A Californian man who harboured ill-feelings towards administration and armed forces on day coolly walked up to the Pentagon's screening area and shot two police officers before being fatally wounded, leading to security lockdown of the US military headquarters for hours.
The man suddenly opened fire at the metro station entrance of the Pentagon at 6:40 pm local time on Thursday (0510 IST Friday), forcing the security officers to return fire with automatic weapons which grievously wounded him.
The gunman later identified as 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell from California succumbed to his bullet wounds in hospital.
The man -- with "no real emotion in his face" --approached the officers outside the Pentagon Metro station, Pentagon Police Chief Richard S Keevill was quoted as saying in the US media.
"As the officers started to ask him for his pass to get into the Pentagon, he drew a weapon from his pocket and started shooting from a few feet away," Keevill told reporters.
The two officers of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency retaliated with their semi-automatic weapons and the gunman was critically wounded, Keevill said. "He did not say a word."
In a statement, Pentagon said the entrances were locked briefly, but all were reopened with the exception of the Pentagon Metro entrance.
Officials said they found Bedell had no terrorist connections but had not ruled it out till investigations were complete.