On this day, Nov. 22, in 1994, Bennie Lee Lawson Jr., shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded another inside the D.C. police headquarters.
At 3:15 p.m., Lawson walked into the building at 300 Indiana Ave., NW, with a MAC-11 semiautomatic assault weapon. He intended to shoot a detective investigating him in a triple homicide. Instead, Lawson, 25, wound up in the third-floor offices of the cold case squad. Lawson probably never realized he was in the room office.
Sgt. Henry J. “Hank” Daly, a 28-year veteran who headed up the unit, asked Lawson if he needed help. Lawson pulled the weapon out of his jacket, mumbled something like, ”"This is what it’s about.” He shot Daly, 51, in the head and face, killing him. Lawson then opened fire, killing FBI agent Michael John Miller, 36.
FBI agent Martha Dixon Martinez, 35, managed to shoot Lawson, but he had shot her, too, and she dropped her weapon.
He picked up her gun, fatally shot her in the head, and then turned the gun on himself.
Another agent, John Kuchta, was shot five times and survived.
A note in Lawson’s belongings said: “Wanted dead, Captain Hennessy & staff,” referring to the head of the homicide detectives, who had interviewed Lawson four weeks earlier for a triple-killing in Petworth that left dead an 89-year-old retired federal worker, the man’s granddaughter and a neighbor.
In 1996, the city changed the name of the headquarters to the Henry J. Daly Building and placed a bronze likeness of Daly in the building’s lobby.
– Scott McCabe