The man who is accused of stabbing a Pentagon police officer last week before shooting himself with the officer’s gun reportedly targeted a couple that lived next door to him.
Austin Lanz, 27, who the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) said carried out the fatal attack on a police officer at a bus platform outside the Department of Defense facility on Aug. 3, reportedly engaged in a harassment campaign against his neighbors, Phillip Brent and Eliza Wells.
Brent and Wells, who were engaged before breaking off their union, told The Washington Post that Lanz would leave the couple mysterious notes in their mailbox, some of which featured pornography.
The couple contacted police, but authorities said there was not much they could do. They told the pair to purchase surveillance cameras to monitor the situation.
Lanz allegedly exited a bus at about 10:40 a.m. on Aug. 3 at the Pentagon Transit Center and “immediately, without provocation” attacked PFPA officer George Gonzalez with a knife, leaving him with severe injuries. He later died.
He then allegedly shot himself with Gonzalez’s gun. The motive behind the attack remains unknown.
Brent told the Post about another incident, which occurred in July 2020, when he woke up one morning and found an apple juice bottle with a cigarette in it leaning against his garage door.
He searched through the surveillance cameras and found Lanz placing the bottle near the garage.
Brent told the Post that they were not surprised to discover that Lanz was behind the incident. He said Lanz would “give us the most creepiest unsettling looks… and wave at us” when the couple would pass his house.
Lanz at another point taped a large sign to the neighbor’s front door.
The final incident occurred on April 24, when Lanz broke into Brent’s house. Brent told the Post that Lanz was in his house for roughly 15 minutes, according to surveillance video. He did not take anything, but was arrested for burglary and trespassing.
Lanz then allegedly attacked two officers in the intake area and verbally assailed them, according to an arrest warrant cited by the Post, which led to him receiving six additional charges.
Lanz had reportedly been in the Washington, D.C. area to work and undergo a mental health evaluation, Jimmy Berry, Lanz’s family attorney, told the Post.
He said Lanz was only in the area days before the incident occurred near the Pentagon.