Two police officers injured in Pentagon shooting incident

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Pentagon.
Image: US Military.

An armed man opened fire at an entrance to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Thursday at 6.40 p.m (0140 UTC), injuring two police officers, before being shot and killed by them. According to the officers, the man calmly approached an entrance to the building near the Metro station, pulled a gun from his coat pocket and opened fire at them. No one else was injured in the incident. The attacker has been identified as 36 year old John Patrick Bedell of Hollister, California. He was armed with two nine millimeter semiautomatic weapons and several magazines of ammunition and acted alone.

Chief of the United States Pentagon Police Richard S. Keevill conducted a press conference two hours after the incident. He said that the wounds to the two officers were not life threatening as the bullets just grazed them. The suspect was critically injured as he was not wearing a bullet-proof vest. The two officers were taken to George Washington University Hospital for treatment and were released few hours later. He praised Officers Jeffrey Amos and Marvin Carraway for acting "quickly and decisively to neutralize him as a threat" without hurting anyone else. Bedell died hours after being admitted in critical condition.

Keevill added, "About 6:40 tonight, a person came [to] the Pentagon ... area ... [and] appeared to be pretty calm. As the officers started to ask him for his pass ... he drew a weapon from his pocket and started shooting. ... He did not say anything." Keevill confirmed that the shooter was a American citizen but denied knowledge of any motive behind the shooting. He said, "We have a theory, but it's still a theory. It's going to take time to develop that."

Bedell's car was driven from California and more ammunition was found there. Keevill said there is a surveillance video showing the suspect that "pretty much confirms what we've been saying, that he acted alone." He has dismissed the possibility of Bedell being a terrorist.

An Internet posting has come forward where a user named JPatrickBedell argued that the 9/11 attacks and death (ruled a suicide by court of law) of Marine Col. James Sabow in Orange County in 1991 had been "cover-ups" and that he was determined to uncover the truth. In the same posting he protests strict US marijuana laws and has included links to a 2006 court case in Orange County where he was prosecuted for cultivating marijuana and resisting a police officer. Online Court records show the date of birth mentioned by the user JPatrickBedell matches that of the John Patrick Bedell. Bedell said in an online video, "The moral values of individuals and communities are increasingly attacked by a political system where deceit is routine and accepted and the only standard is power."

As the officers started to ask him for his pass ... he drew a weapon from his pocket and started shooting. ... He did not say anything

—Richard S. Keevill, Chief of Pentagon Force Protection Agency

Pentagon entrances were locked shortly after the shooting, during the evening rush hour but all were reopened with the exception of the Pentagon Metro entrance which is adjacent to the main entrance of the Pentagon in Virginia, across the Potomac River. Transit officials decided to close the busy Pentagon subway station for Friday as a part of the investigations.The Pentagon police department, the Arlington County Police Department, U.S. Secret Service and the FBI are investigating the incident.

The Pentagon has total five entrances: Mall Terrace Entrance façade, the River Terrace Entrance façade, the Concourse Entrance (or Metro Station) façade, the South Parking Entrance façade, and the Heliport façade.