Virginia officials ‘on high alert’ until Inauguration Day, a standoff in Rocky Mount over police at Capitol riot, another Republican candidate for governor, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Officials are planning to close Capitol Square amid tensions over the possibility of more armed right-wing protests. “Frankly, at this point, we’re on high alert from now right up to Inauguration Day.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The presence of two Rocky Mount police officers at the U.S. Capitol riot led to a standoff outside a town council meeting, with one group condemning the officers and another supporting them.—Roanoke Times

• The FBI’s Norfolk office issued a stark warning to the bureau prior to last week’s violence, pointing to online discussions urging attendees to “go there ready for war.”—Virginian-Pilot

• Almost 40 percent of Virginia’s 5,477 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the last three months.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy died of COVID-19 after an outbreak at the local jail.—Washington Post

• A special election will be held March 23 to fill the Southwest Virginia Senate seat left vacant by the death of the late Sen. Ben Chafin, meaning Senate Republicans will be down a vote for the entire session.—Roanoke Times

• After two men with mental health issues committed suicide at a Hanover County shooting range, their families are pushing for a law requiring background checks for gun rentals.—NBC12

• A Muslim member of the Fairfax County School Board is suing police after being pepper-sprayed during a traffic stop and photographed without her hijab.—Associated Press

• Sergio de la Peña, a former Trump Pentagon appointee, is joining the GOP field for governor. He condemned the violence at the Capitol but said it’s not Trump’s fault.—Washington Post

• A security guard at a Manassas Chipotle is facing charges after allegedly hitting a maskless customer and dragging him out of the store.—WTOP

Sign up here to get these headlines and the Mercury’s original reporting delivered to your inbox daily in News to Know, our free newsletter.