Capitol Police on Friday continued to maintain stringent security levels on Capitol Hill after a lone gunman shot and wounded three officers outside of the Pentagon on Thursday.
Officers with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) shot and killed John Patrick Bedell, 36, Thursday evening after he approached them outside of the Pentagon Metro station and abruptly fired a volley of shots at them.
Capitol Police heightened security levels on the Hill in the immediate hours after the attack, which occurred less than 3 miles away from the Capitol, as the heads of the department conferred with security officials in the force’s high-tech command center, said Capitol Police Chief Philip Morse on Friday.
“The officers reacted in accordance with their training to secure the Capitol complex,” he said. “We remained in an increased posture until the situation at the Pentagon was stabilized…This is a stark reminder of the inherent dangers of our mission.”
Officials have since determined that the shooting does not to appear to be a terrorist attack and the Capitol Police force has reassumed its continually vigilant posture.
“There is no indication that it was terrorist related,” said Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer on Friday. “This shooting reinforces the danger facing blue centurions at any icon. Our [Capitol Police] troops are trained, vigilant and well lead.”
The FBI, the PFPA, and the Arlington County police are investigating what spurred the violent attack by Bedell, who had driven to the Washington D.C. area from California.
Some indications for Bedell’s motives have started to emerge through press reports, however. In an 8-minute recorded manifesto posted online in 2006 and titled “Directions To Freedom,” a clear-sounding and articulate Bedell lambastes the government for intruding upon the privacy rights of Americans and he advocates for a less-centrally governed society.
“When governments are able to confiscate the resources of their citizens to fund schemes that need only be justified by lies and deception enormous disasters can result,” he said in the recording, which he describes as “an intense personal desire for freedom.”
Bedell is also allegedly responsible for several online postings on the Internet that questioned the veracity of the official explanation for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Bedell was able to catch the officers by surprise on Thursday evening in-part because he was dressed in a suit and blended in with other Pentagon employees in the area. As he approached the PFPA officers he “reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting,” said Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, at a news conference on Friday.
After parking his green Toyota sedan in the Fashion Centre Pentagon City Mall parking garage Bedell “walked up [to the officers] very cool. He had no real emotion on his face,” said Keevill, adding that initial reports indicated that Bedell acted alone and was “a single individual who had issues.”
Bedell was reportedly living with his parents in Hollister, Calif., before making the trek east. And according to the Associated Press, Bedell’s parents had tried to warn law enforcement officials of possible danger, saying that their son was upset and could be in possession of a gun.
The FBI is reviewing hours of video surveillance footage and conducting interviews with associates, family members, and friends of Bedell’s as part of its investigation.
The investigation is also focusing on Bedell’s activity on the web, his cell phone usage, “and other information which might assist in determining Bedell’s state of mind at the time of the shooting,” according to the FBI.
In his “Directions To Freedom” recording online, Bedell says that government-run schooling should be abolished and that the reach of the federal government should be checked.
“The imperative to defend the freedom of conscience must lead us to eliminate the role of the government in education and leave parents and communities free to raise their children as they see fit,” said Bedell.
“Communist and socialist governments that abolished or disregarded private property created poverty, repression and murder on a truly enormous scale.
“Even in the United States, however, there has been a continual erosion of protection of private property justified by the belief that government is an efficient instrument for the positive direction of society.”