Victim shot in head at Legion post, lives

If the bullet that grazed a 27-year-old area man’s head had hit a quarter- or half-inch lower, he probably would have been killed, Manassas police said Thursday.

Instead, the round that hit the man left him with only a laceration, following the 11:25 p.m. shooting Saturday at American Legion Post 10 at 9950 Cockrell Road near downtown Manassas, city police said.

The man was treated and released from Prince William Hospital following admittance for overnight observation.

Julio Mario Rios, 18, of the 9700 block of Beech Place in Manassas was charged Wednesday night with malicious wounding and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection with the shooting. He is being held at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail without bond and is due in Prince William County General District Court on July 31.

Between four and six people were escorted from the hall, which had been rented for a private, Sweet-16 birthday party, when a fight broke out because two people were arguing about a girl, Sgt. Bill Goodman, police spokesman said.

“They were concerned about who was dancing with who, and it escalated to a physical altercation inside,” Goodman said.

Goodman did not believe the girl was the guest of honor at the birthday.

Police, who were unsure of the nature of the relationship between the victim and the birthday girl, said the expelled group started banging on doors and throwing bottles at windows, breaking one immediately after being kicked out.

This prompted a group of adults inside to chase the purportedly unruly group, Goodman said.

Police said the chase ended when the single shot was fired. They have not been able to locate the weapon. The arrest was made based partially on witness reports. Police would not say in which group the reports that led to Rios’ arrest originated.

Goodman has seen one similar case in his career as a police officer, but noted that such events are rare. A bullet once bounced off a man’s head in the 1980s, leaving him with non-life-threatening injuries.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.