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Shooting at Pentagon entrance leaves 2 police officers hurt, lone gunman dead

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The officers and the suspect were taken to George Washington University Hospital, and the suspect was in Pentagon police custody. The Associated Press said sources identified the shooter as as 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell.

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Pentagon shooting, March 2010, Metro, map, John Patrick Bedell
By Allison Klein, Clarence Williams and Martin Weil
Friday, March 5, 2010

An armed man walked up to an entrance to the Pentagon on Thursday evening, approached two police officers, calmly pulled a gun from his coat pocket and opened fire, wounding the officers before they shot him. The suspect later died, the Associated Press reported early Friday.

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There was no immediate explanation 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.

The wounds to the two officers did not appear serious. Richard S. Keevill, chief of the force that guards the Pentagon, described them as grazing wounds.

The officers, members of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, fired their .40-caliber Glock pistols and wounded the man critically, Keevill said at a news conference about two hours after the shooting. A third officer apparently also shot at the suspect.

"The officers acted very quickly and decisively to neutralize him as a threat," Keevill said. "No one else was injured."

The gunman and the two wounded officers were taken to George Washington University Hospital in the District. The gunman's body arrived at the D.C. medical examiner's office shortly after midnight, the office's chief of staff, Beverly Fields, told the AP.

Police declined to identify the suspect, but two federal law enforcement sources identified him as John Patrick Bedell, 36. One of the sources said Bedell was seen on a surveillance video near the Pentagon talking to another man.

Police were looking for the second man Thursday night but did not know whether he was involved in any way in the shooting, which occurred at 6:40 p.m., near the end of rush hour. One federal law enforcement source said the second man was not thought to be involved.

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" before saying, "I'm sorry, I can't talk about this," and hanging up.

Officials would not speculate about what prompted the gunman's actions. A spokesman for the National Security Council said it was too soon to determine whether the sudden and wordless attack was connected to terrorism.

President Obama was following the case and was being provided updates from the FBI, assistant White House press secretary Nicholas Shapiro said.

Keevill said that witnesses reported that the gunman "walked up very cool" and displayed "no real emotion on his face."


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