A heavily armed teenager who killed a detective and wounded two officers in a shootout outside a suburban Washington police station had recently been arrested on carjacking charges, officials said Tuesday.
Michael W. Kennedy, 18, was crouched down between two vehicles in the station parking lot when he opened fire on the unsuspecting officer Monday afternoon, officials said.
An officer sitting in his cruiser was critically wounded in the attack, and Detective Vicky Armel, who had just walked out of the station, was shot and killed.
“This was an unprovoked attack, an ambush,” Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer said Tuesday.
In all, the young shooter fired off at least 70 rounds before he was killed, Maj. Bob Callahan said. He said the teen had been armed with a high-powered hunting rifle, five pistols and an AK-47-style assault weapon.
Carjacking attempt Monday
Kennedy, of Centreville, had attempted another carjacking that day and was driving another stolen vehicle just before the attack, officials said. Armel had been headed out from the Sully District Police Station to assist the investigation when she was killed.
Four weeks earlier, Kennedy had been arrested by Fairfax police on a warrant connected to a carjacking in nearby Montgomery County, Md.
According to police reports, a 33-year-old man had been forced from his vehicle by a suspect who claimed to have a gun. Kennedy reportedly turned himself in to Fairfax police at one of their district stations and was held on a fugitive warrant charge. He was released after posting a $33,000 bond, court records showed.
Mary Ann Jennings, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman, said that on Monday there was another attempted carjacking and a van was stolen shortly before the officers were attacked. The stolen van was recovered in the police station parking lot.
She said police didn’t know “exactly who he (Kennedy) was targeting except to say he was targeting police officers.”
“All information points to the act of a lone, troubled individual — not a conspiracy, not the act of terrorism,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald Connolly. “It would appear that the gunman specifically targeted our police.”
Officer had two children
Armel, 40, was a nine-year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department. Her husband is also a detective in the department, and she had two elementary school-aged children.
“On the day she died, she was doing her job right to the last moment. It’s the kind of person she was,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Horan, Jr.
A childhood friend of Kennedy, Ryan Gwin, said Tuesday he couldn’t believe Kennedy was responsible for the shootings.
He described him as having a “punk-gothic kind of thing going” in terms of his dress but said he had an eclectic group of friends.
Police taped off the home where Kennedy lived in with his parents as they searched for evidence Monday night.
The wounded 53-year-old officer remained in critical condition Tuesday after undergoing surgery overnight, officials. The other injured officer, a 28-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.
The shooting touched off hours of gridlock and confusion in the area as roads were blocked and nearby buildings, including a high school, were locked down as police sought other possible suspects before determining there was only one gunman.