Suspect in custody after slamming into TV station
Unidentified man was watching the ordeal on the local news when arrested
The truck used in the crash was reported stolen earlier Tuesday, police said
Maryland TV station evacuated after truck slams through lobby
A man who smashed a truck through the lobby of a Maryland TV news station and proclaimed himself God watched the ordeal play out on local news and tweeted while he was barricaded.
The unidentified 29-year-old man, described as mentally ill, was taken into custody without incident after his actions forced the lockdown and evacuation of WMAR and a nearby parochial school in Towson, near Baltimore, police said.
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson told reporters that SWAT team officers closed in on the suspect Tuesday as he was “watching different channels” in a station editing room – “watching you report this story as this incident unfolded.”
Aware that the suspect was watching on TV, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said, authorities decided against releasing any information publicly until after the incident.
The first call from WMAR came in at 11:45 a.m., Baltimore County Public Safety said. There was a report of a disturbance, with a man banging on a door, trying to get inside the station.
Within minutes, authorities said, there was another call about a truck crashing into the station lobby. Police said the suspect made “contact” with a security guard before making his way to a second-floor editing room.
“The individual was ranting and raving incoherent statements,” Johnson said. “It was clear from the very beginning that we were dealing with an emotionally disturbed subject.”
Mike Marion, a commercial production producer at WMAR, told CNN that he was in his office when he heard a loud sound.
“I heard someone rattling the door in a violent manner, and screaming started: ‘Let me in, let me in, I’m (expletive) God. You have to let me in,’ ” Marion said.
Marion said he never saw the suspect get out of the truck. Police said the truck was stolen Tuesday from a State Highway Administration subcontractor.
All the while, WMAR journalists could relay information only via Twitter and the station’s website. By mid-afternoon, a makeshift newsroom had been set up about a mile north of the station, but the reporters still had no way to broadcast.
Police said the truck was stolen Tuesday from a subcontractor with the State Highway Administration.
Inside the station, police found sheaths for machetes believed to have been used by workers in the highway truck. They also recovered a satchel with unknown contents. The suspect had a golf club but no firearms, police said.
Johnson said tactical officers responded to an “active shooter” incident, moving slowly and cautiously to the second floor. “We could view him watching TV,” the chief said.
A dog was used to subdue the suspect, who was taken for a psychiatric evaluation before facing criminal charges, police said.
The man was taken into custody without further incident, and no one was seriously injured in the ordeal. The motive remains a mystery.
CNN’s Eric Fiegel contributed to this report.