“The Pentagon Force Protection Agency mourns the tragic loss of a Pentagon police officer killed in this morning’s Pentagon incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family. on the officer will be communicated, after full notification of the next of kin, “It said.
The exact circumstances of the shooting are still unclear, and Pentagon officials offered little clarity during a press briefing earlier Tuesday afternoon. Speaking to reporters, Pentagon Force Protection Agency chief Woodrow Kusse repeatedly declined to provide substantive details of what had happened and did not confirm or deny the information that an officer had died, citing an ongoing investigation.
Two law enforcement sources previously told CNN that an officer was shot dead in the incident. But later on Tuesday, a defense official familiar with the initial reports said the officer was stabbed by an assailant and other officers reacted quickly and shot the suspect.
“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the death in the line of duty of an @PFPAOfficial officer during today’s tragic events in the Pentagon. The men and women of MPD offer our condolences, thoughts and our prayers to PFPA for their loss and to the officer’s family and friends, ”he said.
Chief Woodrow Kusse told reporters at the briefing that an officer was attacked on a bus platform outside the building and the incident was over, with “no continuing threat” to the area.
“Shots were exchanged and there were several casualties,” he said. Although Kusse admitted that there were several injuries, he did not want to say if anyone was killed in the incident.
Kusse also said, after being pressed on several occasions by journalists, that the police “are not actively looking for another suspect at the moment”.
The “shooting event” occurred on the Pentagon compound’s bus platform and resulted in the building being locked down without personnel being allowed outside, according to a message sent to Pentagon employees by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
The lock has since been lifted, the agency said later Tuesday, tweeting: “The Pentagon has lifted the lock and has reopened. Hallway 2 and the metro entrance remain closed. Hallway 3 is open to traffic. pedestrian. ”
The event happened outside the building on the Metro Bus platform, which is a major entrance to the Pentagon used by thousands of people entering and exiting the building every day.
The bus platform is used by several bus lines in the area.
Earlier on Tuesday, Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman Chris Layman declined to comment on whether there was a gunman involved or whether people were injured, but Arlington Fire and EMS have tweeted that they “had met several patients” while responding to an “incident of active violence”. in the Pentagon metro area. The status of the patients was not immediately communicated.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, attended a daily President’s briefing and intelligence update meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House when the Pentagon incident happened, according to a defense official.
Austin has since returned to the Pentagon and visited the Pentagon’s police operations center following the shooting outside the building, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
“He was fortunate enough to visit the Pentagon Police Operations Center on his return, speak with them, and express his gratitude for all they are doing that day with this particular incident,” he said. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Austin released a statement on Tuesday in which he offered his condolences to the officer’s family, but did not explain the circumstances of his death.
“On behalf of everyone who works in the Pentagon and throughout the Department of Defense, I offer my deepest condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the Pentagon Force Protection Officer who passed away as a result injuries he suffered this morning, “he added. said the statement.
“I have ordered the flags of the Pentagon reserve to be half-masted in honor of his loss,” he added. “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 area where the incident took place is “still a very active scene” for investigators, the official said. Pentagon officials “will cooperate fully with local and federal authorities,” the official added. Austin remains on the sidelines for now “out of respect” for investigators who must work.
The reported shooting interrupted public transportation to the massive complex.
Subways and buses now bypass the area, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “We will continue to do this until we are notified that it is safe,” WMATA spokeswoman Sherri Ly told CNN.
The Pentagon is served by dozens of bus lines and the blue and yellow Metro rail lines. The station is the eighth busiest station in the DC metro system this year with more than 2,400 passengers boarding each day, up from an average of 15,000 per day before the pandemic.
This story has been updated with additional developments.