Man rams stolen truck through front door of Maryland television station
TOWSON, Md. — A man claiming to be God rammed a truck through the front of a Baltimore-area television station on Tuesday, leaving a gaping hole as reporters and other staff fled the building.
Police arrested a suspect about five hours after the incident, officials said at a news conference. The suspect was not injured but was taken for medical treatment, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.
“It's very clear the subject is suffering from emotional or mental health issues,” police Chief James Johnson said. The identity of the 29-year-old man was not immediately disclosed.
Michael Marion was in his office off WMAR-TV's lobby when he heard someone rattling violently against the security door about 11:45 a.m. The man demanded to be let in, claiming “I am God, I am God,” Marion said.
“I heard a series of crashes,” Marion said. “The next thing, I looked in the lobby, and the only thing between the truck and the lobby was the final door. I heard one final crash. I looked through the door, and by then the truck was pulling in the lobby.”
The station believed everyone inside evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft said.
“Once the lobby started to collapse, we knew it was time to get out,” Groft said. “He drove right through the doors and into the main area.”
However, an employee remained in the basement. During WMAR-TV's evening newscast, Nic Hall said he didn't realize what had happened until he was contacted by a co-worker who was offsite.
“I was in the basement 3½ hours talking with police, letting them know the lay of the land,” Hall said.
Hall said he'd only worked at the station for two weeks.
“It was interesting. I'll be here tomorrow.”
A hole the size of several garage doors could be seen in the front of the two-story building, with a newsroom and studio on the first floor. About 120 people work there, according to station owner the E.W. Scripps Co.
The building sits on a busy street connecting the suburbs with Baltimore, near the city-county line. Next door, a school was locked down, but students — escorted by staff to their parents — left after 2:30 p.m.
Authorities said they were careful about releasing information during the incident because they knew the suspect was watching the news. He “was watching different channels, watching you report this story,” Johnson told reporters. “We could view him watching TV.”
Officials said officers used unspecified “technology” to locate the man on the second floor and used a flash bomb and a police dog to help arrest him. Johnson said the arrest was “without incident,” but the suspect was holding a golf club at the time.
The truck belonged to a landscaping company and was stolen from a work site less than 5 miles from the scene, police said.
Police received a 911 call about 11:45 a.m. about a man banging on the door and trying to get inside, public safety spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. Within minutes, a call reported that a vehicle had come into the station.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspect in killings of wealthy D.C. family arrested
- Dogs split from the wolf pack earlier than thought, DNA analysis suggests
- California Congresswoman Sanchez apologizes for Indian whooping-cry caricature
- Obama trade bill advances in Senate
- Senators push for full funding for Amtrak
- War trauma link to Alzheimer’s eyed
- Ex-Va. lawmaker plans to wed teen in sex scandal
- Suspect in killings of wealthy DC family arrested
- Technology enhances view of Manhattan
- Embattled VA project in Denver still going
- Texan bags black rhino in benefit hunt