Gunfire hit the Pentagon Tuesday morning, shattering two windows and setting off a search for the culprit, Pentagon officials said.
At 4:55 am a Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer reported hearing five to seven shots fired from the south parking lot, near I-395. Several off ramps lead into the parking lot, which also feeds nearby business in Arlington, Va.
Officials closed off access to the entire building and reservation to investigate, conducting two sweeps of the area.
“We did take prompt action in immediately closing down the reservation,” said Steven Calvery, PFPA director. The building was reopened at 5:40am.
Two bullet fragments are being recovered Tuesday morning from shattered windows on the third and fourth floors of the outer ring, according to Calvery. The damaged windows, which are believed to be bulletproof, were discovered during an internal search that began at 6:20am.
Those offices were unoccupied, as much of the south side of the Pentagon’s outer ring is under renovation. Calvery said the fragments likely were from a rifle shot, but ballistics confirming their size were unknown at this point.
Law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Virginia State Police, and Arlington County Police are aiding the investigation, which still includes parts of adjacent I-395, though no shell casings yet had been found, officials said.
……“Right now, we consider this a random event,” he said.
Calvery said officials were collecting video surveillance from the Pentagon and other vantages in nearby Pentagon City, a shopping and office complex on the opposite side of the highway from the Pentagon. Meanwhile, officers are continuing to search parts of interstate 395, including its HOV lanes, which were shut down intermittently. Nearby rooftops also were being searched.
The south side of the Pentagon has a third floor entrance that is open 24 hours a day for employees walking up from its largest parking lot. Throughout the day, high foot traffic to the Pentagon City area shops and defense-related businesses and government offices crosses across the parking lot and through a pedestrian tunnel under I-395.
“Right now there is a lot of police presence in that area,” Calvery said. “We have a very high profile out there right now. We are still evaluating whether or not we need to do anything additional to ensure security of the Pentagon, but right now we think our protective measures are adequate.”
In the past few weeks, the Pentagon also stepped up security at the Metro entrance in direct response to the March 4 shooting that left two officers wounded and killed gunman John Patrick Bedell. Officials at the time called that lone gunman episode a “wake up call” to a building usually focused on preventing a terrorist attack. Officers now check building IDs of people arriving at one of four check points set further away from the outer doors of the building. Previously all visitors and employees funneled through just one checkpoint at that entrance, which is adjacent to a major Metro bus depot for Virginia commuters connecting to the Metro rail’s yellow and blue lines below the building.
Looks like there’s another wackjob out there using military facilities for target practice.
I hope they catch the sonofabitch before he actually kills or injures someone.