Police Officer, Attacker Killed at Pentagon Bus Stop

A Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer reportedly died of stab wounds, and the attacker was shot and killed by responding officers, on Aug. 3 at a bus stop outside the Pentagon.

At 10:37 a.m., the Pentagon police officer was attacked at the metro bus platform outside the building’s main entrance. Gunfire was exchanged, causing several casualties, PFPA Chief Woodrow G. Kusse said during a briefing. The officer was then rushed to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., where the officer later died.

On Aug. 4, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency identified the officer killed as George Gonzalez, an Army veteran who also served in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Administration before joining the PFPA in 2018. He held the rank of Senior Officer.

The Associated Press cited “multiple law enforcement officials” who identified the suspected attacker as 27-year-old Austin William Lanz of Georgia, who had briefly enlisted in the Marine Corps but never served.

The Pentagon briefly locked down, but at 12:11 p.m., the PFPA tweeted that the lockdown had been lifted, with the metro station and Corridor 2, which leads to the metro station, still closed.

The major bus and metro station serves as an interchange for multiple transit agencies. Videos and photos emerging online show first responders providing aid to an individual near a Washington, D.C., metro bus.

Despite some initial reports that a suspect fled, Kusse said the scene was secure and there was no need for a search after the incident. Kusse said it is premature to say whether the incident was related to terrorism, noting the investigation is ongoing. He said an “exchange” of gunfire occurred but didn’t specify whether the attacker had a gun.

“We don’t know what the motivation was,” he said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III was at the White House for a scheduled meeting with President Joe Biden when the incident occurred, Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said. Staff at the White House informed Austin of the event, and he visited the Pentagon police operations center to “check in with them” when he returned to the building.

Austin “very clearly was concerned about the incident, about the potential for violence right here on the Pentagon Reservation, [and] certainly [he] was very concerned about any casualties that occurred,” Kirby said.

Austin ordered the flags at the Pentagon to be flown at half staff following the incident.

“This fallen officer died in the line of duty, helping protect the tens of thousands of people who work in—and who visit—the Pentagon on a daily basis,” Austin said in a statement. “He and his fellow officers are members of the Pentagon family and known to us all as professional, skilled, and brave. This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make. We are forever grateful for that service and the courage with which it is rendered.”

It is the first serious incident of violence at the Pentagon since 2010, when John Patrick Bedell shot and wounded two Pentagon police officers at a security checkpoint near the site of the Tuesday incident. The officers also returned fire in 2010, killing Bedell.

Kusse, during the briefing, said it was too soon to speculate whether the Pentagon would need more security at the metro and bus stations in the aftermath of the incident. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated at 6:01 p.m. with additional information from the Pentagon; and at 7:53 p.m. citing the alleged suspect‘s identity according to The Associated Press.