Well-Dressed Gunman Dies After Pentagon Shootout

A well-dressed man calmly approached a Pentagon pre-screening checkpoint Thursday evening, produced a 9mm semi-automatic handgun when asked for a pass and started a shootout with law enforcement, according to Pentagon officials.

Two Pentagon Force Protection Agency officers were shot at the Metro entrance to the Pentagon at about 6:40 p.m. when confronted by the gunman, officials said. The wounded officers, Jeff Amos and Marvin Carraway, returned fire and managed to keep the shooter out of the Pentagon, if getting inside was his intent. 

The shooter, identified as John Patrick Bedell, 36, of Hollister, Calif., was shot in the head and left arm and later died at a local hospital.  (For more on Bedell, click here.)  The FBI said Bedell was dressed in slacks, a white collared shirt and a blazer, and he had a full beard.

"He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting," said PFPA Chief Richard Keevill. "He walked up very cool. He had no real emotion on his face."

Originally officials said the shooter didn't say anything before he started shooting, but Keevill said Friday morning that the shooter made "some sort of utterance," but that only the officers involved in the shootout know exactly what he said.  That info has not been released.

Witnesses said they heard about a half of a dozen gunshots exchanged between the officers and the shooter.  Officials said a surveillance camera captured the shootout on tape.

The shooting was not an act of terror, according to the Pentagon.

"We have layers of security, and it worked," Keevill said. "He never got inside the building to hurt anybody."

It was a lone gunman, Keevill said, but a source said law enforcement investigated another person who they thought may have been involved.  That person was questioned for several hours after the shooting, according to NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski, but was later cleared of an involvement.

The shooter had two 9mm semi-automatic weapons and may have had more than two dozen magazines of ammunition with him during the shooting.  More ammunition was found in his vehicle, a green 1998 Toyota Avalon, which was parked in the Fashion Centre Pentagon City Mall parking garage.

"He came here from California,'' Keevill said. ``We were able to identify certain locations that he spent that last several weeks
making his way form the West Coast to the East Coast.''

Law enforcement officials said Bedell stopped at a motel in Reno, Nev., before traveling to the nation's capital.  It was not immediately clear how long Bedell stayed there, or if it was anything more than a stopover on his way to a violent end.

The officers and the shooter were taken to George Washington University Hospital. The officers were grazed in the leg and shoulder. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

A third officer may have been involved in the shootout, according to the PFPA.

Dan Namisi, exiting the Pentagon Metro station and headed for a bus home, heard a "pop" and hit the ground to get out of harm's way as shooting erupted. The next thing he knew, officers swarmed over him and put handcuffs on him, he said.

Namisi said he was searched repeatedly, but officers didn't ask him many questions during the three hours they held him. He was shaken by the experience.

Namisi, who originally is from Uganda and lives in Burke, doesn't know why he was swept up in a search for evidence but said there were few people outside the Pentagon at the time. He said he might have attracted attention because he cut one of his hands when he dropped to the ground and the hand was bloody.

The Pentagon Metrorail station and Pentagon Transit Centers were closed Thursday night as the FBI became involved in the investigation. The Pentagon Metrorail station and the lower level of the Pentagon Transit Center reopened Friday afternoon. The north entrance to the Pentagon Metrorail station reopened as of 12:05 p.m. The southern entrance remains closed.

All Metrobuses that service the Pentagon Transit Center began providing service from the lower level of the Pentagon Transit Center at 1 p.m. Regional bus providers such as ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, Loudoun County and PRTC will continue to provide bus service from the Pentagon City Metrorail station or their alternate locations due to limited space. Riders should check with their specific bus provider for more details.

  • ART routes 42 and 87 will serve the ART 74 stop on 12th Street and Hayes Street.
  • DASH routes AT3 and AT4 will serve a temporary stop directly in front of Nordstrom on Hayes Street, approximately one half block from the exit to Pentagon City Metrorail station.
  • Fairfax Connector: The 595 (North County) and the 380D (South County) will serve a stop on Hayes Street across from Macy’s.
  • Loudoun County Commuter Bus Service will pick up Pentagon passengers at the northeast corner of Army Navy Drive and Fern Street. The buses will travel west on Army Navy Drive, pick up before Fern Street and then take Route 27 to Rosslyn.
  • Martz Virginia commuter buses servicing the Pentagon will utilize the Army Navy Drive and Fern Street stop.
  • Priority 1 will serve the kiss and ride location in the Pentagon South Parking Lot.
  • PRTC buses will serve a stop at 11th Street and Eads Street.
  • Quick’s Bus Company will serve the kiss and ride location in the Pentagon South Parking Lot.

Once the FBI is finished with its work along the upper level of the Transit Center, regular bus pick-up and drop-off areas will be back in use. The upper level is expected to remain closed until Sunday.

The Metro station is immediately adjacent to the Pentagon building. Since a redesign following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon, riders can no longer disembark directly into the building, the Associated Press reported. Riders take a long escalator ride to the surface from the underground station, then pass through a security check outside the doors of the building, where further security awaits.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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