The May 9 Mount Vernon CAC meeting began and ended solemnly. Fire Department chaplain Grant McIntosh was on-hand at the station, which is temporarily without its own chaplain, to support its officers. McIntosh led a brief prayer and a moment of silence for Det. Vicky Armel, who had been slain only the day before, wounded officer Michael Garbarino, who was as-yet un-named and in critical condition, and all of the officers of Sully Station and Fairfax County.
After the main presentation, Captain Mike Kline addressed the CAC members. “The department is going through a very big grieving process right now,” Kline told them. “It’s going to take our offices a long time to go through this process … we’re going to ask the community to bear with them.”
Kline described how the Mount Vernon station barricaded itself against attack as soon as it became clear that the Sully station was under fire. The “hardening” of the station included placing water-filled barriers around the building, and deploying snipers on the roof. Officers were also dispatched to secure the South County Government Center.
But it did not take long for suspicions of terrorism to ease and the true nature of the case to emerge: a lone gunmen firing indiscriminately at police officers left exposed in their own parking lot. Armel had been one of the first to respond to the firing. “Detective Armel. She went out a hero,” said Kline. “Not much more you can say about that. She was doing her job to the very end.”
Supervisor Gerry Hyland expressed his sympathy for the Fairfax officers. “The trauma is just something that gets visited on every member of our police department … They just feel it personally,” Hyland said. “I can’t say enough how lucky we are to have a police department that does the right things and knows what to do [in emergency situations].”