After an attack on a bus platform by a man claiming to be from the U.S. Military, the Pentagon, which is the headquarters, was placed temporarily on lockdown. Woodrow Kusse is the head of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency which oversees security at the facility.
Officials who weren't authorized to speak on the subject first confirmed the deaths of the officer as well as the suspect. They spoke to The Associated Press under anonymity. Fairfax County Police Department also sent condolences regarding the officer's passing. Officials believe that two witnesses were hurt.
Multiple law enforcement officers identified the suspect as Austin William Lanz (27), of Georgia.
According to two law enforcement officers, Lanz ran at the officer and stabbed him in his neck. Lanz was then killed by the responding officers. Lanz was then shot and killed by responding officers. Investigators are still looking into Lanz's past, including any possible mental illness or any reason why he might want the Pentagon or police officers to be targeted.
The investigation was not public and the officials spoke with The AP under oath.
Lanz had enlisted in U.S. Marine Corps October 2012, but was "administratively removed" less than a month later. He never received the title Marine, according to the Corps statement.
According to online court records, Lanz was taken into custody in April in Cobb County in Georgia on burglary and criminal trespassing charges. According to records, Lanz was also charged with six additional criminal charges. These included two counts of aggravated assault on police and one count of making terrorist threats.
In May, a judge reduced his bond to $30,000 and released him. However, some conditions were placed on him including the prohibition of illegal drug use and the need for a mental evaluation. He was still facing charges. Lanz was confirmed by a Cobb County Sheriff's Office spokesperson, but all questions were referred to the FBI's Washington field office.
Lanz was represented by an attorney in Georgia. He didn't respond to phone calls or emails seeking comment. Messages left at Lanz's Atlanta suburb of Acworth were also not returned.
The attack on Tuesday on a busy section of Washington's transportation system rattled nerves in a region already on high alert for potential intruders and violence outside federal buildings. This was especially after the Jan. 6 riot at Capitol.
Kusse refused to confirm the death of the officer or give any details about the violence or the number of victims at a Pentagon news conference. Kusse would only confirm that the officer was attacked and that there had been "gunfire."
Kusse, along with other officials, declined to rule out terrorist acts or give any other possible motive. Kusse stated that the Pentagon complex is secure and that he was not looking for any other suspects. He also said that the FBI was conducting the investigation.
Kusse stated, "I cannot compromise the ongoing investigation."
Although the FBI stated that they were investigating and that there was no ongoing threat to public safety, it declined to give details or suggest a motive.
Later Tuesday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency released a statement confirming the loss of the officer. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin offered his condolences, saying that flags will be flown at half-staff at the Pentagon.
Austin released a statement saying that the fallen officer was killed in the line-of-duty while protecting the Pentagon's tens of thousand visitors and employees. Austin said that today's tragic death is a stark reminder about the dangers they face as well as the sacrifices they make. We will always be grateful for the service and the courage it was rendered.
The violence took place on Tuesday at a Metro bus station that is part the Pentagon Transit Center. This center houses bus and subway lines. The station is located in Arlington County, Virginia just across from Washington.
A reporter from the Associated Press was near the building when he heard multiple gunshots followed by a pause and at least one more shot. Another AP journalist reported that police were shouting "shooter!"
The Pentagon announced that the facility was under lockdown. However, it was lifted at noon except for the area surrounding the crime scene.
Austin and Gen. Mark Milley (chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) were present at the White House at the time of shooting. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, said that Austin returned to the building to talk to officers at the Pentagon's police operations center.
It wasn't immediately clear if additional security measures would be implemented in the region.
Two officers from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency sustained injuries when a gunman approached their security screening area in 2010. They survived and opened fire on the gunman, John Patrick Bedell, who was fatally wounded.