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

Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez killed outside the Pentagon on Aug. 3, 2021. (Department of Defense/Released)

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, whom authorities identified as George Gonzalez, died after a suspect exited a bus and stabbed him “without provocation,” according to a tweet from the FBI Washington Field Office.

Investigators identified the suspect as Austin William Lanz, 27, from Acworth, Georgia. During the struggle with Gonzalez, the FBI said, Lanz shot himself with the officer’s weapon.

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

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

Investigators examined Lanz’s background, including his criminal history, jail records, financial information and any online accounts, trying to identify a potential motive for the attack.

Family mourned Gonzalez in a statement tweeted by The Pentagon Force Protection Agency: “George devoted his life to serving his country … He was one of the good guys with a big heart, and we will miss him always. We ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with the tragic and sudden loss.”

Gonzalez joined the PFPA in July 2018 and was promoted to the rank of senior officer in 2020, according to the agency. 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.

“He took our mission of ‘protecting those who protect our nation’ to heart,” the PFPA said. The agency 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 said 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.

PFPA Chief Woodrow Kusse said the incident would probably 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.


(c) 2021 USA Today

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