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Slain Pentagon Officer Was Stabbed Without Provocation, The FBI Says

George Gonzalez, an officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, died in the line of duty on Tuesday following a violent attack, officials said.
Pentagon Force Protection Agency
George Gonzalez, an officer with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, died in the line of duty on Tuesday following a violent attack, officials said.

Updated August 4, 2021 at 3:56 PM ET

The FBI says George Gonzalez, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer who was killed in Tuesday's violent incident at a Pentagon bus platform, was attacked without provocation.

Investigators report that Austin William Lanz, 27, most recently of Acworth, Ga., stepped off a bus and immediately lunged at Gonzalez. Lanz then got the officer's gun and shot himself, the investigators say.

"Other PFPA officers engaged the subject, who ultimately died at the scene," according to the FBI statement.

The slain officer had served in the Army

Gonzalez was a Brooklyn, N.Y., native and an Army veteran who served in Iraq,the PFPA said on Wednesday. The agency described him as gregarious and well-liked and said he was respected among his fellow officers.

After joining the force in 2018, he was twice promoted, eventually climbing to the senior officer rank last year. Gonzalez, whose merits in Iraq earned him an Army Commendation Medal, also worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Administration.

"Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others. As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger," the agency said. "Officer Gonzalez's family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace."

The fatal knife attack occurred at the transit stop near the U.S. military headquarters, in Arlington, Va., according to the Metro Special Police Department.

The Pentagon was placed on lockdown for about 90 minutes starting just before 10:40 a.m., after a man attacked Gonzalez near the bus stop. An exchange of gunfire ensued, Pentagon Police Chief Woodrow Kusse said on Tuesday, resulting in "several casualties."

The FBI statement says a civilian bystander was injured and treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The Defense Department honored the officer

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin offered his condolences later on Tuesday in a statement confirming the death of an officer and said that flags at the Pentagon would 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. "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."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Campbell