A Maryland woman has been charged with several crimes across two states for allegedly abducting her ex-girlfriend, which resulted in a two-day standoff between police and the suspect that closed parts of a popular northern Virginia town near Washington, D.C., for more than 34 hours. Her first court appearance will be on Thursday after an earlier hearing was canceled last week.
Brittany A. Copelin, 29, is charged by Fairfax County Police in Virginia and the Laurel Police Department in Maryland, according to court records.
She is accused of kidnapping Lauren L. Kingsbury, 25, her ex-girlfriend.
Kingsbury had last been seen on March 24, then vanished. On March 26, she was reported missing.
Kingsbury was found safe in Fairfax County, Virginia, on March 28. She told law enforcement that Copelin had kidnapped her.
Kingsbury was found safe on March 28 in Fairfax County, Virginia. They responded immediately when she told law enforcement that Copelin had kidnapped her.
Shortly after Kingsbury’s safe discovery, Copelin engaged in a standoff with police who had located her vehicle, D.C.’s NBC station WRC reports.
Armed with a gun, she barricaded herself inside an SUV for hours on March 28, shutting down a primary state highway in Fairfax County for over a day. Finally, on March 29, after negotiating with police officials for hours, Copelin surrendered.
Uninjured, she was taken into custody and faces charges in two states. Laurel and Fairfax police have accused the suspect of kidnapping, home invasion, assault in the first degree, abduction, and other crimes.
“There were crimes committed, but this was ultimately a person in a mental health crisis,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told reporters Thursday.
Fairfax officers were called to the scene around 11 a.m. on Tuesday following a request from another agency for officers to check on the welfare of a woman considered to be missing.
Officers found a woman outside a motel who claimed another woman had abducted her.
“When we responded there, there was a woman who said she had been abducted, and the suspect vehicle had just fled. So we began searching the area, and that’s when one of our officers found the vehicle, and it led to a pursuit and ended here,” Lt. James Curry said. “She did display a firearm to the officers during that first traffic stop, and that’s led to the response that you see here.”
During the crisis, a mental health clinician and a police negotiator have been trying to communicate with the woman driving a black SUV.
Early on, negotiators approached the SUV under the cover of rifle-wielding officers but promptly retreated because the woman was not cooperating.
Early Thursday morning, the standoff came to an end.
Residents praised the patience exhibited by police officers who did not breach the vehicle with a dynamic entry the way these kinds of events often end.
Local elected officials told police leaders to take all the time they needed to resolve the matter peacefully.
Last week, Copelin was to have a first appearance in Fairfax County General District Court, but her attorney moved to reschedule that hearing.
On Thursday morning, Copelin will appear before a judge to address the charges against her.