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Fairfax Gunman's Home Yields More Weapons

Christal McKinley and daughter Alexis, 22 months, pay their respects to fallen Detective Vicky O. Armel. McKinley is a dispatcher at the Sully District station.
Christal McKinley and daughter Alexis, 22 months, pay their respects to fallen Detective Vicky O. Armel. McKinley is a dispatcher at the Sully District station. (Photos By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

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By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 11, 2006

When Fairfax County police entered the townhouse where Michael Kennedy lived with his family, just hours after the 18-year-old had engaged in a fierce gun battle with police, they found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun leaning in a corner. Standing in another hallway, a .30-caliber rifle. In another corner was a .22-caliber hunting rifle.

In all, police found nine guns strewed about the empty Centreville home, unlocked, along with boxes and satchels of ammunition, six pellet guns, several hunting knives and a bayonet on a bedroom nightstand, according to a search warrant unsealed yesterday. Investigators have not traced the ownership of the seven guns Kennedy took with him to the Sully District police station parking lot, including an AK-47-style assault rifle and a high-powered hunting rifle.

After pulling a stolen van into the lot, Kennedy first critically wounded Michael E. Garbarino, 53, sitting in his cruiser, then turned and fired at Detective Vicky O. Armel, 40, fatally wounding her as she emerged from the station and returned fire, police said. More than 150 rounds were exchanged between Kennedy and four officers, including Armel.

Kennedy was taken down by "multiple" police rounds, Fairfax Maj. Robert Callahan said yesterday. Investigators think Kennedy fired more than 70 rounds from his two rifles and possibly from one of the five handguns he took to the police station, which has been closed while officers grieve.

No motive for Kennedy's sudden onslaught has been determined. In their search of the townhouse, investigators also retrieved a "black notebook containing suicidal thoughts of Michael Kennedy" from a bedroom headboard and found a "notebook with satanic symbolism" under the bed. Callahan said that the notebooks had not been reviewed and that he couldn't say what was inside.

Police also are trying to determine where Kennedy obtained his weapons, and they have yet to speak with the teenager's parents, Brian and Margaret Kennedy. The Kennedys, who also have a 9-year-old daughter, remain in seclusion since issuing a brief statement Tuesday, and their attorney, Richard F. MacDowell Jr. of Fairfax, did not return calls yesterday.

"We're not looking to treat these parents as criminals," Callahan said. "We just want to talk to them."

Garbarino has shown signs of improvement, according to his doctor, Samir Fakhry, chief of surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Fakhry said any of the five high-powered rounds that struck Garbarino in the chest, upper abdomen and arms could have been fatal, but "we are hopeful that, all things considered, he will have a positive outcome."

Garbarino, a 23-year veteran of the Fairfax force, has not been conscious since undergoing lengthy surgery Monday night, Fakhry said, because of his injuries and pain-killing drugs. "It hurts a lot, to be shot," the doctor noted.

If Garbarino survives an expected round of infections, caused by the lowering of his body's defenses, he could be out of the hospital in two to three weeks, Fakhry said.

In an attempt to help the officers most directly affected by the shootings of Armel and Garbarino, Fairfax police commanders said yesterday that they had effectively closed the Sully police station for police business and that it would remain closed for at least a week. The move is unprecedented in the department's 66-year history, police officials said.

All 103 patrol officers assigned to the district in southwestern Fairfax have been allowed to take leave, Deputy Chief Charles Peters said, and officers from the seven other districts have either been reassigned to Sully or volunteered to work extra shifts there. Officers patrolling that area are working out of the neighboring Fair Oaks station, packing into roll call meetings and dividing up the available police cruisers.


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