Police have identified the officer who was killed during an attack Tuesday morning that took place at a transit station steps away from the Pentagon.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) on Wednesday identified the officer as George Gonzalez, 37, a US army veteran who joined the Pentagon force in 2018.
End of Watch Aug. 3, 2021.
Last night, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency observed End of Watch for Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez who was tragically killed yesterday during the incident at the Pentagon bus platform. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/lmTqIuqCir
— Pentagon Force Protection Agency (Official) (@PFPAOfficial) August 4, 2021
A native of Brooklyn, New York, and a “die-hard Yankees fan”, Gonzalez was promoted twice since becoming a Pentagon police officer and obtained the rank of senior officer in 2020, the agency said. Gonzalez was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for service in Iraq.
In a statement, defense secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences for Gonzales’s death.
“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,” Austin said in a statement. “He and his fellow officers are members of the Pentagon family, and known to us all as professional, skilled and brave. This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make.”
Gonzalez died Tuesday after being stabbed on a bus platform outside the Pentagon during a brief attack. A man, identified as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Georgia, ambushed Gonzalez and stabbed him in the neck. Two responding officers on the scene shot and killed Lanz. The PFPA confirmed that there were “several injuries” from the attack. Officials say that they believe two bystanders were also injured. The Pentagon was placed under a brief lockdown in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Officials have not provided details on the sequence of the attack or possible motive, saying they do not want to compromise the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Lanz enlisted in the Marines in October 2012 but was “administratively separated” from the corps a month later, according to the Associated Press.
He was arrested in April on charges of trespassing and burglary in an Atlanta suburb, according to court records. Documents say that when officers tried to book Lanz into a local jail, he attacked a deputy “without warning”, leaving two officers with minor injuries. He was later charged with two counts of battery against a police officer.