A man was shot by police Thursday after he allegedly made threats to blow up a Baltimore TV station.
Reporters at the scene described hearing three shots after the unidentified man left the lobby of Fox 45 where he had allegedly barricaded himself and started walking toward police outside, reports said.
Department spokespersonT.J. Smith said a police sniper took the shots after the suspect failed to follow officers’ instructions, including commands to take his hands out of his pockets.
The man, wearing some kind of animal costume and mask that was described by some media and witnesses as a “panda suit,” is seen lying on the street in several press photos. Police said he appeared to be conscious and still clutching an object in his pocket — which later turned out to be chocolate bars, not explosives.
Police were later able to search the suspect and bring him to a police car.
“Someone came into the front of the building and they apparently said that they had some information they wanted to get on the air,” the station’s news director Mike Tomko told reporters. “I came down at one point not knowing the person was in the lobby, near the vestibule area. He talked to me and was wearing what appears to be a full body white panda suit, surgical mask and sunglasses. He had a flash drive, said he had information he wanted to get on the air.
“He compared it to the information found in the Panama Papers. I told him, ‘I can’t let you in, you’re going to have to leave the flash drive here and slide it through the opening.’ He wouldn’t do that. Apparently he had made some threats before.”
Smith said the department was still investigating the suspect’s motive.
The fire department also extinguished a car that was reportedly on fire in the parking lot. Smith wouldn’t immediately confirm whether they were related, but noted the fire was likely “arson related.”