March 5, 2010 — -- The gunman who charged into one of the Pentagon's main entrances and opened fire has died from gunshot wounds to the head and authorities are looking into his recent rants against the government as a potential motive.
John Patrick Bedell, 36, died at the hospital Thursday night after Pentagon police returned fire. Police told ABC News that the two police officers wounded in the shooting have been released from the hospital after suffering minor injuries. They are now on administrative leave pending the investigation of the incident, police said.
The attack seems to be another suicide mission aimed at the government. While police have said they are not certain of a motive, they are investigating Internet postings in which Bedell wrote and recorded audio expressing his anger toward the government.
"The moral values of individuals and communities are increasingly attacked by a political system where deceit is routine and accepted and the only standard is power," he said in the online video.
Authorities say Bedell's had brushes with the law in the past and his Internet musing mentioned charges for marijuana possession as a reference to the government's intervention in his life.
The shooting came just weeks after Joe Stack flew his plane into the IRS office in Austin, Texas, after leaving a lengthy manifesto in which he told the IRS to "take my pound of flesh and sleep well."
Bedell opened fire at 6:40 p.m. Thursday after officers asked him for an access pass, police said.
"It came at the time of night when thousands of Pentagon employees were trying to leave the building at one of the Pentagon's main entrances," ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos.
ABC News' Luis Martinez was inside the Pentagon when the shooting started. As a building-wide announcement notified workers that the Metro had been locked down, employees began trying to make their way to various exits only to find each one blocked.
"I headed towards one of those exits as the building operations center is located nearby. That's when I started to see a backlog of people milling the length of the corridor to the exit," Martinez said. "They'd just been told that those exits had been closed as well and that the building was locked down."
The officers that were shot, he said, were manning an open-air checkpoint where people with badges can walk in without having to go through security.
Pentagon Police Chief Richard S. Keevill said that the gunman appeared to have acted alone. He was carrying two 9 mm semi-automatic guns and many magazines of ammunition, according to police.
Keevill said there was "no indication at this point [of] any domestic or international terrorism at all."