Police Officer Killed in Attack Outside Pentagon Was an Iraq War Veteran

George Gonzalez
George Gonzalez (Pentagon Force Protection Agency)

The Pentagon police officer killed by a knife-wielding assailant Tuesday was identified by the Defense Department as George Gonzalez, an Iraq War veteran.

Gonzalez, 37, was attacked at a bus platform outside the Pentagon on Tuesday morning. Law enforcement identified Austin Lanz, 27, of Georgia, as the perpetrator.

Lanz stabbed Gonzalez, and then shot himself with Gonzalez’s weapon, according to the FBI, before he was shot by other officers on the scene. A civilian bystander injured in the incident has since been released from medical care.

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Before becoming a cop at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Gonzalez, a native of Brooklyn, New York, was an artilleryman, serving as cannon crew member in the active-duty Army from April 2003 to November 2005.

"His life was one of service,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Wednesday. “A veteran of both the police and the military, he lost his life protecting those who protect the nation."

Gonzalez deployed to Iraq from August 2004 to July 2005. During that deployment, he earned a Combat Action Badge, according to an Army spokesperson. He also served in the Army Reserve from November 2005 to March 2011. He left the service with the rank of sergeant.

After his military service, Gonzalez served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Administration. He joined the Pentagon Force Protection Agency on July 22, 2018, according to a statement from the Defense Department.

Lanz enlisted in the Marine Corps on Oct. 9, 2012, but was booted from the force less than a month later, a service spokesman told Military.com. It's unclear what led to Lanz's quick dismissal.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, has not yet released key details about the incident, such as the motivation behind the attack or whether Lanz intended to enter the Pentagon.

The Pentagon police said the Metro station where the attack took place is expected to resume to normal operations Thursday morning.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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