Officer dead, suspect killed in violence outside Pentagon

Metro trains are bypassing the Pentagon Wednesday morning because of the ongoing investigation.



WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pentagon police officer died after being stabbed Tuesday during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the building, and a suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene.

The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown after a man attacked the officer on a bus platform shortly after 10:30 a.m. The ensuing violence, which included a volley of gunshots, resulted in “several casualties,” said Woodrow Kusse, the chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which is responsible for security in the facility.

The deaths of the officer and the suspect were first confirmed by officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The Fairfax County Police Department also tweeted condolences about the officer’s death. Officials said they believe two bystanders were injured.

The suspect was identified by multiple law enforcement officials as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia.

The officer was ambushed by Lanz, who ran at him and stabbed him in the neck, according to two of the law enforcement officials. Responding officers then shot and killed Lanz. Investigators were still trying to determine a motive for the attack and were digging into Lanz’s background, including any potential history of mental illness or any reason he might want to target the Pentagon or police officers.

The officials could not discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity.

Lanz had enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 2012 but was “administratively separated” less than a month later and never earned the title Marine, the Corps said in a statement.

Lanz was arrested in April in Cobb County, Georgia, on criminal trespassing and burglary charges, according to online court records. The same day, a separate criminal case was filed against Lanz with six additional charges, including two counts of aggravated battery on police, a count of making a terrorist threat and a charge for rioting in a penal institution, the records show.

A judge reduced his bond in May to $30,000 and released him, imposing some conditions, including that he not ingest illegal drugs and that he undergo a mental health evaluation. The charges against him were still listed as pending. A spokesman for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Lanz had been previously held at the agency’s detention center but referred all other questions to the FBI’s field office in Washington.

An attorney who represented Lanz in the Georgia cases didn’t immediately respond to a phone message and email seeking comment, and messages left with family members at Lanz’s home in the Atlanta suburb of Acworth, Georgia, were not immediately returned.

Tuesday’s attack on a busy stretch of the Washington area’s transportation system jangled the nerves of a region already primed to be on high alert for violence and potential intruders outside federal government buildings, particularly following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

At a Pentagon news conference, Kusse declined to confirm that the officer had been killed or provide even basic information about how the violence had unfolded or how many might be dead. He would only say that an officer had been attacked and that “gunfire was exchanged.”

Kusse and other officials declined to rule out terrorism or provide any other potential motive. But Kusse said the Pentagon complex was secure and “we are not actively looking for another suspect at this time.” He said the FBI was leading the investigation.

“I can’t compromise the ongoing investigation,” Kusse said.

The FBI confirmed only that it was investigating and there was “no ongoing threat to the public” but declined to offer details or a possible motive.

Later Tuesday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency issued a statement confirming the loss of the officer, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences and said flags at the Pentagon will be flown at half-staff.

“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. “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.”

Tuesday’s violence occurred on a Metro bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, a hub for subway and bus lines. The station is steps from the Pentagon building, which is in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington.

An Associated Press reporter near the building heard multiple gunshots, then a pause, then at least one additional shot. Another AP journalist heard police yelling “shooter.”

A Pentagon announcement said the facility was on lockdown, but that was lifted after noon, except for the area around the crime scene.

Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were at the White House meeting with President Joe Biden at the time of the shooting. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Austin returned to the building and went to the Pentagon police operations center to speak to the officers there.

It was not immediately clear whether any additional security measures might be instituted in the area.

In 2010, two officers with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency were wounded when a gunman approached them at a security screening area. The officers, who survived, returned fire, fatally wounding the gunman, identified as John Patrick Bedell.

_____

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Michael Biesecker in Washington and Matthew Barakat and Sagar Meghani in Arlington, Va., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

With the Pentagon Transit Center closed for the investigation, temporary signs along Hayes St at Pentagon City station, show where Metro, DASH and ART buses are arriving and departing the day after the violence. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Pentagon City Metro stop
With the Pentagon Transit Center closed for continuing investigation, Metro’s Blue and Yellow line commuters are using the Pentagon City stop. Regional buses also arriving here. Yellow-vested WMATA personnel are offering directions and information. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown after it was reported that three individuals were shot. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a mass transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown after it was reported that three individuals were shot. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Virginia Sate Troopers patrol near the Pentagon after report of an active shooter and lockdown in Washington, DC, on August 3, 2021. – The Pentagon was on lockdown after a shooting at a subway station just outside the secure US military headquarters. Employees in the US Defense Department headquarters in the Arlington suburb of Washington were ordered to shelter in place amid reports of several gunshots and injuries in the station, the entrance of which is just a few dozen yards (meters) from the building’s main doors. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Virginia State Police are positioned along Route 95 South Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. Gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the Pentagon, resulting in multiple injuries. The facility, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was placed on lockdown. The incident occurred on a Metro bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, the Pentagon Protection Force Protection Agency tweeted. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

A police officer looks at vehicles outside the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 in Washington. Gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the Pentagon, resulting in multiple injuries. The facility, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was placed on lockdown. The incident occurred on a Metro bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, the Pentagon Protection Force Protection Agency tweeted. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

An officer inspects a patch of greenery outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Members of the Air Force walk away from the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Washington. Gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the Pentagon, resulting in multiple injuries. The facility, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown. The Arlington County Fire Department reported “multiple patients,” but it wasn’t immediately clear if they had been shot and the extent of their injuries were unknown. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

People walk away from the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Washington. Gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the Pentagon, resulting in multiple injuries. The facility, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown. The Arlington County Fire Department reported “multiple patients,” but it wasn’t immediately clear if they had been shot and the extent of their injuries were unknown. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Police are looking at a scene and items are seen on the ground near a Metrobus outside the Pentagon Metro area, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. A Pentagon police officer died after being stabbed Tuesday during a burst of violence at a transit station outside the building. That’s according to law enforcement officials. The Pentagon officer was stabbed and later died, according to officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A police officer looks at a vehicle outside the Pentagon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 in Washington. Gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the Pentagon, resulting in multiple injuries. The facility, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was placed on lockdown. The incident occurred on a Metro bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, the Pentagon Protection Force Protection Agency tweeted. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a mass transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

With the Washington Monument rising in the background, emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

People leave the Pentagon on foot following a shooting with multiple victims at a mass transit station on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

Emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a mass transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown after it was reported that three individuals were shot.

Police block off an entrance to the Pentagon following reports of multiple gun shots fired on a bus platform near the facility’s Metro station Tuesday, Aug, 3 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Police block off an entrance to the Pentagon following reports of multiple gun shots fired on a bus platform near the facility’s Metro station Tuesday, Aug, 3 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Pentagon police officers walk near the facility’s Metro station, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. (AP Photos/Sagar Meghani)

Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station.

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 3, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown after it was reported that people were shot.

Police vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Police vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station.

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on Aug. 3, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown after the shooting.

A Pentagon Police officer is seen outside the Pentagon, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A Pentagon Police officer is seen outside the Pentagon, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly.

Rescue vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Rescue vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly.

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

Joe Biden
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station.

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station.

Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility’s Metro station.

Emergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, went into lockdown.

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Pentagon City Metro stop
Police block off an entrance to the Pentagon following reports of multiple gun shots fired on a bus platform near the facility’s Metro station Tuesday, Aug, 3 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Police vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A Pentagon Police officer is seen outside the Pentagon, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Rescue vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area, Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. Two people familiar with the shooting, which occurred on a Metro bus platform at the Pentagon, said at least one person was down. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information publicly. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Joe Biden
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Emergency vehicles are seen outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon is on lockdown after multiple gunshots were fired near a platform by the facility's Metro station. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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