- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

An 18-year-old man armed with a rifle and two handguns opened fire yesterday at a police station in Chantilly, killing a female detective and wounding two officers before being fatally shot by police.

“A female detective, a nine-year veteran with the Fairfax County Police Department, was pronounced dead at the hospital earlier this evening,” police Chief David Rohrer said, declining to identify the detective.

Police said the detective, 40, is the first officer in the Fairfax department’s 66-year history to be fatally shot in the line of duty.

The Washington Post identified her as Detective Vicky O. Armel.

“All of Fairfax County mourns the loss of one of its detectives,” said Gerald E. Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Connolly said that the slain detective’s husband also is a member of the police force and that they had two young children.

Police said the gunman carried no identification but investigators believed him to be Michael Kennedy, 18, of the 6200 block of Prince Way in Centreville, who was accused April 18 of carjacking a 33-year-old man in Rockville.

Montgomery County police said Kennedy turned himself in to Fairfax County police later that night and was held as a fugitive from justice.

As of late last night, Fairfax police had not named the gunman or suggested a motive for the shooting, which left one officer critically wounded.

“All information points to the act of a lone, troubled individual — not a conspiracy, not an act of terrorism,” Mr. Connolly said.

The shootout occurred about 3:30 p.m during a shift change at the Sully District police station in the 4900 block of Stonecroft Boulevard. Police said the gunman drove onto the station’s back parking lot in a carjacked van, got out and began firing at officers from between two vehicles.

A 53-year-old officer who is a 23-year veteran of the force was critically injured and underwent surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

A second officer, 28 and a five-year veteran, had minor injuries.

A civilian employee was treated for minor injuries and released.

Police spokeswoman Capt. Amy Lubas said at least one of the officers hit by the gunman was able to return fire.

Chief Rohrer would not discuss details of the investigation.

“It’s going to be unraveling slowly,” police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings said. “We don’t have a clue at this point. I’m sure some of the investigators are starting to put that together.”

Police said the gunman had tried to steal a white pickup truck earlier in the day, but the truck’s owner did not understand English and ran off with the keys in his pocket. The gunman later carjacked a van.

Officers carrying shotguns and automatic weapons shut down several streets in the area and searched cars in the police station’s parking lot.

Several establishments, including a nearby high school, were locked down as police searched for a second shooter. Police later determined that the gunman had acted alone.

Within three hours of the shooting, police also had cordoned off a road a few miles away in Centreville at the 6200 block of Prince Way.

Paul Thiem, who lives on the street, said it was not clear whether the heavy police presence was tied to the shooting.

He said police appeared to be focusing on Kennedy’s residence.

Officer Derek Baliles, a spokesman for Montgomery police, said Kennedy had been returned to Montgomery custody on the carjacking charge and released April 22 on a $30,000 property bond. Officer Baliles said he had no confirmation that Kennedy was the gunman in yesterday’s shooting.

Becky Jackson, another Prince Way resident, said heavily armed police began arriving not long after 6 p.m.

“They showed up in flak jackets, dogs and big vans,” Miss Jackson said. “They never told me what was going on, but they could see me peeking out the window.”

Witness Lew Bennett told Channel 4 that he saw an unmarked police vehicle — a white Ford Explorer — moving against the flow of traffic on a road near the police station. He saw “a woman hanging out of the back seat with the door open,” he said.

“My assumption was at first that some sort of training event was going on,” Mr. Bennett said, adding that he realized there was too much frantic activity to justify a training exercise.

“And then I said, ‘Oh, my goodness. This is critical because they would never do that,’ ” he said. “And I don’t know if it was a victim. I don’t know if it was a police. I just know this was not an ambulance, and they were getting this person somewhere out of there as quickly as they could.”

Mr. Bennett said the woman who appeared to be injured probably was one of the wounded officers.

Brett Martin, administrator of physical security for the Northrop Grumman Information Technology Center, across the street from the station and down the block, said the government contractor got a phone call from local officials shortly after the shooting.

He said the officials wanted Northrop Grumman, at 4801 Stonecroft Blvd., to turn its security cameras toward the police building.

“We’re also doing extra patrols,” he said.

Employees were stuck at the building as it remained under lockdown yesterday evening.

“Traffic is just completely backed up, just streams of traffic,” he said.

Mike Campbell, principal of Westfield High School — about one mile from the Sully police station — said the school was in lockdown after the shooting and students were being kept in the auditorium and gymnasium.

“We’ve secured all the buildings and all the doors. … We have a Fairfax County security personnel there,” Mr. Campbell told Channel 4.

The security lock down ended about 7 p.m., after police determined the gunman had acted alone.

• Michael Hunsberger and Jim McElhatton contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide