St. Leo DRE arrested after deadly road rage incident

Librado Cena, director of religious education at St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax, was involved in a road rage incident that turned deadly and became the first homicide in the City of Fairfax since 2008.

Father David A. Whitestone, pastor of St. Leo, placed Cena on administrative leave April 18, according to Michael J. Donohue, director of the Arlington diocesan Office of Communications.

Police say Cena, 57, grew angry April 16 when a man honked at him repeatedly at red lights, The Washington Post reported May 1. Cena followed the driver, 63-year-old William Hays O'Brien, to a parking lot and reportedly hit him on the head. O'Brien died 10 days later from what doctors called a traumatic brain injury, court papers say.

Cena, a father of four, was hired as secretary to the St. Leo DRE in 2004 and had been serving as DRE since 2006, according to Father Whitestone.

"Many of us are struggling to come to terms with this disturbing event, and we are following developments in this case closely," Father Whitestone said.

Cena claims the two exchanged blows, but surveillance video reportedly shows Cena sprinting up behind O'Brien and striking him first.

Cena was arrested April 18 and charged with aggravated malicious wounding, according to The Washington Post. Fairfax County prosecutors said they still are reviewing the case.

After the altercation, Cena returned to the vehicle and left the scene, according to the search warrant. O'Brien went into a Best Buy store, where he told an employee he had been assaulted.

According to the search warrant, O'Brien returned home and called 911 just before 1:40 p.m., saying he was alone and in significant distress. Paramedics forced their way inside and found O'Brien unconscious and unresponsive on the dining room floor.

O'Brien was transported to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition and died April 26 as a result of his injury.

"The members of St. Leo the Great Church are very saddened by the news of O'Brien's death and shocked by the apparent involvement of a member of our church," Father Whitestone said. "The prayers of our parish community are with O'Brien and his loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013