Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Honoring The Fallen

It was May 8 of this year when two Fairfax County police officers were killed by Michael Kennedy, a heavily armed mentally ill teenager, in the parking lot of their station. Yesterday it was announced that officers Vicky Armel and Michael E. Garbarino will posthumously receive gold medals of valor. A third officer who exchanged fire with the gunman will also be recognized with the medal.

The county police have also released a detailed account of what transpired in that parking lot.

Garbarino was shot five times as he sat in his cruiser at the end of his shift. Even as he lay wounded, he was on the radio trying to direct and warn other officers.

Armel was also outside by the time the first shots were fired. She had just put on her bulletproof vest and was about to go investigate reports of a carjacking a few miles away. As it turns out, that carjacking was Kennedy stealing the vehicle he drove to the station. When the shooting began, she deliberately stepped out into the open to try and draw fire from the gunman, who was still shooting at Garbarino. That was when a .30-06 round pierced her vest.

A officer Richard Lehr was at his personal vehicle in the parking lot. He also exchanged shots with Kennedy. After running into the building to reload, Lehr then went back outside.

Kennedy was finally shot and killed by two officers from a different station who had responded to Garbarino's radio calls.

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