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Fatal attack on Pentagon officer was sudden and unprovoked, FBI says

Fatal attack on Pentagon officer was sudden and unprovoked,
FBI says 1

Tuesday’s fatal attack on a Pentagon Police Officer at a transit station outside the building was sudden and unprovoked, according to an account of the incident released by the FBI on Wednesday.

The officer, who authorities identified as George Gonzalez, died after officials say a suspect exited a bus and quickly stabbed Gonzalez “without provocation,” according to a tweet from the FBI Washington Field Office.

Investigators say a suspect, identified as 27-year-old Austin William Lanz from Acworth, Georgia, attacked Gonzalez with a knife. During the struggle that ensued, the FBI said Lanz shot himself with the officer’s weapon.

Other officers also “engaged the subject,” according to the FBI. Lanz died at the scene.

A bystander who was injured during the incident was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has since been released, according to the release.

Authorities have not released information on a possible motive for the shooting. Investigators are examining Lanz’s background, including his criminal history, jail records, financial information and any online accounts as they tried to identify a potential motive for the attack, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press.

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The Pentagon Force Protection Agency said on Twitter that the agency on Tuesday observed End of Watch, a ceremony following a police officer’s death, for Gonzalez.

Gonzalez joined the PFPA in July 2018 and was quickly promoted to the rank of senior officer in 2020, according to the agency tweet thread. A military and police veteran, Gonzalez previously served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Army. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq, according to the PFPA.

The PFPA said “He took our mission of ‘protecting those who protect our nation’ to heart,” the PFPA said. The agency and described him as “gregarious” and “well-liked and respected by his fellow officers.”

“Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others,” the agency said.

The PFPA added Gonzalez was a Brooklyn native, a die-hard Yankees fan and a graduate of New York City’s Canarsie High School. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin extended his sympathies to Gonzalez’s loved ones and ordered flags at the Pentagon to be flown at half-staff. 

Pentagon Force Protection Agency chief Woodrow Kusse said the incident would likely spur a security review at the Pentagon. 

“There are a number of measures that we have in place out there. Every time an incident occurs, whether it’s here or anywhere else across the nation or in the world, we do after-action (reports) on those, we examine them, we look for things that we can do to improve,” Kusse said.

The transit center will resume normal operations Wednesday, the PFPA said in a tweet.

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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