On Wednesday the Pentagon identified Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez, a U.S. Army veteran, as the officer killed in an attack outside the building a day earlier.
“Last night, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency observed End of Watch for Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez who was tragically killed yesterday during the incident at the Pentagon bus platform,” Pentagon Force Protection Agency announced in an email to American Military News.
The Pentagon went into a lockdown on Tuesday amid reports of an incident at the building’s bus platform. On Tuesday afternoon, Pentagon Police Chief Woodrow Kusse said only that a Pentagon police officer “was attacked” on the metro platform, and an exchange of gunfire followed. Kusse confirmed “several injuries resulted from the incident,” but did not provide additional details.
The Associated Press reported the suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene.
Multiple law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia, the Associated Press reported. According to two of the law enforcement officials, Lanz ran at and stabbed Gonzalez in the neck. Responding officers then reportedly shot and killed Lanz.
Investigators are trying to determine a motive for the attack and were looking into whether Lanz had any potential history of mental illness or a reason he might target the Pentagon or its police officers.
Gonzalez was a native of Brooklyn, New York and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) described him as a “die-hard Yankees fan.”
Prior to serving at the Pentagon, Gonzalez graduated from New York City’s Canarsie High School. Gonzalez served previously with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration, and United States Army and he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.
Gonzalez joined the PFPA as a police officer on July 22, 2018.
“As a Pentagon Police officer, he took our mission of ‘protecting those who protect our nation’ to heart,” the PFPA said. “He was promoted twice and attained the rank of Senior Officer in 2020. A gregarious officer, he was well-liked and respected by his fellow officers.”
“Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others,” PFPA added. “As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger. Officer Gonzalez’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.”
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also said, “On behalf of everyone working at the Pentagon, and across the Department of Defense, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the Pentagon Force Protection Officer who died as a result of injuries he received this morning.”