Gunman's Final Days

A Carjacking and a Descent Into Delusion

By Michael E. Ruane and Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For all but the sound of passing cars, the Sully District police station sat in silence the day after a guy named Michael Kennedy from a few miles down the road walked through the gate, loaded with seven guns and a determination to shoot every police officer who came his way.

He fired more than 70 times, and many of those bullets struck home, mortally wounding a detective and critically injuring an officer. Cut down by police fire, the 18-year-old died without explaining the reason for his rage. But pieces of his troubled final days -- and the delusions that beset him near the end -- have begun to emerge.

Yesterday, the high iron gates of the police station in Chantilly were pulled tight as officers stood outside with shotguns slung over their shoulders. Flowers piled up on a Fairfax County police cruiser parked on the public side of the fence until roses, mums and lilies blanketed the hood, windshield and trunk.

"I saw the flowers," said Richard Wolfe, 65, of Manassas, who passed by on his way to work. "And I was trying to think of something I could do. When I saw the flowers, I went over to Safeway and got some."

A man in a police T-shirt and jeans walked from the station to the car laden with flowers. He knelt beside it in tears, covering his face with his right hand, and stayed there for several minutes. Then he stood, ran his hand along the car and walked away.

20 Days Before the Shooting

The young man was standing under a small sycamore tree, where the driveway from a Rockville parking lot goes out onto Blackwell Road. A bulky guy with a goatee, he was dressed in camouflage pants and a black zip-up sweater with a white spider or scorpion on the back.

It was just before 7 p.m. April 18, a Tuesday, and Daniel Aparicio, 32, was in his dark green Toyota 4Runner, heading home from the manicured office park to his wife and two children in Germantown.

Aparicio stopped at the end of the driveway and motioned for the young man to cross. The man seemed to be pacing. Aparicio motioned again: Go ahead. Still the man didn't go. He looked big because he was standing at a rise in the driveway. Suddenly, he walked quickly to the driver-side window, put his hand behind his back and told Aparicio he had a gun.

"Get out of the car," he said. "Get out now."

Aparicio thought for a moment. He didn't see a gun. Other people were around. Then visions of his wife and children flashed in his mind. Okay, he said to the man, "I'm going to put it in park." He eased out of the driver's seat and handed over his keys. As he did, he said in an interview yesterday, the man noticed a child's car seat inside.

His demeanor softened instantly.

"Oh, I see you have children?" Aparicio recalled him saying.

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