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Pentagon Guard Tackles Gun-wielding Intruder

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 1997 – Pentagon officials here recently got a taste of the threat U.S. forces face around the world from those who use violence to achieve their goals.

Defense Protective Service Officer Christopher Freeman stopped a man wielding a handgun and carrying 130 rounds of 9 mm ammunition from entering the Pentagon Aug. 5.

DoD officials hailed Freeman as courageous, well trained, decisive and quick moving. "He did exactly what he was trained to do and he did it extremely well," said Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon. "He was an example of training and courage coming to the fore all at once."

At about 8 a.m., Bacon said, Raymond S. Maestas, 36, of West Covina, Calif., approached the guard desk at the Pentagon's mall entrance. He said he wanted to speak to the "admiral in charge." He then asked to talk to the "vice admiral about a car theft."

When he failed to show an identification badge, Freeman told Maestas to step to the side. As Freeman went around the desk to talk to him, Maestas pulled a Beretta pistol from his knapsack. The gun later proved to be loaded; the knapsack held 12 clips with 120 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

Security Aide Marvin Fraser, Freeman's partner on the desk, was already on the phone calling for backup when he saw the gun. Freeman then saw the gun and wrestled Maestas to the ground. The incident was over in a matter of minutes.

Maestas was taken into custody and interviewed by Pentagon officials and the FBI. Security officials later learned Maestas had tried to enter through another entrance and had tried to drive his car through a security checkpoint. He was turned away at both, Bacon said. Maestas was arraigned the next day and charged with assault.

Within an hour of the incident, explosive ordnance disposal specialists with bomb-sniffing dogs and a robot searched the rental car Maestas had been driving. They found no other weapons.

Freeman is one of 220 Defense Protective Service officers who guard the Pentagon. Security officials will conduct a routine review of the incident, Bacon said.

"The protective service people did exactly what they're trained to do, and the system worked," he said.

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