By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 7, 2007
A Centreville man whose son killed two Fairfax County police officers outside a police station last year was ordered released on $100,000 bond yesterday, one day after being charged with providing the arsenal of weapons his son used in the attack.
Brian Kennedy, 50, a meat counter manager, stood quietly in U.S. District Court in Alexandria and was instructed by Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr. to stay away from guns and drugs. He was then released into the custody of his brother, Steven Kennedy, who lives in Falls Church.
Kennedy is accused of illegally possessing the seven guns that his mentally troubled son, Michael, took to the Sully District police station in May. He also is charged with lying on federal forms to obtain one of the weapons, an AK-47 assault rifle. Michael Kennedy, 18, fired more than 70 rounds in the rampage before being shot and killed by police.
Attorneys for Brian Kennedy have criticized prosecutors for bringing the indictment when he has been cooperating with them for months, but the lawyers have not yet addressed the substance of the charges.
Yesterday, new details emerged about allegations that guns and drugs played an important role in the family's life. The indictment filed Thursday said weapons and marijuana were found throughout the Kennedy townhouse and that Brian Kennedy smoked marijuana with his son and his son's teenage friends. Kennedy's mother, Margaret Kennedy, allegedly took the teens to a shooting range to practice firing assault rifles.
Rebecca Green, who was close friends with Michael Kennedy, said that he once made a picture showing himself "silhouetted with an AK-47" and that he told her his father "occasionally toked up."
Green, 18, added that she was at the family home once every two weeks and doesn't recall seeing Brian Kennedy use marijuana. "He never smoked with my group. When he was at home, he was minding his own business," she said.
In an interview shortly after the shooting, Michael Kennedy's girlfriend said the teen "always had a thing for guns. He got it from his dad, obviously. He always knew everything about guns."
The girlfriend, who spoke in May on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident, said Michael Kennedy was especially happy when his father brought home the AK-47 he had purchased at a Fairfax gun store.
Officer Michael E. Garbarino, 53, and Detective Vicky O. Armel, 40, were killed in the shooting at the police station parking lot. They had just walked outside when they came across Michael Kennedy, who had donned camouflage-style clothes, carjacked a white van and drove to the station.
Michael Kennedy fired 20 shots into Garbarino's car, hitting him five times. He died nine days later. Armel began firing at Kennedy, and the teen fired back with two rifles. She was struck in the chest and killed.
Two officers who had heard Garbarino's calls for help shot and killed Michael Kennedy.
Michael Kennedy's family and friends have said the young man had a history of psychological problems.
The eight-count indictment charges Brian Kennedy with possessing 20 guns and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutors said he was prohibited from having the guns because federal agents determined that he is a drug user. When Kennedy bought the AK-47, he lied on the federally mandated paperwork when asked whether he used marijuana, the indictment said.
Kennedy has no criminal record, and legal experts said it is unusual to charge someone with illegal weapons possession for being a drug user when that person has no drug convictions. But it does happen, and experts said it is allowable under federal statutes.
"You can be a person prohibited from owning a firearm for any number of reasons, one of which is being a convicted felon and another of which is being a drug user," said Robert A. Spencer, former chief of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, which is prosecuting Kennedy.
At yesterday's hearing, prosecutors did not object to Kennedy's release but insisted that his brother be named his custodian.
"Because of the allegations of drug use by the defendant at his home," said Assistant U.S. Attorney James Trump, "it would give some assurance to the court that such drug use is not taking place at [his brother's] home."
Kennedy's wife declined to comment outside court yesterday, and the driveway to his brother's white-brick Colonial in Falls Church was chained shut, with two no-trespassing signs flanking the gate.
A neighbor, who spoke on condition that her name not be used because of the nature of the charges, said the Kennedys are "a very nice family. I'm sure they're crushed by what happened."
Staff writers Paul Duggan, Ian Shapira and Daniela Deane contributed to this report.