Man crashes truck into Maryland TV station building

John Clarke
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A Baltimore county firefighter officer walks out the broken door at the entrance of the WMAR-TV station in Towson

A Baltimore county firefighter officer walks out the broken door at the entrance of the WMAR-TV station in Towson, Maryland May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Jose Magana

By John Clarke

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) - A 29-year old man who said he was God crashed a truck through the glass doors of a Maryland television news station building on Tuesday and barricaded himself inside before being arrested hours later, police and witnesses said.

The man banged on the doors of WMAR-TV in Towson, just outside of Baltimore, asking to be let inside shortly before noon. When he was refused, he crashed a truck into the lobby and made his way to the second floor, police said.

"He was ranting and raving incoherent statements. From the beginning, it was clear we were dealing with a very disturbed individual," Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said at a press conference.

Police said the suspect had a golf club when officers arrested him without incident in a second floor editing room around 4:40 p.m. He had been watching television news coverage of the incident.

"He was watching different channels, watching you report this story as the incident unfolded," Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said the suspect, while uninjured, would be taken for further medical evaluation. Criminal charges were expected to be filed later, he said.

Police said 55 people were evacuated from the building, while one safely remained in the basement during the incident.

Baltimore County Police said the vehicle was stolen Tuesday morning after being left unattended and belonged to a State Highway Administration subcontractor.

Maryland landscaping company Ashton Manor Environmental said in a statement one of its work vehicles was stolen, and believe it was used in the crash.

Brian Kuebler, a reporter at the station, said on Twitter the suspect rammed the building three times with the truck.

He "tried to get in (the) building screaming 'LET ME IN!' and said he was God," according to Kuebler's Twitter post.

(Writing and additional reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Grant McCool)