Man in animal suit wearing chocolate 'bomb vest' shot by police at Baltimore TV station
Normally, a television station reports on the news, not become its top story. The Baltimore Sun and WJZ-TV 13 are reporting that a 25-year-old man from Elkridge, Howard County, Maryland wearing a full-body animal suit (claimed to be a "grey hedgehog onesie" by the station's security guard to WJZ-TV), combat boots and a surgical mask over his face was shot by police at the parking lot of Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned WBFF, Baltimore's Fox 45.
The incident occurred when the suspect first set fire to a car in the parking lot of WBFF with a burning gasoline-soaked rag in the gas tank and afterwards, entered the vestibule of WBFF. When approached by the station's on-duty security guard, he claimed to have information that needed to be shared with the station, and handed over a USB thumb drive containing a rambling manifesto about space and the government, as well as the end of the world, in a video file.
The guard, Jourael "Jay" Apostolides, said:
It pretty much had to do with anything with astronomy... black holes, the sun, about it being liquid and gas, and he just wanted to say that the government was wrong in thinking about the way they do when it comes to anything in space.
The suspect claimed to have a bomb vest on, which prompted the security guard to call 911; WBFF was evacuated, falling back into automated broadcast mode. When the Baltimore Police SWAT team arrived, the suspect was shot after refusing take his hands out of his pockets. Upon being wounded, the bomb disposal unit robot was driven over to inspect him. It was then revealed that his "bomb" was just a series of chocolate bars linked with wires to a smoke alarm's motherboard, all hidden within a life preserver, and had no explosive capabilities.
The suspect is alive, but in serious condition in hospital tonight and still uncooperative with police. There is no motive known at this time. With the station currently on lockdown, the General Manager of WBFF, William Fanshawe, has said they will either run the station from one of their mobile news vans, or drive 45 miles southwest to their sister station, WJLA-TV (ABC 7) in Washington, DC and operate it remotely from there. Strangely enough, this is not the first time a television station's studios in Baltimore have been attacked; an unrelated incident in 2014 regarding a mentally-ill man claiming to be God stole a truck and drove it into the studio building of cross-town station WMAR-TV (ABC 2).
I really hope this guy has absolutely no connection to our fandom...
Update (May 19)
The Suspect, identified by Baltimore Police as 25-year-old Alex Brizzi, has been indicted on charges of second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning and threat of arson, as well as four counts of reckless endangerment and one count of possessing a phony destructive device, and has been found mentally competent by a psychologist to stand trial for his accused crimes.
Update (May 20)
Heavy.com is reporting that Alex Brizzi, who suffered gunshot wounds from police snipers to his neck, leg, and buttocks, has been behaving in a "bizarre and dangerous" manner, and became upset over the April 26 Maryland Presidential Primaries between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as well as breaking up with his girlfriend. It has been determined that his rant on the flash drive handed to Jouarel Apostolides had a segment on him stating he had become convinced that the world would end on June 3, 2016. His father Edward had stated his son (who resides in the basement of their home 10 miles southwest of Baltimore) had some sort of "mental breakdown" and had previously tried to overdose on the over-the-counter pain medication Aleve.
We at Flayrah News keep you notified of any updates to this story as they happen.
- The Baltimore Sun - Baltimore TV Station Evacuated
- The Baltimore Sun - Police Update on Bomb Threat at Fox 45
- WMAR-TV 2 - Fox 45 in Baltimore Evacuated After Bomb Threat
- WBAL-TV 11 - Police Investigate Incident at WBFF TV in Baltimore
- WBAL-TV 11 - Images from Incident at WBFF Fox 45
- WBAL-TV 11 - WBFF's General Manager Details Threat Incident
- WJZ-TV 13 - Baltiore TV Station Evacuated After Bomb Threat
- WBFF 45 - Man in Animal Costume Shot After Making Bomb Threat