Arlington, VA – Officials have released more information about what happened at the bus platform outside the Pentagon on Tuesday that left a police officer and the suspect dead, and several bystanders hurt.
The incident occurred just after 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 at the Pentagon Transit Center located beside the U.S. military complex, the Associated Press reported.
Pentagon Force Protection Agency Officer George Gonzalez was on patrol by bus platform when he was ambushed.
Law enforcement sources told the Associated Press that 27-year-old Austin William Lanz ran at Officer Gonzalez and stabbed him in the neck.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that after he mortally wounded the officer, Lanz took Officer Gonzalez’s weapon and eventually used it to shoot himself.
The @FBIWFO says Austin Lanz exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center & without provocation attacked Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez with a knife mortally wounding him. Lanz got a hold of Gonzalez’s weapon & shot himself. @7NewsDC #7NewsITeam pic.twitter.com/QVMcBjpoA7
— Scott Taylor 7 News I-Team (@ScottTaylorTV) August 4, 2021
Police later said the suspect never entered the Pentagon.
Officials said two bystanders were also injured, The Sun reported.
However, no details about who shot the bystanders have been released, nor have their medical conditions.
The Pentagon went into lockdown for more than two hours after the incident began.
Witness Dave Statter told WRC that he heard at least a dozen gunshots during the chaos.
Statter said he saw CPR being performed on two people afterwards.
Officer Gonzalez was transported to George Washington University Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Investigators have not yet determined Lanz’s motive for the attack, the Associated Press reported.
Lanz, of Atlanta, Georgia, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012, but the Corps said in a statement that the recruit had been “administratively separated” less than a month later and never actually became a Marine.
Court documents showed he was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia in April and charged with criminal trespass and burglary, The Sun reported.
A separate set of six additional charges that included two counts of aggravated battery on police, a count of making a terrorist threat, and rioting in a penal institution were brought against Lanz later the same day, the Associated Press reported.
The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Lanz had been held at their detention center in the past but referred questions related to him to the FBI.
He was released on a $30,000 bond in May and ordered to have a mental health evaluation and not use drugs, The Sun reported.
That case was still pending when he was fatally shot after stabbing the Pentagon police officer.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the Pentagon Force Protection Officer who died as a result of injuries he received this morning,” U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement on Tuesday night.
“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. “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.”
He ordered flags at the Pentagon complex lowered to half-staff, Politico reported.
Officer Gonzalez was a three-year veteran of the Pentagon police force. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq, according to Politico.
The FBI said the investigation was ongoing and there was no further threat to the public, the Associated Press reported.
This not the first time gunfire erupted outside the Pentagon.
Two Pentagon police officers were shot by a gunman at the security screening area in 2010, the Associated Press reported.
The officers returned fire and the gunman – John Patrick Bedell – was killed.
Both officers survived, the Associated Press reported.