Pentagon gunman shot dead

A Californian man killed in a shootout with guards at the Pentagon had driven cross-country and arrived at the military headquarters' subway entrance armed with two semi-automatic weapons.

The gunman was named as John Patrick Bedell, 36, from Hollister. He apparently left behind internet postings resentful of the US government and airing suspicions about the 11 September terrorist attacks. Authorities said he had had previous run-ins with the law. Investigators have found no immediate connection with terrorism, and the attack that superficially wounded two police officers at the massive Defence Department headquarters appears to be a case of "a single individual who had issues", Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, told a news conference yesterday.

Mr Keevill described Bedell as "very well-educated" and well-dressed, saying he was wearing a suit when arrived at the secure Pentagon entrance about 6.40pm on Thursday and blended in with workers. He was concealing two 9mm semi-automatic weapons and "many magazines" of ammunition. "He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting," Mr Keevill said. "He walked up very cool. He had no real emotion on his face." Bedell died from head wounds received when officers returned fire. The exchange of fire at the subway entrance in Arlington, Virginia, lasted less than a minute but numerous shots were fired, Mr Keevill said, adding that investigators were "still counting" them. Bedell was not wearing body armour, he added. The two officers injured have been released from hospital after treatment.