WASHINGTON: A police officer was killed and several other people were injured in an attack outside the Pentagon on Tuesday (Aug 3), forcing the building to go briefly into lockdown, officials said.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency said an officer had been killed at a public bus stop outside the building in Arlington, Virginia, but the cause of death was not released.
Chief Woodrow Kusse, head of the Pentagon's police force, told reporters several people were injured in the incident.
Kusse declined to speculate on a motive for the attack or to say whether the assailant was in custody, but added that authorities were not actively looking for one.
He said the FBI was assisting in the investigation.
"I have ordered to half-mast the flags flown on the Pentagon Reservation in honor of his loss," US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
The facility, the headquarters of the US military, was temporarily placed on lockdown.
"The Pentagon currently is on lock down due to an incident at the Pentagon Transit Center. We are asking the public to please avoid the area," the Pentagon's security force said in a tweeted statement.
The lockdown was lifted about an hour after the initial announcement.
The Arlington County Fire Department reported “multiple patients”, but it was not immediately clear if they had been shot and the extent of their injuries were unknown.
The incident occurred on a Metro bus platform that is part of the Pentagon Transit Center, the Pentagon Protection Force Protection Agency tweeted. The facility is just steps from the Pentagon building, which is in Arlington County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington DC.
An Associated Press reporter near the building heard multiple gunshots, then a pause, then at least one additional shot.
Another AP journalist heard police yelling “shooter”.
A Pentagon announcement said the facility was on lockdown due to “police activity”.
The agency responsible for security at the building, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, tweeted shortly before noon that the scene of the incident was secure.
The lockdown was lifted except for the area around the crime scene.
Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were at the White House meeting with President Joe Biden, at the time of the shooting.