March 5, 2010
Shooting Near Pentagon Injures Two Officers
The Wall Street Journal is reporting
By Yochi J. Dreazen
WASHINGTON—Two Pentagon police officers were shot and wounded near the sprawling Defense Department headquarters, prompting authorities to temporarily lock down the building and sparking fears of a possible terrorist incident there.
The incident began Thursday evening when an unknown man walked towards the police officers guarding one of the entrances to the Pentagon, pulled a gun out of his pocket, and opened fire. The guards fired back, fatally injuring the shooter who died hours later in hospital, The Associated Press reported. Authorities believe the assailant had been trying to enter the building.
Richard Keevill, the chief of the civilian Pentagon police force, said the assailant appeared to be an American citizen but declined to identify the assailant or speculate about what may have motivated the assault. The Associated Press identified the shooter as John Patrick Bedell, 36 years old.
“He drew a gun and started shooting almost immediately,” Mr. Keevill said at a late night news conference outside the Pentagon. “There were no words spoken.”
Mr. Keevill praised his officers for preventing what could have been a far bloodier incident. He said the guards ensured that the gunman couldn’t enter the building, which was less than 20 yards away from where the shooting took place. The incident occurred near the Pentagon’s subway station, which is used by thousands of military personnel and civilian Pentagon employees every day.
“The officers acted very quickly and decisively to neutralize the threat and no one else was injured,” Mr. Keevill said.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the injuries to the two officers, who were also being treated at a local hospital, did not appear to be life threatening. Mr. Whitman said it was too early to know if the incident was an act of terrorism.
Concerns about the safety of U.S. military installations have been running high since a shooting at Fort Hood last November killed 13 troops and an earlier incident outside a Little Rock, Ark., recruiting station killed one soldier and badly wounded another.
In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s shooting, Pentagon authorities sealed all of the entrances and exits to the mammoth building, preventing many military and civilian officials from returning home. The closures were lifted after a short period of time.
Pentagon officials announced late Thursday that the subway and bus stations serving the building would be closed until further notice, making it significantly harder for the Pentagon’s military and civilian workforce to reach the building.
Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at firstname.lastname@example.org