Pentagon confirms “several casualties” after attack on police officer

Washington — The Pentagon’s police chief said Tuesday that a Pentagon police officer was attacked on the Metro bus platform outside the building and gunfire was exchanged in an incident that resulted in “several casualties” and prompted an hour-long lockdown of the building.

Woodrow Kusse, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency’s chief of Pentagon Police, told reporters during a press briefing the attack occurred around 10:37 a.m., and officers were alerted by a radio call that an “incident was underway.”

The encounter, which Kusse said resulted in “several casualties,” caused the Pentagon to go into lockdown for roughly an hour because of what the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said was a “shooting event” near the building’s Metro transit center.

The incident, Kusse said, is over, and “most importantly, there is no continuing threat to our community.” The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack.

“The Pentagon and the Pentagon reservation are safe and secure,” he said.

Law enforcement officers patrol the entrance of the Pentagon on August 3, 2021. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Kusse declined to provide further details on the casualties or confirm reports a Pentagon police officer had died. He also did not provide information on the suspect, whose identity is unknown, including whether the person was attempting to enter the Pentagon. Law enforcement is “not actively looking for another suspect at this time,” Kusse said.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency asked members of the public just after 11 a.m. to avoid the area, and the Arlington County Fire Department said on Twitter its units were “responding to a reported active violence incident” near the Pentagon’s Metro stop. Arlington County first responders encountered “multiple patients,” the fire department said.

Warnings sounded on intercoms throughout the facility telling all those inside to remain indoors “due to police activity outside.” 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley were not at the Pentagon during the time of the incident, a U.S. defense official said, but were at the White House for a regularly scheduled meeting.

About an hour after the Pentagon Force Protection Agency announced the lockdown, citing “an incident at the Pentagon Transit Center,” the agency said the “scene of the incident is secure” but remains an active crime scene. 

“We request that everyone stay away from the Metro rail entrance and bus platform area,” it said on Twitter.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency announced just before 12:15 p.m. that the lockdown was lifted and the facility reopened.