A Pentagon police officer has died after being stabbed multiple times in the neck outside the Pentagon Tuesday, officials familiar with the incident told NBC News.
Identified as George Gonzales, the officer has served as an officer in the Pentagon Force Protection Agency since 2018 and rose to the rank of senior officer in 2020.
Gonzales was a military and police veteran who previously served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Army. He also received an Army Commendation Medal for his services in Iraq.
He opened fire on the attacker after the attack began outside the entrance to the Pentagon’s metro, according to NBC News. The attacker was shot dead by the police, but it is not yet clear which officer killed the attacker.
At the time of the shooting, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were at the White House to meet President Joe Biden.
Austin expressed condolences for the officer’s death in a statement Tuesday, saying the flags on the Pentagon reservation would fly at half mast in honor of his loss.
“This fallen officer died on duty and helped protect the tens of thousands of people who work – and visit – the Pentagon every day,” Austin said in the statement.
“He and his fellow officers are members of the Pentagon family and are known to all of us as professional, competent, and brave. This tragic death today is a powerful reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make, ”he continued.
Milley also issued a statement Tuesday expressing condolences to the late officer’s family and commending him for his work.
“We are forever grateful for the professionalism, dedication and courage that he and each officer show to ensure the safety and well-being of all of us who serve in the Pentagon,” said Milley.
The Pentagon was locked down Tuesday morning after multiple shots were fired near the building, but reopened after more than an hour.
Woodrow Kusse, the chief of police for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, said at a press conference that “the incident resulted in multiple injuries,” but did not provide details.
Kusse said authorities are not actively looking for another suspect: “The incident is over, the scene is safe and most importantly, there is no ongoing threat to our community,” he said.
The FBI is investigating the incident as the reasons are still unknown.
“At this point it would be premature to speculate about motives, and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we cannot provide any further details at this time,” said a statement from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “There is no ongoing threat to the public.”
The incident took place on a subway bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, steps from the Pentagon building in Arlington County, Virginia.
“The Pentagon metro station is probably one of the busiest on the transportation system. It is a hub for commuters and building users, ”said Kusse at the press conference.
While the lockdown was being lifted, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency tweeted that the public should stay away from the subway entrance and bus platform as it is “still an active crime scene.”
Transportation in the Pentagon will now be diverted to Pentagon City, the agency added.
Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, expressed condolences on the official’s death in a Twitter post Tuesday.
“I am incredibly sad to hear of the death of a Pentagon police officer who was killed this morning in a senseless act of violence outside the Pentagon,” Warner wrote on Twitter.
“My heart goes out to the policeman’s family and friends and the entire Pentagon police force,” said Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Fairfax County Police also issued a statement regarding the death of the police officer.
The last time a significant incident occurred at the Pentagon Metro Center was in 2010, according to Kusse.
A gunman opened fire at the entrance to the Pentagon in March 2010 and wounded two officers from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. The officers who survived fatally shot the man shortly afterwards.