- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fairfax County Police officers still grieving over the death of a detective killed in a deadly ambush said goodbye yesterday to a second officer who died from wounds he received in the attack.

Services were held for Master Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino, 53, at McLean Bible Church, just a week after Detective Vicky O. Armel’s funeral at the same church.

“Mike’s death has shaken us,” Police Chief David M. Rohrer said.

Officer Garbarino, a 23-year veteran of the department, died early Wednesday, nine days after being shot by Michael Kennedy, 18, in the May 8 ambush on the Sully District Station.

Kennedy, of Centreville, was killed in the ensuing shootout.

“In Michael’s passing, we have encountered death, in all of its tragic, painful and sad reality,” said the Rev. Gregory Safchuk. “But although we grieve, our grief is not like others who have no hope. … Michael left prepared.”

Thousands of law-enforcement officers from across the region and the country filled the church for a second straight week, paying their respects to the second officer in the department’s 66-year history to be fatally shot in the line of duty.

Like the funeral procession for Detective Armel, hundreds of law-enforcement vehicles yesterday passed by the Sully station. The interment was held at Fairfax Memorial Park.

Officer Garbarino was remembered as a man of devout faith and a “cop’s cop” who was dedicated to his family and community.

“He was a hero because he cared so passionately about people and about his community,” said Michael R. Frey, the Sully District representative for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “No one was ignored. No one was too far gone.”

Officer Garbarino, who worked as a police officer at William Patterson College in Wayne, N.J., from 1981 to 1982, joined the Fairfax County department in 1983. He was promoted to police officer first class three years later and to master police officer in 1995.

“Mike simply loved being a police officer,” Chief Rohrer said. “Like Vicky Armel, he had character and heart. He embodied the whole person behind the badge.”

Chief Rohrer commended Officer Garbarino and Detective Armel, 40, for their bravery and quick action, which he said prevented more deaths.

“Mike had valor and courage,” he said. “He demonstrated that throughout his career, and he fulfilled his duty on May 8 as he always has.”

Police said Officer Garbarino, the first victim shot by Kennedy, was preparing to go off duty and was not wearing his uniform or body armor at the time of the shooting. He was in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria when Kennedy ambushed the officers.

Kennedy, who was accused April 18 of a carjacking in Rockville, was carrying an assault-style weapon, a high-powered rifle and five handguns when he drove onto the lot in a stolen van, got out and opened fire.

Police said Officer Garbarino managed to call in a warning to officers inside the station, even after being hit five times.

“His first concern was not for himself, but for his fellow officers,” state Sen. Kenneth Thomas Cuccinelli II, Fairfax County Republican, said tearfully.

Detective Armel died at the scene. A third officer was treated for minor injuries.

Officer Garbarino was admitted to Inova Fairfax Hospital in “extreme shock,” with doctors giving him just a 5 percent chance of surviving the first 48 hours after the shooting.

Officer Garbarino had shown signs of improvement in the days after the shooting, but his condition suddenly worsened Tuesday as his organs began failing.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, and two daughters, Katie and Natalie.

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