WASHINGTON — After more than 24 hours of receiving little information on what exactly led to the death of two men at the Pentagon Metro Bus station Tuesday, the FBI Washington Field Office has concluded that the suspect in the attack shot himself using a Pentagon officer's gun.
According to the FBI, a man exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday and "immediately, without provocation, attacked" a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) officer, later identified as George Gonzalez, with a knife.
"A struggle ensued, in which the subject mortally wounded Officer Gonzalez and then shot himself with the officer’s service weapon," the FBI tweeted Wednesday. "Other PFPA officers engaged the subject, who ultimately died at the scene."
The suspect was identified as 27-year-old Austin William Lanz of Acworth, Georgia. While the FBI confirms Lanz died on scene, it’s not yet clear if his use of Officer Gonzalez’s gun — to shoot himself — caused his death or if he was also shot by responding officers.
According to the FBI, Lanz also shot Gonzalez with the officer's gun.
The Pentagon was on lockdown for more than an hour following the stabbing-turned-shooting incident. The FBI said that in addition to the officer and suspect who died during the attack, a civilian bystander suffered non-life-threatening injuries. They were taken to a hospital for treatment and later released.
According to the FBI, agents from the Washington Field Office responded to the incident along with Metro Police, Arlington Police and officers from the PFPA, including fallen officer Gonzalez.
Before his time at the Pentagon, Gonzalez served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Army. The military veteran was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq, authorities said. Gonzalez has been with PFPA since July 2018 and had recently been promoted to the rank of Senior Officer in 2020.
"Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others," PFPA said in a tweet. "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."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III ordered flags to be flown at half-mast to honor Gonzalez.
"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. "He and his fellow officers are members of the Pentagon family, and known to us all as professional, skilled and brave. This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make."
The Pentagon Transit Center remained closed Wednesday, due to an ongoing police investigation. All buses going to and leaving from PTC are being diverted to Pentagon City Metro until further notice. OmniRide Express buses will operate at a modified Emergency Service Plan (ESP) and will stop at Pentagon City at westbound Army Navy Drive and South Fern Street.
Normal operations will resume Thursday, Aug. 5.
This is not the first attack to happen at the Pentagon Transit Center. In 2010, police killed a gunman who injured two Pentagon Police officers. Police say John Bedell attacked two Pentagon police officers on March 4, 2010. He reportedly had two handguns and more ammo in his car, which was parked in a nearby garage.
Bedell allegedly approached a security checkpoint just after 6:30 p.m. and began shooting when he was asked for credentials. Two officers were injured and Bedell was killed by police.
In March 2020, another deadly stabbing happened inside the Pentagon Metro Station. The suspect in that case, Vincent Wilson, remains in jail awaiting trial for murder.