Gunman Made Threats On Police, Warrant Says

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Centreville teenager who shot and killed two Fairfax County police officers this month had made "threats to kill a police officer" on two occasions, including the day of the ambush outside a police station, according to a search warrant filed yesterday.

Police are continuing to investigate the shootout behind the Sully District station in Chantilly on May 8 that took the lives of Detective Vicky O. Armel, 40, and Officer Michael E. Garbarino, 53. The shooter, Michael W. Kennedy, 18, was killed by officers in the parking lot where he had opened fire with an assault rifle and possibly some of the six other weapons he had carried there.

Officers from the Sully station, along with the rest of the 1,300-member Fairfax force, continue to receive psychological support. The 102 officers assigned to the station in western Fairfax were allowed to take leave immediately after Armel's death May 8 and were scheduled to return to duty May 17, the day Garbarino died. They began returning to work May 22, two days after Garbarino's funeral, Lt. Richard Perez said yesterday.

Friday afternoon, homicide detectives obtained a search warrant for Kennedy's cellphone. Police declined to say why they were pursuing the teenager's voice mail and text messages from the days and hours before the shooting. The warrant called the messages "evidence relating to the crime of murder" but did not elaborate. Federal authorities are conducting a separate investigation into the guns found in the home where Kennedy lived with his parents.

In an affidavit in support of the search warrant, Detective Robert A. Bond recounted the events leading up to the shooting, starting at 3:37 p.m. with Kennedy carjacking a white minivan from his neighborhood at gunpoint while wearing camouflage and a ski mask.

Fifteen minutes later, Kennedy opened fire on Garbarino's car as the veteran officer sat inside, unarmed. Then Kennedy and Armel "exchanged gunfire in the parking lot until [Detective] Armel was shot and killed" by Kennedy, Bond wrote in the warrant, filed at Fairfax Circuit Court. "Several other officers exchanged gunfire with [Kennedy] in the parking lot," killing him, Bond added.

"Investigation revealed that Michael Kennedy had made threats to kill a police officer in [the] past and on the day" of the killings, Bond's affidavit states.

Sources familiar with the case said the "past" threats were a reference to comments Kennedy made when he turned himself in to Fairfax police late on April 18 at the Sully station. That day, Kennedy broke a window and left a mental health center in Rockville, carjacked a pickup truck nearby and then drove to Centreville, where friends said they persuaded Kennedy to turn himself in.

It remains unclear whether the threats were relayed to a Montgomery County commissioner, who set a $30,000 bond for Kennedy when he was extradited to Maryland early April 22. His family posted the bond and soon resumed efforts to get him into intensive psychiatric care. The family's attorney said mental health professionals repeatedly rebuffed those attempts.

Bond wrote that he had "interviewed associates of Michael Kennedy" who had sent him text messages. Bond noted that "it is also believed that Michael Kennedy may have received voice mail messages from associates regarding his plans to kill a police officer."

Police declined to discuss what Kennedy may have said or messaged to anyone May 8.

Kennedy's parents, Brian and Margaret Kennedy, have not met with police since that day. Their attorney, Richard F. MacDowell Jr., said yesterday that he was unaware of the search warrant for the phone and declined to comment further.

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