The Pentagon police officer who was killed after an assailant stabbed him in the neck at a subway station outside Defense Department headquarters was identified on Wednesday as George Gonzalez, a New- Native Yorker who had previously served in Iraq.
Gonzalez joined the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as a police officer on July 22, 2018. A veteran of the military and police, he previously served in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Transportation Security Administration and the US military.
He received the Army Medal of Honor for his service in Iraq. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he was a die-hard Yankees fan, the Pentagon Protection Agency said in a statement. He graduated from Canarsie High School in New York City.
“As a Pentagon police officer, he took to heart our mission to ‘protect those who protect our nation’,” the agency said. “He was promoted twice and reached the rank of senior officer in 2020. A gregarious officer, he was appreciated and respected by his fellow officers.
“Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others,” the statement continued. “As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger. Officer Gonzalez’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.”
PENTAGON POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN ATTACK OUTSIDE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT HQ
The subway hub outside the Pentagon remained closed early Wednesday as numerous questions still surround an explosion of violence that occurred there a day earlier that left the officer dead after being stabbed in the neck and a suspect killed by gunfire from the police.
More than 100 officers lined up outside the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday, before members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department, US Parks Police and the Pentagon Protection Agency were ordered to come to attention around 1:30 p.m. to greet a black transport van as it drove slowing out of the parking lot, Fox 5 DC reported. A procession of police followed to pay tribute to the deceased officer.
The FBI is investigating. Authorities have not formally identified the suspect who allegedly stabbed the officer in the neck in an ambush-style attack on a bus platform shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. But the Associated Press identified the assailant as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia.
“Shots were exchanged” at the platform, killing “several people,” said Woodrow Kusse, the head of the Pentagon’s Force Protection Agency, who is responsible for security at the facility, on Tuesday. . The officers who responded then shot and killed Lanz. No potential motive has been announced.
Fox 5 DC has reported that two passers-by may also have been injured by gunfire. Speaking in the only public address since the incident so far, Kusse also said on Tuesday afternoon that the Pentagon compound was secure and “we are not actively looking for another suspect at this time.”
Lanz was arrested in April in Cobb County, Ga., On charges of criminal trespassing and burglary, The Associated Press reported, citing court records online. On the same day, another criminal case was filed against Lanz with six additional counts, including two counts of aggravated bodily harm against the police, one count of terrorist threat and one charge of rioting in a prison, according to the files.
A judge reduced his bond in May to $ 30,000 and released him, imposing certain conditions on him, including that he not ingest illegal drugs and that he undergo a mental health assessment. The charges against him were still classified as pending. A spokesperson for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Lanz had previously been held at the agency’s detention center, but referred all other matters to the FBI’s field office in Washington.
Lanz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in October 2012, but was “administratively separated” less than a month later and never earned the title of Marine, the Corps said in a statement. .
The Pentagon’s Force Protection Agency issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the loss of the still-unidentified officer, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin offered his condolences and said the Pentagon flags will be hoisted at half mast.
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“This deceased officer died in the line of duty, helping to protect the tens of thousands of people who work at the Pentagon – and who visit – daily,” Austin said in a statement. “This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make. We are forever grateful for this service and the courage with which it is rendered.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.