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Man who fatally stabbed Pentagon officer had troubled past

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 16:42:04-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal investigators are digging into the background of a Georgia man who officials say fatally stabbed a Pentagon police officer at a transit station outside the building before being shot and killed himself.

As officials seek clues behind the burst of violence Tuesday, details of the suspect's troubled recent past emerged through interviews and court records.

It included an arrest for a break-in at a neighbor's home and a months-long harassment campaign involving sexually explicit photos and messages.

FBI officials leading the investigation have not revealed any motive for why 27-year-old Austin William Lanz of Georgia ambushed 37-year-old officer George Gonzalez on a bus platform.

The "burst of violence" unfolded around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday when Lanz exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center and immediately stabbed Gonzalez unprovoked, the Associated Press reported.

The two then struggled, and Lanz was able to grab Gonzalez's gun and shoot himself with it. He later died at the scene, the AP reported.

Officials are unsure why Lanz chose the Pentagon, temporarily placed on a lockdown area for violence.

In a statement on Twitter, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency described Gonzalez as a "die-hard" Yankees fan who joined the police force in 2018.

"Officer Gonzalez embodied our values of integrity and service to others," the agency said. "As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger. Officer Gonzalez’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace."

Gonzalez, who served in the Amy, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.

Flags at the Pentagon would be flown at half-staff, the AP reported.