U.S. authorities on Wednesday identified the Pentagon police officer stabbed to death at a transit station outside the building the day before and were digging into the background of the troubled attacker, who also died at the scene.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency said the officer was George Gonzalez, a New York native and Army veteran who served in Iraq before joining the police force three years ago.
Law enforcement authorities identified his attacker as Austin William Lanz, 27, of the southern state of Georgia. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office tweeted that Lanz “exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center in Arlington, VA, and immediately, without provocation, attacked @PFPAOfficial Officer George Gonzalez with a knife, severely wounding him.”
The FBI tweeted that “a struggle ensued, in which the subject mortally wounded Officer Gonzalez and then shot himself with the officer’s service weapon. Other PFPA officers engaged the subject, who ultimately died at the scene.” A civilian bystander was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released. The FBI said the investigation was continuing.
Lanz enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 2012 but was "administratively separated" less than a month later and never earned the title Marine, the corps said in a statement.
In April, Lanz was arrested in Cobb County, Georgia, on criminal trespassing and burglary charges, according to online court records. Records show he was facing other charges in a separate case, including two counts of aggravated battery on police.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences about the police officer’s death and said 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 in a statement.
"This tragic death 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."