Austin Lanz, 27, has been identified as the knife-wielding attacker who killed a Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation released the first detailed information about 27-year-old Austin Lanz and his deadly attack on a Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer Tuesday.
The ambush-style attack has law enforcement searching for a motive, but it remains a mystery. In a series of tweets, the FBI said Wednesday that Lanz had arrived at the transit center via bus, exited the bus, and immediately attacked PFPA Officer George Gonzalez with a knife.
At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3, an individual exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center in Arlington, VA, and immediately, without provocation, attacked @PFPAOfficial (PFPA) Officer George Gonzalez with a knife, severely wounding him.
— FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) August 4, 2021
Lanz mortally wounded Gonzalez and then shot himself with the fallen officer’s service pistol. Nearby PFPA officers also shot at Lanz, but the FBI did not say whether those rounds hit him. Lanz was declared dead at the scene of the attack.
A civilian bystander received non-life-threatening injuries during the incident and was transported to a local hospital, treated, and released the same day. The FBI did not say what the bystander’s injuries were.
The Associated Press reported that Lanz, a resident of Georgia, had previously joined the US Marine Corps in October 2012 but never finished training and was “administratively separated.” Lanz did not earn the title of Marine before being discharged. Lanz also had an open case against him for multiple charges of violent crimes, including two counts of aggravated battery against police, according to the AP.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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