Exclusive: Family of deceased Pentagon suspect apologizes and blames son’s ‘mental health challenges’



“We are devastated by the loss of our son, Austin, and of officer George Gonzalez,” the family said in a statement provided to CNN. “We want officer Gonzalez’s family and friends to know that we are so sorry and heartbroken for them. We will forever be thankful for his service and dedication to the safety and well-being of our country.”

The FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a tweet this week that Lanz, 27, exited a bus at the Pentagon Transit Center in Arlington, Virginia, around 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday. He then, “immediately, without provocation, attacked” Gonzalez with a knife, “severely wounding him,” the FBI went onto say.

After Lanz stabbed Gonzalez, “a struggle ensued,” according to the tweet, and Lanz “mortally wounded Officer Gonzalez and then shot himself with the officer’s service weapon.” On Thursday, an FBI spokesperson said Lanz both stabbed and shot the police officer before taking his own life.

“The last few months of Austin’s life were overcome with many mental health challenges,” the family went onto say in their statement. “Unfortunately, despite time spent in the criminal justice system with their special requirements his hospital stays and numerous professional mental health evaluations, Austin did not receive any official diagnosis, therefore, he was unable to sufficiently deal with his mental health nor get the help he so desperately needed.”

Lanz briefly served in the US Marines in 2012, according to Maj. Jim Stenger, Marine Corps spokesperson.

Family attorney Jimmy Berry tells CNN that Lanz was discharged from the Marines for having high blood pressure. Berry also tells CNN that Lanz was in the Washington DC area this week with his father for a “medical reason” and that a mental health evaluation “was done also.”

Berry said that Lanz had previously received mental health evaluations in Georgia.

“While we sit in great disbelief over the events that occurred and continue to mourn for lives lost, we are hopeful that this tragedy can help bring greater awareness and change to the growing mental health crisis in our country,” the family statement says.

Full statement:

We are devastated by the loss of our son, Austin, and of officer George Gonzalez. We want officer Gonzalez’s family and friends to know that we are so sorry and heartbroken for them. We will forever be thankful for his service and dedication to the safety and well-being of our country.

The last few months of Austin’s life were overcome with many mental health challenges. Unfortunately, despite time spent in the criminal justice system with their special requirements his hospital stays and numerous professional mental health evaluations, Austin did not receive any official diagnosis, therefore, he was unable to sufficiently deal with his mental health nor get the help he so desperately needed.

While we sit in great disbelief over the events that occurred and continue to mourn for lives lost, we are hopeful that this tragedy can help bring greater awareness and change to the growing mental health crisis in our country.

Our family would greatly appreciate privacy during this most difficult time as we continue to grieve.



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