Pentagon gunman linked to anti-government Web rantings

Click here for a timeline of recent attacks against federal employees and facilities.

The California man who shot two Pentagon security officers on Thursday evening is linked to anti-government Internet screeds, according to an Associated Press report.

The gunman, 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell, died on Friday morning from wounds sustained when the security officers returned fire.

Internet postings by someone using the name "JPatrickBedell" expressed distrust with the government, including its role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and in the 1991 death of Marine Col. James Sabow. The poster also criticized laws against marijuana use, and published a two-part treatise on big government, according to AP. Authorities have yet to verify that the writings were Bedell's.

Bedell reportedly approached the officers calmly, at an entrance to the Pentagon. When asked for identification, he pulled out his gun and opened fire, police said. The two wounded Pentagon Force Protection Agency officers, Jeffrey Amos and Marvin Carraway, and a third officer, acted quickly to contain the incident.

Police said they believed Bedell was acting alone and was not connected to any terrorist organizations.

The shooting happened at 6:40 p.m., just at the end of rush hour.

Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevill praised Amos and Carraway for preventing the gunman from entering the Pentagon.

"The Fort Hood incident put us on notice that this can happen anywhere," Keevill said.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said the Pentagon metro station will remain closed pending an FBI investigation of the crime scene on the sidewalk near the station and bus stops. Trains will run through the station but will not let passengers on or off.

The shooting comes on the heels of several other attacks on federal facilities. In mid-February, a software engineer who had complained about the U.S. tax code flew a small plane into an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas, killing employee Vernon Hunter and burning down the office. In November 2009, a gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and injuring dozens more. The alleged shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, had apparently adopted radical Islamist views.

"While it is not clear what specifically motivated the shooter, several Internet postings suggest that his attack is yet another in a wave of anti-government attacks aimed a disrupting the foundation of our democracy," said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Gage praised federal law enforcement officers for their response in this incident, as well as others at federal facilities.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
X CLOSE Don't show again

Like us on Facebook