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Pentagon Officer Dead, Suspect Killed  08/04 06:40

   

   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.

 
 
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