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Fairfax Killer Had Fled Psychiatric Center

A Fairfax County police car is draped in black bunting and surrounded by flags and flowers outside the Sully District station the day after a gunman opened fire on officers in the station's parking lot. A detective was killed and two other officers were wounded before the gunman was fatally shot by police.
A Fairfax County police car is draped in black bunting and surrounded by flags and flowers outside the Sully District station the day after a gunman opened fire on officers in the station's parking lot. A detective was killed and two other officers were wounded before the gunman was fatally shot by police. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)

His father, Brian Kennedy, 49, works as a manager in the meat department of the Food Lion grocery store just outside Fairfax City. His mother, Margaret Kennedy, 44, works at a nearby For Eyes optical shop.

Yesterday afternoon, the parents made contact with police through an attorney for the first time since the shootings.

The family issued a statement through the lawyer, saying they were in seclusion and "trying to comprehend the tragic events. . . . They offer their condolences to the family of Detective Armel, a fine and dedicated police officer, and their prayers for the wounded officers and their families." The statement added: "Although Michael was a troubled young man, he was their son, who they have lost."

Police believe Kennedy armed himself at his home in the 6200 block of Prince Way, in the London Towne apartments just off Lee Highway in Centreville. Investigators are not sure who owned the guns but believe they belonged to the family. When police searched the townhouse later Monday, they found "plenty" more guns inside, Horan said. He said he thought the guns were legally owned.

Police are investigating why Kennedy voluntarily checked himself into the Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health Center, the psychiatric treatment facility in Rockville, on April 18. Less than seven hours later, he broke a window and escaped.

Officials at Potomac Ridge declined to say why they were treating him, and they also would not comment on the escape. They issued a statement saying they did not have contact with Kennedy after he left the facility.

Immediately after escaping, at 6:49 p.m., Kennedy approached a man in a Toyota 4Runner sport-utility vehicle and told the driver he had a gun. The man gave the vehicle to Kennedy, who drove it to Virginia, police say.

Later that night, Kennedy turned himself in at the Sully District station on the carjacking charge. He was extradited to Montgomery County on April 21.

The next day, Montgomery County District Court Commissioner Jonathan Lew set bond at $30,000 after reviewing a detective's summary describing Kennedy's escape and the carjacking, court records show.

Lew, who is in his first year on the job and is working under supervision, expected Kennedy to appear for a bond review hearing before a judge the next Monday. But a bail bondsman posted the bond the same day, meaning that Kennedy never had to appear.

Paul Kemp, a criminal defense lawyer and a former president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, said, "The bond seems like a low number to me under the circumstances." Given the severity of the charge of armed carjacking and indications that Kennedy had mental problems, Kemp said he would have expected a commissioner to set bond between $150,000 and $1 million.

Administrative Commissioner Charles Peters said Lew had set "an appropriate bond for the case and the charge."


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