Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) police officer George Gonzalez was killed Tuesday in a surprise, unprovoked attack by a knife-wielding assailant. The suspect attacked and killed the officer as soon as he exited a bus at the Pentagon bus stop, then killed himself with officer Gonzalez’s service pistol.
The FBI Washington Field Office stated in a tweet that Gonzalez was stabbed and killed “without provocation.”
At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3, an individual exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center in Arlington, VA, and immediately, without provocation, attacked @PFPAOfficial (PFPA) Officer George Gonzalez with a knife, severely wounding him.
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) August 4, 2021
The suspect was identified as Austin William Lanz, 27, from Acworth, Georgia. According to the FBI, during the struggle with Gonzalez, Lanz shot himself with the officer’s weapon.
The FBI added that other officers “engaged the subject,” and Lanz died at the scene. A bystander was injured during the incident but was released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
While Gonzalez was likely wearing body armor (Kevlar vest), the attacker apparently stabbed him in the neck, according to some early reports.
Gonzalez, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, was a Senior Officer with three years of service with the PFPA. Gonzalez also previously served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBP), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
“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.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his sympathies to the Gonzalez family and ordered flags at the Pentagon to be flown at half-staff.
On behalf of the George Gonzalez/Rubert family:
"We are heartbroken over the death of our son and brother, but we are so very very proud of the life he lived. George devoted his life to serving his country; first in the military, and then, as a law enforcement officer,
— Pentagon Force Protection Agency (Official) (@PFPAOfficial) August 4, 2021
USA Today reported that PFPA Chief Woodrow Kusse said the incident should 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.
Investigators are still attempting to identify a potential motive for the attack, but some indications show that Lanz was emotionally disturbed. ADN