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Old 08-04-2021, 11:10 AM
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Arrow Pentagon IDs officer killed in violence outside building; victim was Iraq War veteran

Pentagon IDs officer killed in violence outside building; victim was Iraq War veteran
By: Mike Glenn - The Washington Times News - 08-04-21

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This undated photo provided by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency shows Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez. On Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, Gonzalez died after being stabbed during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the Pentagon building, and a suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene. (Pentagon Force Protection Agency via AP).

The Pentagon‘s police force on Wednesday identified the officer who was fatally stabbed near the military facility the day before and said he was an Army veteran of the Iraq War.

Officer George Gonzalez was a native of New York, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said. He died after being stabbed about 10:30 a.m. at the Metro transit center, which connects the Pentagon complex with commuter bus and rail lines.

The suspect — identified as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia — was fatally shot by Pentagon officers who responded to the attack.

Unidentified law enforcement officials said the suspect ran toward Officer Gonzalez and stabbed him in the neck, the Associated Press reported.

Officer Gonzalez joined the Pentagon Force Protection Agency in July 2018. He was promoted twice and attained the rank of senior officer in 2020, officials said.

“As a Pentagon police officer, he took our mission of ‘protecting those who protect our nation’ to heart,” PFPA officials said. “A gregarious officer, he was well-liked and respected by his fellow officers.”

Before joining the Pentagon‘s police force, Officer Gonzalez served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Administration. The former soldier was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.

“Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others. As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger,” Pentagon officials said. “Officer Gonzalez‘s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was meeting with President Biden at the White House at the time of the attack. Mr. Austin visited the Pentagon police headquarters when he returned to the building.

“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,” Mr. 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.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement that he extends his deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Gonzalez.

The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation.

Pentagon officials wouldn’t say if the fatal attack might result in stepped-up security measures at the Pentagon. Tuesday’s incident wasn’t the first time a Pentagon police officer found himself in the line of fire.

In March 2010, John Patrick Bedell shot and wounded two Pentagon officers after they asked him for his identification at a security checkpoint outside the building. The officers, who survived the attack, returned fire. The assailant later died at George Washington University Hospital.

Note: Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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