A Pentagon police officer was killed and the Pentagon was in lockdown for several hours Tuesday following a confrontation that resulted in multiple casualties just outside the giant military office building Tuesday morning.
The officer, who has not been identified, worked for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, the department that oversees security at the Pentagon, and was killed in the incident at the entrance to the nearby Metro subway stop.
FBI agents from the Washington field officer are leading the inquiry into the shooting, which occurred about 10:30 a.m. at the Pentagon Transit Center, one of the largest transit hubs in the region and a key stop for commuters heading to and from the Virginia suburbs. In a statement, agents declined to speculate on a motive for the violent altercation but said there is no “ongoing threat” to the public.
“In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we cannot provide additional details at this time,” FBI officials said.
Onlookers were kept back as officers from several different law enforcement agencies could be seen at the Pentagon transit center, which has links to several different bus lines in addition to the Metro train system. A bus that had pulled into the station was surrounded by crime scene tape. The Metro trains passed the Pentagon station without stopping during the investigation and commuter buses were routed to other stops.
During a brief press briefing Tuesday afternoon, the chief of the Pentagon police, Woodrow Kusse, confirmed that one of his officers had been attacked on the bus platform.
“Gunfire was exchanged and there were several casualties,” Chief Kusse told reporters. “The incident is over and the scene is secure. Most importantly, there is no continuing threat to our community.”
Several firetrucks and other emergency vehicles responded to the shooting scene outside the Pentagon. The Arlington County Fire Department confirmed that it treated several people at the scene but declined to offer information about the conditions of the patients.
Chief Kusse said police were not looking for another suspect at the time. He declined to give any information as to the condition of anyone else involved in the altercation.
Chief Kusse wouldn’t say if terrorism might have been a motive for the attack or if the assailant had been attempting to enter the building. Several Pentagon police officers — some armed with automatic rifles — regularly patrol the front entrance to the building. Anyone coming inside must pass through multiple checkpoints where their Pentagon-issued identification cards are verified, both electronically and by a visual check. The rules have become even more stringent since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At this time, this is an ongoing investigation. It is still very active,” Chief Kusse said.
Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, said he was “incredibly saddened” to learn about the slain Pentagon officer, killed in what he called a “senseless act of violence.”
“My heart goes out to the officer’s family and friends, as well as the entire Pentagon Police force,” Mr. Warner wrote in a Twitter message.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was meeting with President Biden in the White House when he was informed of the exchange of gunfire outside the Pentagon, said chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
“He did have a chance to visit the Pentagon police operations center when he returned to check in with them and express his gratitude for everything they’re doing,” Mr. Kirby said.