrators are also warning that students could be suspended or forced to pay restitution for any damage they cause.

A spokesperson for TikTok said the social media platform was removing “devious licks” content and redirecting hashtags to its guidelines to discourage the behavior and that it doesn’t allow content that “promotes or enables criminal activities.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Crime

Spray-painted hate speech discovered in Bethesda

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Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, say they are investigating spray-painted hate speech at a Bethesda grocery store, a high school and two churches.

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, say they are investigating spray-painted hate speech at a Bethesda grocery store, a high school and two churches.

Police said officers observed garbage Dumpsters with blue spray paint reading “WHITE PRIDE 2021,” behind the Giant at 10400 Old Georgetown Rd. on the morning of Oct. 3.

Officers learned a short time later that the phrases “NO COMMIES,” “LGBT IS UNNATURAL” and “WHITE PRIDE” with circles and crosses spray-painted in blue were found at multiple spots a few hundred feet away at Walter Johnson High School, at 6400 Rock Spring Drive.

Police said officers were advised of similar vandalism in the immediate area — on the welcome sign of a church in the 10000 block of Old Georgetown Road, and at a bus stop at Old Georgetown Road and Democracy Boulevard shortly after.

Officers were advised of more vandalism on the Bethesda Trolley Trail and at another church in the 6000 block of Grosvenor Lane, police said.

All the vandalism was committed in the space of about a half-mile square.

Surveillance video shows images of a potential suspect who appeared to be a male, slim to medium build, wearing a light-colored hat, dark red (possibly plaid) shirt or jacket, tan pants and brown boots, according to police. The potential suspect was wearing a headlamp and a backpack too.

Montgomery County police released these images of the suspect in the vandalism.

Police are asking anyone with more information on the incident or the identity of the suspect to call the 2nd District Patrol Investigations Unit at 240-773-6726.

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Police: DC police officer jumps from moving car, fires weapon during struggle with armed suspect

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An officer was dragged across the road after trying to make a traffic stop in the area of Brightwood in Northwest D.C. Friday.

Two D.C. police officers were injured and a suspect was wounded after an altercation that caused an officer to jump from a moving vehicle driven in the Brightwood Park neighborhood in Northwest D.C. Friday afternoon.

D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said officers were flagged down by someone who reported that an armed man with a cast on his arm was chasing another individual. The officers radioed that information and officers in the area began looking for someone meeting that description.

Road closures were put into effect at 500 Kennedy Street NW for a police investigation following the incident.

A little while later, officers stopped a man matching that description and felt a firearm in his waistband during a search, according to Contee. A fight then broke out, and the suspect managed to break free and run to an alleyway, where he got into a vehicle.

Police tried to get the man out of the car, as one officer entered into the rear seat in an effort to remove him. However, the suspect was able to start the vehicle, injuring one officer as the car took off down Kennedy Street.

The officer who entered through the rear asked the suspect several times to stop, but the man kept driving, Contee said.

“During that that drive down Kennedy Street, a shot was fired by our officer, striking the individual,” Contee said.

It was initially reported that the officer was dragged, but Contee clarified that the officer inside the car jumped out of the rear after shooting the suspect. Despite being shot by police, the suspect inside the car continued to go down the street.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty reported that a man with a gunshot wound turned up at a nearby hospital shortly after the incident. Contee confirmed that the individual was the suspect wanted in this incident.

Contee said the man had a single gunshot wound, and was taken into surgery for treatment. Police are still looking for his vehicle, which is described as a dark-colored Jeep.

Two officers were sent to hospitals to be treated for injuries caused during the incident. D.C. police are still investigating the area and looking for video from nearby crime cameras.

Brightwood Park was identified as one of the five areas the District was focusing on in its 2021 Fall Crime Prevention Initiative. Contee confirmed police increased its presence in the area recently, adding that it was “disrespectful to the community” that the suspect chased someone down the street with a loaded gun.

Contee thanked the resident who warned officers of the armed man, and asked any other potential witnesses — such as the man who was being chased — to come forward and offer a statement to police by calling 202-727-9099.

“This is an incident where one of our brave officers is out here, and citizens did exactly what we asked them to do: they told a police officer,” Contee said. ” …[To] that citizen, thank you. They did what they exactly what they were supposed to do and those officers, they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

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Loudoun man apprehended after pointing gun, crashing car in police chase

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A man pointed a gun at a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy before fleeing, pointing a gun at a construction worker a short time later and then crashing the car he was driving after deputies say they tried to serve him multiple felony warrants. 

A man pointed a gun at a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy before fleeing, pointing a gun at a construction worker a short time later and then crashing the car he was driving after deputies say they tried to serve him multiple felony warrants.

The chase happened along the Fairfax-Loudoun County, Virginia, line on Thursday night.

Deputies said Terry Settles, 48, was seen getting into the passenger-side of a car in South Riding. But when deputies tried to pull the car over, the sheriff’s office said the car turned into the McBryde Terrace neighborhood.

Then, deputies say Settles pushed the driver out of the car and climbed behind the wheel. When a deputy tried to apprehend Settles, he pointed a gun at the deputy, according to the sheriff’s office.

The deputy went to take cover and Settles shut the door on him. Deputies said Settles backed into a sheriff’s car before driving off into Fairfax County. Deputies say they then lost sight of the vehicle and began coordinating with Fairfax County Police.

The sheriff’s office was told that Settles pulled a gun on a construction worker near Bull Run Post Office Road in Loudoun County.

Law enforcement from the Fairfax County Police Department, the Prince William County Police Department, the Virginia State Police, and the U.S. Park Police helicopter helped search for Settles.

Settles was found in a wooded area between Bull Run Post Office Road and Braddock Road, armed with a knife and refusing to come out of the woods, according to deputies.

Soon after, he was taken into custody. Both a knife and a gun were found at the scene. No members of law enforcement were hurt in the pursuit. Settles was taken to a hospital for minor injuries.

Deputies said Settles abandoned the car he was driving in a wooded area near where he was found after he was “involved in a single-vehicle crash.”

He was arrested on multiple charges including attempted aggravated murder, two counts of assault on law enforcement, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and driving on a revoked license.

Fairfax County, Prince William County, and Frederick County all served Settles with warrants. Settles is at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond.

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