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Officer Garbarino Dies

Police Officer had been wounded in attack on Sully District Police Station.

Master Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino, 53, of Centreville, died on May 17 as a result of injuries sustained during a May 8 gun battle at the Sully District Police Station. "Our family has again suffered a tremendous loss," said Police Chief David Rohrer.

On May 8, Michael William Kennedy, 18, of Centreville, drove to the police station armed with seven guns and went on a shooting rampage. Garbarino was the first victim that day, being shot five times as he sat in his police cruiser.

Kennedy continued on, killing Fairfax County Police Det. Vicky Armel and wounding one other officer. A civilian was also injured by broken glass.

Garbarino was taken to INOVA Fairfax hospital where he remained in critical condition for just over a week.

Dr. Kevin Dwyer, co-chief of Trauma Services at the hospital, said Garbarino was a strong person with a "tremendous desire to live," but his systems were so weakened by the first 72 hours after the shooting that they couldn't overcome "any other little insult" to them.

He said it's unknown, as yet, whether an infection had set in but, sometime Tuesday afternoon, Garbarino's pulmonary and cardiovascular systems began to fail until they just stopped. Garbarino never regained consciousness after the shooting, and his family, fellow officers and friends were at his side when he died. He was a 23-year veteran of the police department.

"Today, Fairfax County is a community in deep pain and deep grief," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-At-large). After the loss of Armel, said Connolly, "Our hope was that his recovery would be our recovery, and now we have to start over again."

"There's a special bond between the police and the community so, as our police brothers and sisters suffer this grief, so does the community," he said. "But the process of healing will also begin and we will move forward."

Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-37) went on a ride along with Garbarino last summer. In a newsletter published before Garbarino's death, Cuccinelli described Garbarino as a "tough and unremittingly positive guy" who was about a year from retirement.

"I learned more in that one day than I could normally hope to learn in months," wrote Cuccinelli. "In addition to being a great teacher, Mike [was] a natural leader and an exuberant personality."

Garbarino and Armel are the first officers in the history of the police department to be killed by an assailant. Three others have died in traffic accidents.

Garbarino is survived by his wife, two children and his parents. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.