The Pentagon Force Protection Agency has identified the officer who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday near the Pentagon.
Officer George Gonzalez was an Army veteran who was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq, the agency said Wednesday morning. He was from Brooklyn, New York, and joined the Pentagon police force in 2018.
“As we mourn the loss of Officer Gonzalez, our commitment to serve and protect is stronger. Officer Gonzalez’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace,” the agency said in a statement.
Gonzalez was promoted twice and attained the rank of senior officer in 2020, the agency said. He previously served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Transportation Security Administration. He was a die-hard Yankees fan.
“A gregarious officer, he was well-liked and respected by his fellow officers,” the agency wrote.
Gonzalez was part of a close-knit family spread out along the East Coast and in Puerto Rico.
“George was a very humble young man. He was a man of service,” a cousin in Prince William County, Virginia, told Telemundo 44. “He always wanted to serve the country, and at least we have the comfort that he passed doing what he liked to do, which was defending his country.”
He loved sports, playing pool and his family, the relative said.
Family members said they were making funeral arrangements.
Gonzalez died after being stabbed during a burst of violence at a transit center outside the Pentagon.
The FBI said in an update Wednesday that the attacker got off a bus, immediately stabbed Gonzalez and then shot himself with the officer’s gun.
The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. military, was temporarily placed on lockdown after a man attacked the officer on a bus platform shortly after 10:30 a.m. The ensuing violence, which included a volley of gunshots, resulted in “several casualties,” said Woodrow Kusse, the chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which is responsible for security at the facility.
The deaths of the officer and the suspect were first confirmed by officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Officers from multiple departments honored their fallen colleague later Tuesday by lining the streets outside George Washington University Hospital in D.C. A casket draped in an American flag could be seen.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency issued a statement Tuesday confirming the loss of the officer, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his condolences. Flags at the Pentagon will be flown at half-staff.
“This fallen officer died in the line of duty, helping protect the tens of thousands of people who work in — and who visit — the Pentagon on a daily basis,” Austin said in a statement. “This tragic death today is a stark reminder of the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make. We are forever grateful for that service and the courage with which it is rendered.”
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.