A local Fox affiliate in Baltimore was briefly shut down this morning after a man wearing a panda suit entered the TV station and threatened to blow it up with a suicide vest he was allegedly wearing.
The man reportedly entered the Baltimore TV station around 1 p.m. Eastern and informed the staff that he was in possession of a flash drive with information similar to the “Panama Papers” that he wanted to get out on air. Reports claim the man was wearing a “full-body white panda suit” with a surgical mask and sunglasses, reports the Washington Post.
“Someone came into the front of the building and they apparently said they had some information they wanted to get on air,” said Mike Tomko, news director for the Fox Affiliate in Baltimore.
The Baltimore TV station was evacuated shortly after it became clear that the individual in the panda suit may have been dangerous — the man himself claimed he was wearing an explosive vest underneath his panda suit.
“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 Panama Papers,” said news director Mike Tomko.
The man in the panda suit reportedly demanded that news staff let him into the TV station itself, but he was denied entry to the secured building. Reports claim that the man in the panda suit may have made prior threats against the Baltimore TV station. The building was evacuated, and police and emergency vehicles surrounded the scene.
The man in the panda suit reportedly made bizarre threats and described the contents of the flash drive he was so eager to hand over to the Baltimore TV station to one of the security guards present in the building.
“It pretty much had to do with astronomy – black holes, the sun, about it being liquid and gas, and he just wanted to say that the government was wrong in thinking about the way they do when it comes to anything in space,” said the security guard, speaking with CBS News.
Police have reportedly shot the man in the panda suit after he exited the building, reports CBS News. The unidentified individual was incapacitated, but had not responded to instructions from police. Baltimore police have sent in a bomb detection robot to inspect the man in the panda suit and what he claimed was a bomb strapped to his chest.
According to police, the suspect was not responding to or cooperating with police after being shot, and a bomb detection robot was sent in to scan the contents of the man in the panda suit’s pockets. Police describe the man as a white male in his 20s, and Fox News is reporting that he may have been a contractor of some kind. Details remain scarce as the situation continues to unfold.
Today’s bomb threat made by the man in the panda suit comes just one day after Baltimore police have found themselves in hot water yet again for an officer-involved shooting of a 13-year-old boy with a toy gun.
The boy was wounded by police officers when he was shot for allegedly brandishing or carrying a toy gun and running from police. His wounds were reported to be “non-life threatening.”
[Photo by AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]