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Officer dead, suspect killed in violence outside Pentagon

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By AP
Police secure a parking lot outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington.
Police secure a parking lot outside the Pentagon Metro area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, at the Pentagon in Washington.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Cliff Owen
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An officer died after being stabbed Tuesday during a burst of violence at a transit station outside the Pentagon, law enforcement officials said.

A suspect in the incident was shot by law enforcement and died at the scene, officials said.

The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown after gunshots were fired Tuesday morning near the entrance of the building, A Pentagon police officer who was stabbed later died, according to officials who were not authorised to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The Arlington County Fire Department reported “multiple patients," but it wasn't immediately clear if they had been shot and the extent of their injuries was unknown.

The circumstances remained unclear even hours after the violence had ended. But the episode on a busy stretch of the Washington area’s transportation system jangled the nerves of a region already primed to be on high alert for violence and potential intruders outside federal government buildings, particularly following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

At a Pentagon news conference, Kusse declined to confirm that the officer had been killed or provide even basic information about how the violence had unfolded or how many might be dead. He would only say that an officer had been attacked and that “gunfire was exchanged.”

Kusse and other officials declined to rule out terrorism or provide any other potential motive. But, Kusse said the Pentagon complex was secure and "we are not actively looking for another suspect at this time.” He said the FBI was leading the investigation.

“I can’t compromise the ongoing investigation,” Kusse said.

The FBI issued a similar statement, confirming only that it was investigating and that there was “no ongoing threat to the public” but declining to offer details or a possible motive.

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.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. 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.

In 2010, two officers with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency were wounded when a gunman approached them at a security screening area. The officers, who survived, returned fire, fatally wounding the gunman, identified as John Patrick Bedell.