September 27, 2021

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Assailant in Pentagon police killing was booted out of Marines, recently arrested – CNBC

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This April 2021 image provided by the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office shows a booking photo of Austin Williams Lanz. On Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, a Pentagon police officer died after being stabbed during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the building, and a suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene.

Cobb County Sheriff’s Office via AP

The man who killed a Pentagon police officer this week was kicked out of the U.S. Marines and had recently been arrested in Georgia for several criminal charges, court records say. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday identified the man as Austin William Lanz, 27, of Acworth, Georgia. Lanz exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center Tuesday morning and immediately attacked Officer George Gonzalez, 37, without provocation, fatally stabbing him. 

Lanz then shot himself with the officer’s service gun and died at the scene after other officers engaged him, according to the FBI.  

Lanz enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 2012, but was “administratively separated” a month later, according to a statement from Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesman. 

In April of this year, Lanz was arrested in suburban Atlanta on burglary and criminal trespassing charges, according to Cobb County, Georgia court records. He faced an additional six charges on the same day he was arrested.

Lanz had forced himself into a private Atlanta residence with a crowbar on April 24, and was caught on camera leaving “inappropriate photographs and notes” in its mailbox on numerous occasions before his arrest, according to the court records. 

He also attacked two deputies “without warning” when he was being placed in the Cobb County detention center, according to the court records. Lanz tore one deputy’s ACL and chipped a bone in her knee, and dislocated another deputy’s thumb. 

He also damaged one of the deputy’s tasers “beyond repair,” the records said.

Lanz faced two charges of aggravated batter on police and one charge of criminal damage to property as a result. He had to be “restrained by multiple deputies” following the attacks, according to the court records.

Among the other charges he faced was making a terrorist threat and rioting in a penal institution, the court records say.

Lanz challenged the deputies to fight, calling them “gay” for ganging up on him and demanding that his restraints be removed so he could he fight them “one-on-one,” according to the court records.

A judge reduced his bond in May to $30,000 and released him, but imposed some conditions, according to the Associated Press. The conditions included that he undergo a mental health evaluation and not ingest illegal drugs.

A spokesperson for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Lanz had previously been held at the agency’s detention center, but referred all other questions to the FBI, the Associated Press reported.

Tuesday’s attack placed the Pentagon building on lockdown for more than an hour. One civilian bystander was also injured in the incident, but has since been released from the hospital, according to the FBI.

The Pentagon Transit Center will resume normal operations on Thursday, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said on Twitter.

Woodrow Kusse, the police chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, said at a press conference Tuesday that authorities are not looking for another suspect: “The incident is over, the scene is secure, and most importantly, there is no continuing threat to our community,” he said.

The FBI said on Wednesday that it was continuing its investigation into the attack.

Gonzalez, the police officer killed by Lanz, had served with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency since 2018 and attained the rank of senior officer in 2020. 

This undated photo provided by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency shows Pentagon Police Officer George Gonzalez. On Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, Gonzalez died after being stabbed during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the Pentagon building, and a suspect was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene.

Pentagon Force Protection Agency via AP

He was a military and police veteran that formerly served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration and United States Army.

Gonzalez also received an Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, offered condolences to his family during a Wednesday press briefing.

“His life was one of service,” Psaki said. “He lost his life protecting those who protect the nation.”

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency on Wednesday also posted a statement from the Gonzalez family on Twitter.

“We are heartbroken over the death of our son and brother, but we are so very very proud of the life he lived,” his family wrote in the statement.

“George devoted his life to serving his country; first in the military, and then, as a law enforcement officer, he continued to serve by protecting service members and citizens of this country.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling for Officer George Gonzalez

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