Nearly five hours after allegedly ramming a stolen truck into the lobby of a Baltimore television station, a 29-year-old man was arrested, with the help of a police dog, in an editing room where he was watching coverage of the standoff on television, police said.
Workers fled the office of ABC affiliate WMAR-TV on Tuesday morning after the landscaping truck smashed through their front entrance. One employee sheltered in the basement, and no one was injured, police said.
From the start of the ordeal, authorities feared the suspect was armed and mentally ill. Witnesses said he held a satchel, and police found empty sheaths for machetes.
The machetes, however, belonged to the landscapers who owned the truck that was unattended when it was stolen. The suspect was eventually arrested with a golf club in hand, Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said at a televised news conference.
The suspect was “ranting and raving incoherent statements from the beginning” and is being evaluated for mental illness, Johnson said. His name was not immediately released.
The man initially tried to enter the building as a pedestrian, but a security guard refused to open the door for him. About 11:45 a.m., the security officer called 911 about the disturbance, police said. Minutes later, a large pickup truck was seen repeatedly smashing at the entrance like a battering ram. When the structure finally caved, the vehicle came to rest at a staircase in the lobby.
Johnson said the suspect ran to the second floor as the last few workers were racing out of the building. Police used “technology” to locate the suspect and monitored him watching news coverage from other television stations, Johnson said. He declined to be more specific about the technology used.
Johnson commended reporters, producers, editors and other staffers at the television station for their orderly evacuation.
News director Kelly Groft told reporters at the scene, “I think everyone reacted really well.”
Police shut down roads in the Towson community near the station, ordered the nearby St. Pius X School to enter a lockdown and advised people in the area to use social media with caution so as not to tip off the suspect about police positions.