A man claiming to be God rammed a truck through the front of a Baltimore-area television station Tuesday, leaving a gaping hole as reporters and other staff fled the building.
Police took a suspect into custody Tuesday afternoon, about five hours after the incident, officials said at a news conference. The suspect was not injured but is mentally ill and has been taken for 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.
Michael Marion, head of commercial production for the station, said that about 11:45 a.m., he heard from his office — right off the lobby — someone rattling violently against the security door. He said the person demanding to be let in and saying, "I am God, I am God."
Marion said he went to lobby, then an neighbouring office, and looked out a window and saw a large vehicle trying to ram the building.
"I heard a series of crashes," he said outside the station Tuesday afternoon. "The next thing, I looked in the lobby, and the only thing between 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."
Marion said he didn't see anyone get out of the truck, and he and a co-worker moved into a lower portion of the building, where they found a fellow employee in an office who hadn't heard the crash. The group left through the back gate, Marion said.
"Everyone behaved really well," Marion said. "People of their own volition said, `It's time to leave the building. No one panicked."
Groft said they did a headcount, though some people had hopped in cars and drove away. The station also warned employees out on stories not to return to the station.
Brian Kuebler, an investigative reporter at the ABC affiliate, said in a phone interview that he heard a commotion from his office and walked into the lobby in time to see the truck's last three rams.
"I never even saw him. I just saw the truck," Kuebler said. "That's when it started to get pretty real. This guy was intent on getting into the building. It was pretty frightening."
When police arrived, they moved everyone back, he said.
"We have the news to do and we're sitting in the parking lot," he said. "It's a little weird. I've never been the story in my career."