FBI provides new details on deadly Pentagon attack
The man accused of killing a police officer with a knife outside the Pentagon on Tuesday exited a bus, “immediately” stabbed the officer and then shot himself with the officer’s gun, the FBI said Wednesday.
The agency said Austin William Lanz, 27, most recently of Acworth, Ga., got off a bus about 10:40 a.m. at the Pentagon Transit Center and “immediately, without provocation” attacked Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) officer George Gonzalez with a knife, severely wounding him.
“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,” the FBI’s Washington, D.C., office tweeted.
A civilian bystander was injured during the incident — which prompted a lockdown at the Pentagon — and was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The individual was later released, authorities said.
The FBI continues to investigate the incident.
NBC News reported that Lanz had recently been charged in Georgia with aggravated battery on police, making a terrorist threat and rioting in a penal institution after he was arrested in April outside Atlanta on criminal trespassing and burglary charges.
Cobb County, Ga., court records show that Lanz is accused of attacking a deputy “without warning” as he was being booked at the county jail.
Lanz reportedly dislocated the deputy’s thumb and broke his stun gun before attacking another deputy, chipping a bone in her knee and tearing her ACL, according to a criminal warrant cited by NBC.
He then “had to be restrained by multiple deputies,” who he challenged to a fight, the warrant said.
Lanz tried to join the Marine Corps in October 2012 but was “administratively separated” less than a month later, Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger told NBC.
The Pentagon on Wednesday released more details about the attack and of Gonzales, who had joined the building’s force in July 2018 and was promoted twice, attaining the rank of senior officer in 2020.
PFPA said in a statement that Gonzalez “took our mission of ‘protecting those who protect our nation’ to heart,” and was gregarious, well liked and respected by his fellow officers.
The PFPA later posted a statement from the Gonzalez family on its social media page stating that George Gonzalez loved his country.
"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, he continued to serve by protecting service members and citizens of this country," the family statement read.
"He had an infectious personality and was fiercely loved by his family and friends. He loved his country, his family, and the Yankees. He was one of the good guys with a big heart, and we will miss him always. We ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with the tragic and sudden loss."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered flags at the Pentagon to be flown at half-staff to honor Gonzalez.
Updated 5:40 p.m.