VIA THE WASHINGTON POST:
The California man who calmly opened fire on two police officers at an entrance to the Pentagon Thursday appears to have acted alone and was not connected to any terrorist plot, Pentagon police chief Richard S. Keevill said.
The shooter, identified as 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell, was dressed in a business suit and carried two semiautomatic weapons and “many magazines” of ammunition, Keevill said. “He walked very directly to the officers and engaged,” Keevill said.
Officers Jeffrey Amos and Marvin Carraway were superficially wounded, one in the shoulder and one in the thigh. Both were treated at George Washington University Hospital in Northwest Washington and released. They and a third officer returned fire at Bedell, critically wounding him in the head, said Keevill, chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
Bedell died at George Washington University Hospital.
Federal law enforcement sources identified the guns allegedly used by Bedell as a Sturm 9mm and a Taurus 9mm. Investigators are tracing the origins of the weapons and checking to see whether Bedell had permits for them.
Keevill said police and the FBI are examining surveillance video that shows Bedell as he approached the Pentagon, and have tracked his road trip to the Washington area from California over the past several weeks. Investigators located his car at a nearby parking garage and impounded it, and are processing the evidence found inside — including more ammunition.
Police are looking at possible anti-government Internet postings by Bedell, Keevill said, and still trying to establish his motive for the attack at a doorway to the nation’s defense headquarters — one of the busiest, most prominent and closely guarded buildings in the Washington area.
“There are no indications at this point that there are any international or domestic connections to this incident at all,” Keevill said. “At this time it appears to be a single individual that had issues.”
No one else was injured in the incident, which police said unfolded in less than a minute.
Pentagon police spokesman Chris Layman said both Amos and Carraway have been with the force a little more than a year. Amos is a veteran of the Air Force, Layman said, while Carraway, of Clinton, is a former Marine.
Like all members of the Pentagon force, the officers completed a 22-week training course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center run by the Department of Homeland Security, Layman said. They were checking ID badges outside the Pentagon when they came under attack.
The shooting occurred at 6:40 p.m., near the end of rush hour. The Pentagon Metrorail station and transit center were shut down a few hours after the shooting and remained closed Friday morning, as investigators continued to search for evidence. Trains are passing through the station, officials said, but passengers have to board or disembark at the nearby Pentagon City station.
Throughout the morning rush Friday, shuttles ferried employees to the Pentagon from Pentagon City. By 8:30 a.m., Pentagon City parking lots were filling up, as a steady stream of mostly male workers in dark suits hiked across Interstate 395 to the massive, five-sided building. They carried black portfolios under their arms and tapped away on mobile phones and BlackBerrys as they negotiated this new twist in their morning commute.
The Pentagon parking lot also was open, and uniformed officers welcomed Defense Department employees as well as people picking up passengers in slug lines.
In the hours after the shooting, police sought to interview a man seen talking to Bedell on the surveillance video. But officials later said the second man was not thought to be involved.
“It is still an ongoing investigation; it is still very preliminary,” said Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “But at this time it appears to be one subject.”
A man who identified himself as John Bedell answered a call placed to a Hollister, Calif., home and said he had a 36-year-old son named John Patrick Bedell “who is in the Washington area.” The elder Bedell then said, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this,” and hung up.
President Obama was following the case and was being provided updates from the FBI, assistant White House press secretary Nicholas Shapiro said.
The gunman “was very well-dressed, in a suit. There was no indication of his possible intent,” Keevill said. “He was very calm; there was no stress in his appearance.”
As the gunman reached into his pocket, Amos and Carraway “assumed he was going to get his pass out,” Keevill said, referring to the identification card needed to enter the Pentagon. Instead, the man “came out with a gun” and started shooting.
Keevill said one of the wounded officers apparently heard the gunman say something before opening fire, but investigators have not yet interviewed the officer to clarify what was said.
“There wasn’t time to say anything to him,” Keevill said. “He drew a gun and started shooting almost immediately.”
In many ways, Thursday’s shooting seemed reminiscent of two attacks in Washington in the past dozen years. One was the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last year, in which a man with a gun walked up to the museum entrance and shot and killed a guard before the man was wounded. In another, an armed man shot and killed two Capitol Police officers at an entrance to the Capitol.
Keevill said the attack last year on the army base at Fort Hood, Tex., helped create the mind-set that prepared the Pentagon’s police force to respond quickly to the shooting. “The Fort Hood incident put us on notice,” Keevill said. “I am very proud of our officers. . . . They did exactly what they were trained to do.”
As pieced together from accounts given Thursday night, the attack occurred at an entrance linking the Pentagon to the Pentagon Station on the Metrorail system, which runs underground at that point. The spot normally teems with people, including Pentagon employees and other commuters who transfer to and from buses.
Police are routinely posted at the entrance as “the first line of defense” for the Pentagon, said Terrance P. Sutherland, chief spokesman for the Pentagon police.
“We’re lucky,” Keevill said. “We’re very fortunate that there were not more civilians” at the entrance at the time of the shooting.
The Pentagon’s security system worked as intended, officials said. The gunman was prevented from entering the building and injuring anyone at work inside.
“We train with some regularity to see we can do it very quickly, and we did it very quickly tonight,” Keevill said. At the Friday briefing, he said the police force’s procedures were effective, and he saw no reason to change them.
Investigators are still trying to determine the number of shots fired by the gunman, officials said. The number of shots fired by the officers was also not disclosed, but the total was described as high. The officers wore bullet-resistant vests. Bedell did not, Keevill said. Dozens of officers from many area jurisdictions, including the Arlington County and Pentagon police forces and some military personnel, converged on the Pentagon, directing traffic and using police dogs to search vehicles arriving at the south parking lot.
The Pentagon was briefly locked down. The Pentagon Metro station was closed shortly before 10 p.m. The Metrorail station has two banks of entryway escalators that lead to the underground station, with one of the Pentagon building’s entrances located between the rail station’s entrances, according to Metro.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the Defense Department completely rebuilt the Metro entrance to the Pentagon for security reasons.
Previously, a single escalator connected the Metro platform to the Pentagon entrance. After the 9/11 attacks, the escalator was closed and the old entrance walled off. Today, a new elevator leads outside. Pentagon workers must pass through a large stone entrance. Outside the main doors two guards sit behind bulletproof glass barriers and check identification cards. Inside the building beyond a set of turnstiles is another guard, armed with a rifle.
In 2005, Officer James Feltis became the first Pentagon force officer killed in the line of duty. He was dragged by a Cadillac stolen by a carjacker who was fleeing Alexandria police and entered a Pentagon parking lot, where Feltis tried to stop him.