Austin William Lanz, Pentagon Shooting Suspect: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Austin William Lanz, 27, of Acworth, Georgia, was identified as the suspect accused of fatally stabbing a Pentagon police officer at a metro station just steps away from the Pentagon on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, law enforcement told The Associated Press. Three people were injured, including the Pentagon police officer, who later died, officials said. Lanz was killed by gunfire during the attack, according to the outlet.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the U.S. military in Arlington, Virginia, located near Washington, D.C.

Police allege Lanz attacked the Pentagon police officer, stabbing him on the Metrobus platform outside the Pentagon Metro station at about 10:30 a.m. This prompted a lockdown at the Pentagon. The slain police officer has not yet been identified.

Less than two hours after the stabbing and shooting, the lockdown was lifted. Pentagon Force Protection Agency Chief Woodrow Kusse held a brief press conference four hours after the incident and said there was no threat to the public. Very few details were released at the time.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Lanz Was a 27-Year-Old Georgia Man & He Was Shot & Killed By Police

GettyWith the Washington Monument rising in the background, emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims outside the Pentagon on August 3, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.

The Associated Press reported that Lanz “ambushed” the fallen officer, citing sources who said Lanz “ran at him and stabbed him in the neck. Responding officers then shot and killed Lanz.”

According to The Washington Post, Kusse “repeatedly deflected reporters’ questions about what had happened” in the incident during the Tuesday afternoon press conference, but he did say that “gunfire was exchanged,” the Associated Press reported.

Early reports indicated that the suspect may have entered a railcar and could be headed north toward Maryland, but law enforcement later said the suspect was shot and killed on the scene. Some reports also indicated a manhunt was underway for a suspect wearing a white T-shirt with a red stain on it. Kusse said some early reports were inaccurate.

FOX 5 News reported that at the time of the incident, Department of Defense employees received an electronic warning on their computers and heard an overhead announcement telling all Pentagon personnel to stay inside because of police activity.

2. Lanz Enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012 but Was ‘Administratively Separated’ Within 1 Month

GettyEmergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a mass transit station outside the Pentagon on August 3, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.

The Associated Press reported that in October 2012, Lanz enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps but according to the Corps “was administratively separated less than a month later and never earned the title Marine.”

Metrorail Info issued statements alerting passengers to diverted traffic around the Pentagon, delays, closed stations and other changes to service due to the police investigation. Law enforcement searched trains, investigating the possibility of a suspect entering a rail car, early reports indicated.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House when the shooting occurred, according to WBALTV.

The news outlet reported that in 2010, two police officers with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency were injured when a gunman, later identified as John Patrick Bedell, approached them at a security screening area. The officers returned gunfire, killing Bedell. The police officers survived their injuries.

3. Lanz Was Arrested & Charged With Assault on a Police Officer in Cobb County, Georgia, in April

Court records in Cobb County, Georgia, indicate Lanz was arrested in April 2021 and charged with criminal trespass and burglary. A separate set of charges was filed against him the same day, which included two counts of aggravated battery on police, a count of making a terrorist threat and a charge for rioting in a penal institution, court records indicate.

Lanz’s court records show a judge reduced his bail amount to $30,000 in May 2021, setting conditions that included prohibiting him from using illegal drugs and ordering a mental health evaluation. The case was still pending when Lanz died, court records show.

Independent journalist Dave Statter was in the area when he heard shots ring out at the metro station and saw a body on the ground, he wrote on Twitter. He shared videos from the scene, which showed Pentagon police attempting to revive two victims who were shot at the upper level of the transport station.

“This video is at 10:49 am as Pentagon police work on the two people down near the Metrobus at the Pentagon transit center,” he wrote on Twitter.

Statter told he heard “at least a dozen shots.” He shared video that shows police covering a body with a white sheet near a Metrobus and officers surrounding another person with guns drawn.

Two Associated Press reporters were in the area at the time and one reported hearing multiple gunshots, followed by a pause, and then at least one additional gunshot. Another reported hearing police yelling “shooter.”

4. Law Enforcement Officials Gathered Outside the George Washington University Hospital to Escort the Slain Officer’s Body

Reporters described a somber scene as members of law enforcement gathered outside Geroge Washington University Hospital, where the Pentagon police officer was taken after being fatally stabbed in the August 3 incident. Police saluted and provided an escort for the fallen officer.

“Somber moment outside GW University Hospital, where sources tell us a police officer was taken after some sort of attack outside The Pentagon,” reporter Brian Sasser wrote on Twitter.

Victoria Sanchez of 7News DC also described the scene outside the hospital.

“A solemn feeling at the Pentagon,” she wrote on Twitter. “We don’t know officially that an officer passed away, but the police escort is a tradition and sad sign that someone in law enforcement died.”

On behalf of everyone working at the Pentagon, and across the @deptofdefense, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the @PFPAOfficial Officer who died as a result of injuries he received this morning. (1/5)

— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) August 3, 2021

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement and said flags would be flown at half staff at the Pentagon in tribute to the fallen officer.

“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,” his statement said. “This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make. We are forever grateful for that service and the courage with which it is rendered.”

5. The FBI Is Leading the Investigation & Officials Are Digging Into Lanz’s Background to Determine a Motive in the Attack

GettyEmergency first responders work at the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at a public transit station outside the Pentagon on August 3, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.

Investigators have not yet released any information on a motive behind the shooting. The FBI is leading the investigation, officials said in a press conference. The Associated Press reported that to determine a motive, investigators were looking into Lanz’s background and any history of mental illness to determine “any reason he might want to target the Pentagon or police officers.”

The lockdown at the Pentagon lasted for about two hours before the Department of Defense issued a statement saying the area was secure but remained a crime scene.

NEW: The officer killed today outside the Pentagon was ambushed & stabbed in the neck by the suspect, Austin Lanz, 27, of Georgia, sources say. Lanz enlisted in the Marine Corps in October ’12 but was “administratively separated” less than a month later.

— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) August 3, 2021

“The scene of the incident is secure. It is still an active crime scene,” the Pentagon Force Protection Agency wrote on Twitter. “We request that everyone stay away from the Metro rail entrance and bus platform area. Transportation at the Pentagon is diverted to Pentagon City.”

Minutes later, the DOD agency wrote on Twitter that the lockdown had been lifted.

“The Pentagon has lifted the lock down and has reopened,” the statement said. “Corridor 2 and the Metro entrance remains closed. Corridor 3 is open for pedestrian traffic.”