Officer Fatally Shot Outside Police Station

By Tom Jackman and Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

A Fairfax County police detective was killed and two officers were wounded yesterday afternoon after a gunman opened fire with high-powered weapons in the parking lot of a police station during a shift change, law enforcement officials said.

The gunman, who was awaiting trial on carjacking charges in Montgomery County, was killed during the ensuing shootout with police, the officials said.

Police and county officials identified the slain officer as Detective Vicky O. Armel, 40, a nine-year veteran who was assigned to the Sully District station in Chantilly in western Fairfax where the shooting occurred. Her husband is also a Fairfax detective. The couple has two elementary school-aged children, neighbors said.

It was the first fatal shooting of a Fairfax officer in the line of duty in the department's history.

One of the wounded officers was in critical condition last night, police said. The other was being treated for minor injuries and will be fine, said Mary Ann Jennings, a police spokeswoman. A civilian suffered a minor laceration during the gunfight.

Scores of police officers and relatives of the slain and injured went to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where Armel and the critically wounded officer were taken.

"My 1,320 officers, civilian officers and volunteers are grieving," a shaken Police Chief David M. Rohrer said. "We are supporting the family of the officer who is severely injured and the family of the officer who was killed in the line of duty."

Sources said the gunman was 18-year-old Michael W. Kennedy of Centreville, who was arrested April 18 by Fairfax police serving a warrant for Montgomery. He had been released from the Montgomery jail about two weeks ago after posting a $33,000 bond, court records show.

Police Capt. Amy Lubas said the three officers were in the parking lot of the station when the shooting occurred about 3:30 p.m. At least one of the wounded officers returned fire, she said. Rohrer said he did not know whether the gunman was killed by police or took his own life.

Jennings said the incident began when a man with several weapons approached a stranger in a pickup in a nearby subdivision. The stranger managed to flee with his keys. The man then hijacked a van at gunpoint. That driver also escaped uninjured. The man drove the van to the Sully station parking lot, got out and apparently crouched between two vehicles. He had one rifle, two handguns and no identification.

"All information points to the act of a lone, troubled individual -- not a conspiracy, not an act of terrorism," said Gerald E. Connolly (D), chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. "It would appear that the gunman specifically targeted the police."

The shooting shut down the busy area near Route 28 in Fairfax's high-tech corridor. Businesses and schools were shuttered for hours as police tried to verify that Kennedy had acted alone. Helicopters hovered overhead, schools were locked down and traffic came to a halt.

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