Two Pentagon police officers shot near subway

Published March 5, 2010 12:58AM (EST)

A gunman opened fire at the teeming subway entrance to Pentagon complex Thursday evening, wounding two military police officers before being shot, a spokesman said. Authorities said all three were taken to a hospital. Chris Layman, a spokesman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, said the two officers and gunman were not thought to have life-threatening injuries although the suspect's wounds were more serious.

The suspect walked up to the entrance at 6:40 p.m. and opened fire. He hit two officers. The officers fired back, and the suspect was struck.

The rush-hour assault happened outside a massively fortified building that nevertheless is near busy crowds of transit riders.

The subway 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. 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.

In the immediate aftermath, all Pentagon entrances were secured, then all were reopened except one from the subway, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

A Pentagon official working late in the building said people inside first heard of the shooting on television. They were later told the building was locked down and to stay in place. The huge five-sided building is crisscrossed by 10 main corridors.

Then at around 7:30 p.m., they heard an announcement on the public address system that they could leave through Corridor 3 -- one widely used to get access to one of the parking lots.

"We really don't know anything, just that we can leave now through that corridor," one official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak about the incident.


Associated Press writers Anne Gearan and Pauline Jelinek contributed to this report.

By Associated Press

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