Man rams entrance to WMAR with stolen truck
Update (May 15): After releasing the name of the suspect on Wednesday morning, The Baltimore Sun was able to speak to Vladimir Mehul Baptiste’s mother, who said Baptiste had been hospitalized in previous years for mental illness.
Police say Baptiste said he was the reincarnation of King Tut and Jesus Christ, also saying that he wanted to expose his parents for “running the multiverse.” Baptiste believes the multiverses are responsible for the disappearance of 200 Nigerian girls, as well as the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
“I am God almighty. I gave you everything. You never earned it. (Expletive) your multiverses. You have created to hurt my people. I’m here to save you all from the energies. You are in the wrong timeline. Everything is unfolding. I don’t have to do anything. Vladimir (God). Just wait (expletive). Let me know when you are in the present,” the charging documents read, according to WBAL TV.
Update 4:53 p.m.: Police have announced that the suspect is now in custody. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said it’s clear the suspect had suffered from some sort of emotional or mental distress. The suspect was found watching news coverage of the search for him in an editing room when police found him.
The suspect has not been identified at this point, but it is estimated that he is 29 years old.
The Baltimore area was shaken early Tuesday afternoon when a person rammed the entrance to WMAR, the local ABC television station located on York Road, with a truck. The entire station was evacuated, but as of 4 p.m., the suspect is thought to be barricaded inside the building.
Michael Marion, a commercial producer for WMAR, has an office directly off of the lobby of the building. Marion said he heard a person attempting to gain access to the building, eventually yelling at the security guard who would not grant the suspect access.
“When he was trying to get into the lobby, he was saying ‘I’m god, I’m god I’m f****** god,” Marion said.
The suspect then went back out to the parking lot, got into a truck, and rammed the entrance to the station at least five times, eventually getting the truck into the lobby almost to the stairs that lead up to the second floor of the building.
“He made a sharp, right-hand turn and he attempted to ram the building,” Marion said. “He appeared to get hung up on a metal railing, and he headed straight to the atrium area. I heard one final crash, and by then, the truck was fully in the lobby.”
There has been a police and SWAT barricade around the building for almost four hours as of 4:15 p.m., and the suspect has still not been found, although Baltimore County Police are confident he is still in the building.
All WMAR personnel are expected to be safe, but spokeswoman for BCPD Elise Armacost said some workers may still be sheltered in place inside the building.
Although early reports suggested that weapons may have been in the vehicle driven through the entrance, Armacost would not confirm that there are any weapons on the scene, but police are treating it as if the suspect is a danger.
“No shots were fired, we don’t know if he’s armed,” Armacost said at a press conference around 1:45 p.m. “No one that I’m aware of saw a weapon. The investigation of looking for weapons is still active, [but] we have not confirmed every presence of weapons.”
The first 911 call came in to BCPD around 11:45 a.m. when the suspect was attempting to gain entrance to the building, and then another call came in minutes later after the truck was driven through the entrance.
Baltimore County Police have since confirmed that the truck used was stolen from a work site earlier in the day. The truck belongs to a State Highway Administration subcontractor.
Marion said he saw the truck parked in a visitors spot prior to the suspect using it to ram the entrance.
The St. Pius school next door was placed on lockdown, but as of 4:20 p.m., all but one student had been picked up.
Marion described the suspect as looking like “a college student,” in his late 20s who was wearing a blue oxford shirt. Marion also said the person had a backpack on that looked like a “satchel,” but nothing was sticking out of the backpack.
Despite the disruption, ABC2 staff members continue to give updates on the situation, and they plan to use their sister station in Phoenix to go on the air with their regularly scheduled newscast at 5 p.m.
York Road is still blocked off from the city line to the 6400 block of the road. Students and any other drivers are encouraged to consider alternate routes when traveling in the area.
The Towerlight will update this story as more information becomes available.