Cole died of gunshot wounds to the “torso and upper extremities,” according to a statement from the Northern District of the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner provided to The Washington Post. The statement on the autopsy report did not reveal how many times Cole was shot, according to The Post. The manner of death was ruled as a homicide, the newspaper reported.
The shooting is under investigation, according to a statement from the FBI. The CIA said in a statement to CNN, “Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved.”
The FBI said in a statement that Cole was armed, but have not said what type of weapon he was armed with. According to NBC News, Cole was wielding a sword when he got out of his car at the CIA gate. Authorities told the news network there was concerns that there was a bomb in the car, but no explosives were found.
Here’s what you need to know about Roy Gordon Cole and the CIA headquarters incident:
1. The FBI Agents Shot & Killed Cole After a Lengthy Standoff & Negotiations
The FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a statement posted to Twitter that the shooting occurred about 6 p.m. during a “security incident” outside the CIA’s Langley headquarters. Langley is a part of McLean, Virginia. According to the FBI, Cole, “emerged from his vehicle with a weapon,” and “was engaged by law enforcement officers.”
Cole was shot and wounded by FBI agents and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the FBI said. “The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” the FBI said in a statement. “The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”
According to The Washington Post, the shooting came after a standoff and several hours of negotiations. Cole pulled up to the CIA’s security gate hours before he was shot and killed.
NBC Washington wrote, “After a long effort to get him to move, Cole got out of the car claiming to be carrying a bomb and holding something that looked like it might be a device, and the FBI shot him, the official said. No explosives were found, the official said.”
2. Cole Was Known to the CIA & Had a History of Mental Illness, According to Reports
According to NBC News, Cole was known to the CIA and had been involved in at least one previous incident at the agency’s Virginia headquarters in the past. Details of that incident, including when it occurred, were not revealed.
NBC News wrote, “The man, Roy Gordon Cole, was known to the CIA because he had tried to drive into its heavily guarded facility before, officials said, adding that there were questions about his mental state.” NBC Washington wrote, “Cole was known to the CIA, either because he tried to get into headquarters before or had frequent contact with the CIA, the official said.”
WNBC Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst tweeted, “Law enforcement officials say the armed man shot outside CIA HQ yesterday has been identified as Roy Gordon Cole – a man with an apparent history of mental illness who was known to CIA security.”
3. Little Other Information About Cole Has Been Uncovered
Few details about Cole have been made public. His name was confirmed by the medical examiner’s office after an autopsy was conducted, but the FBI did not release his name in its statement about the shooting. Other information, including Cole’s age and where he lived, have not been released.
According to The Washington Post, the newspaper attempted to contact Cole’s family members, but reporters were unsuccessful. A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office told The Post Cole’s family had been notified of his death.
The shooting occurred a month after a knife-wielding man rammed a barricade at the U.S. Capitol with his car and then attacked U.S. Capitol Police officers. Noah Green was shot and killed during the attack. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans was also killed.
4. The CIA Strengthened Security at Its Langley Headquarters After a Man Shot & Killed 2 Agency Employees There in 1993
According to The New York Times, security was increased at the CIA’s Virginia headquarters after a 1993 shooting. Mir Aimal Kasi, a 38-year-old Pakistani extremist, shot and killed two agency employees and wounded three others before he was arrested, The Times reported.
Frank A. Darling, 28, and Lansing H. Bennett, 66, were shot and killed while sitting in traffic outside of the CIA gate on January 23, 1993, according to The Times. Kasi was convicted by a jury in 1994, the newspaper reported. Kasi was executed in Virginia in 2002, according to a Times report.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in an article after the Cole incident, “The CIA headquarters, which opened in 1961, is well-known for its heavily fortified security perimeter. The campus is closed to the general public and accessible to mostly only government officials with security clearances or special authorization.”
5. The FBI Said More Information Will Not Be Released While the Investigation Is Underway
The FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a statement after Cole’s death, “The subject involved in the shooting incident outside CIA Headquarters at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021, died from his injuries after being transported to the hospital. The FBI reviews every shooting incident involving an FBI special agent.”
The statement added, “The review will carefully examine the circumstances of the shooting and collect all relevant evidence from the scene. As the review remains ongoing, we cannot provide any additional details at this time.”
In a statement to WJLA-TV during the incident, the CIA said, “In coordination with our local law enforcement partners, we are addressing a security situation just outside the secure perimeter of CIA Headquarters by our main gate on Route 123. Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved.” The CIA has not provided any other details about the incident.