Update (May 15):
Baltimore County Police have released the 911 calls in reference to the incident at WMAR TV on May 13.
Update (May 14 2:49 p.m.):
As a result of a bail review today, Vladimir Mehul Baptiste is now being held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.
Update (May 14):
Baltimore County Police have charged 28-year-old Vladimir Mehul Baptiste of the 1700 block of White Oak Road 21234 in connection with the incident at WMAR TV on Tuesday.
Among the charges that Vladimir Mehul Baptiste faces are three counts of attempted second degree murder. He is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $750,000 bail.
Original release (May 13):
A male suspect is in police custody after he drove a stolen truck into the ABC2 News studio around noon today and barricaded himself inside the news station.
The barricade ended around 4:35 p.m., when members of the BCoPD’s Tactical Team entered the area of the building where the suspect was located and took him into custody. The suspect has not been identified pending criminal charges and has been taken to a local hospital for an emergency evaluation. Police Chief Jim Johnson said that the suspect displayed obvious signs of mental illness, including incoherent language and rants.
No injuries to officers or ABC2 employees were reported.
The incident began shortly before noon, when Baltimore County 911 received a call for a disturbance at ABC2 News, located in the 6400 block of York Road in Precinct 6/Towson. The caller said a man was banging on the door and yelling. Within minutes, 911 received a second call reporting that someone had just rammed a large truck into the lobby of the building.
First-arriving officers did not find the suspect in the truck, and employees said they believed he was inside the station. Police evacuated station employees (one employee sheltered in place for the duration of the incident) and initiated a barricade deployment.
Tactical officers were able to determine that the suspect was on the second floor and that he was watching the situation unfold on news broadcasts. A late afternoon news briefing was delayed, Chief Johnson explained, because of concerns that officers’ safety could be compromised if the suspect learned details of the operation from the television coverage.
The suspect did not leave the ABC2 building at any point during the barricade, and officers were inside the building within minutes. There was no danger to the community beyond ABC 2.
The stolen truck belonged to a Maryland State Highway Administration subcontractor and was taken just before the barricade from a location at I-695 and York Road. The vehicle was unattended when it was taken. Police found assorted working tools in the truck, including machete sheaths. No machetes were found, nor were any firearms located. There is no indication that firearms were involved at all in this incident.
Chief Johnson explained at the briefing that officers assumed the suspect to be armed, based on the fact that he had acted violently and the presence of items such as the sheaths.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Chief Johnson praised ABC2 and the St. Pius X School, located next door to the TV station, and on lockdown during the incident for their professionalism, bravery and cooperation during this difficult situation.
They also thanked the agencies that assisted with this incident, including Baltimore City Police, Maryland State Police and the SHA.
Booking photo of Vladimir Mehul Baptiste
Front entrance of WMAR TV