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3 Aug, 2021 15:13

Pentagon officer KILLED in ‘stabbing & shooting’ incident at transit center, suspect ‘neutralized’

Pentagon officer KILLED in ‘stabbing & shooting’ incident at transit center, suspect ‘neutralized’

A police officer was killed in a stabbing attack at the Pentagon bus and rail transit center, which caused the US Defense Department to go into lockdown. Reports said the suspect was fatally shot.

The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia – the headquarters of the US Department of Defense – was put into lockdown due to “an incident” at the facility’s Metro station, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) said in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

Initial reports suggested that several people, including a police officer, were injured by gunshots fired inside the transit center. However, AP sources later said that the officer was not shot, but stabbed in the neck in an ambush-style attack.

The attacker was shot and "neutralized" by another Pentagon police officer, and did not make it inside the military headquarters, according to a Politico reporter, who also cited sources with the PFPA.

Later in the day, local media showed a motorcade departing the George Washington University hospital, suggesting that the injured officer passed away. US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) mourned the officer's death "in a senseless act of violence," in a tweet expressing his condolences to the victim's family, friends and colleagues. 

Police in nearby Fairfax, Virginia also marked the officer's death, tweeting “We mourn with law enforcement agencies near and far after the tragic loss of a [PFPA] officer today.”

Pentagon Force Protection Agency chief Woodrow Kusse offered few other details of the incident, saying only that “gunfire was exchanged” and that “there were several casualties.” 

“The scene is safe and secure on the Pentagon reservation,” Kusse told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, adding that the PFPA was “not actively looking for another suspect at this time.” He said he did not want to “compromise the ongoing investigation,” but did note that the FBI would assist the probe.

The bureau issued a brief statement of its own later on Tuesday, confirming there is “no ongoing threat to the public” but adding that it “would be premature to speculate on motive.”

In videos posted online, police and emergency response vehicles can be seen rushing towards the Metro station, which is just meters away from the Pentagon building. A reporter for Newsy said that sniffer dogs were deployed at the site to sweep for any possible explosive material.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Washington Field Division, also confirmed that they were responding to the “shooting” incident near the Pentagon.

An announcement at the Pentagon itself said that the lockdown was due to “police activity.” Subway trains were ordered to bypass the station so that the police operation could continue unhindered.

In a tweet just before noon local time (4pm GMT), the PFPA confirmed that “the scene of the incident is secure” and the lockdown was lifted soon after. The agency added that the facility was still an active crime scene and requested people stay away from the Metro rail entrance and bus platform area. 

Both Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, were at the White House for a meeting with President Joe Biden at the time of the gunfire, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. Austin later returned to the Pentagon, where he spoke with officers in the facility’s police operations center.

Though the Pentagon lockdown has been lifted, the transit center remains largely closed down for investigation into the incident, causing major transportation disruptions to the Washington, DC area. Two metro rail lines have suspended service, while a major transfer station inside the capital remains closed. Several bus routes have been disrupted as well, including the one serving Dulles International Airport.

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