Senior Officer George Gonzalez of Brooklyn, New York, has been identified by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency as the Pentagon police officer killed during yesterday’s violent incident at the Pentagon bus platform.
Gonzalez, 37, was a three-year veteran of the Pentagon Police, according to the PFPA.
He was a veteran of both the military and law enforcement. Before joining the PFPA, Gonzalez served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Agency, according to a PFPA media release. Gonzalez also served in the Army, earning an Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.
Gonzalez served as a Cannon Crewmember (13B) in the Army from April 2003 to Nov. 2005, and in the Army Reserve from Nov. 2005 to March 2011, according to the Army. He deployed to Iraq from Aug. 2004 to July 2005. He was a sergeant at the time he left service.
Gonzalez’ awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
He joined the PFPA as a police officer on July 22, 2018. In just over three years of service with the Pentagon Police, Gonzalez was promoted twice, attaining his final rank of senior officer in 2020.
“We are heartbroken over the death of our son and brother, but we are so very very proud of the life he lived. 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,” his family said in a message posted on the PFPA Twitter account. “He had an infectious personality and was fiercely loved by his family and friends. He loved his country, his family, and the Yankees. He was one of the good guys with a big heart, and we will miss him always. We ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with the tragic and sudden loss.”
Gonzalez is remembered as a respected and well-liked member of the Pentagon Police with a gregarious nature , according to the PFPA.
“As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger,” according to the statement. “Officer Gonzalez’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.”
According to the FBI Washington Field Office, the incident began at approximately 10:40 a.m. Tuesday morning when an individual, identified by the Associated Press as 27-year-old Austin Lanz, exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center in Arlington County, Virginia, just steps from the Pentagon building.
Immediately after getting off the bus and without provocation, Lanz attacked and severely wounded Gonzalez with a knife. The two then struggled on the platform where Lanz mortally wounded Gonzalez and took his service weapon. While other PFPA Officers engaged Lanz, he shot himself with Gonzalez’s weapon.
The FBI reports that a civilian bystander also suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the incident. The civilian was taken to a nearby hospital and released later Tuesday.
The Pentagon was temporarily locked down during the incident. The PFPA announced Wednesday afternoon that normal operations will resume at the Pentagon at 5 a.m. Thursday.
Motivation for the attack is unknown, and the investigation is ongoing.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday evening offered his condolences for the slain officer.
“On behalf of everyone working at the Pentagon, and across the Department of Defense, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family, loved ones and colleagues of the Pentagon Force Protection Officer who died as a result of injuries he received this morning,” he said in a statement
James R. Webb is a rapid response reporter for Military Times. He served as a US Marine infantryman in Iraq. Additionally, he has worked as a Legislative Assistant in the US Senate and as an embedded photographer in Afghanistan.