Police Officer Fatally Stabbed At Pentagon Transit Facility WASHINGTON, DC — A police officer was fatally stabbed Tuesday morning by a Georgia man during a burst of violence at the mass transit center that serves the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C.
Around 10:37 a.m., a Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer was stabbed on the platform of the Pentagon Transit Center and an exchange of gunfire occurred, according to PFPA Chief Woody Kusse, during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Officials quickly put the Pentagon on lockdown and multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene after receiving reports of the sound of gunfire coming from the area of the transit center.
PFPA later confirmed that it was one of the agency’s own officers who was fatally stabbed at the transit center, according to a post on the department’s official Twitter account.
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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Officer’s family. Additional info on the officer will be forthcoming, following full next of kin notification,” the tweet said.
The assailant, who was identified Tuesday night by multiple law enforcement officials as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia, was shot by law enforcement officers and died at the scene, the Associated Press reported.
Lanz ambushed the officer, stabbing him in the neck, law enforcement officers told AP on the condition of anonymity. Responding officers then shot and killed Lanz.
Investigators are looking into Lanz’s background, including whether he had a history of mental illness or a motive for targeting the Pentagon or police officers.
AP quoted a U.S. Marine Corps statement that said Lanz had enlisted in the corps in October 2012, but was “administratively separated” less than a month later, meaning he never earned the title of Marine.
Related: Cobb Man Who Fatally Stabbed Pentagon Officer Had Troubled Past
Online court records say that Lanz was arrested in April in Cobb County, Georgia, on criminal trespassing and burglary charges, AP reported. On the same day, six additional charges were filed against him, including two counts of aggravated battery on police, one count of making a terrorist threat, and another count of rioting in a penal institution, according to AP.
Lanz was released in May after a judge reduced his bond to $30,000, AP reported. The release included conditions that Lanz not ingest illegal drugs and that he would undergo a mental health evaluation.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III ordered all flags at the Pentagon to fly at half-mast in honor of the officer.
“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. We are forever grateful for that service and the courage with which it is rendered.”
Austin also expressed his concern’s for the officer’s family and asked that the investigation into the incident to continue unimpeded without speculation.