Fox News has reported on a bomb threat that took place in Baltimore, at the Fox TV 45 headquarters. Reportedly, a man wearing a panda suit entered the Fox 45 Baltimore headquarters with a flash drive in hand. The costumed man demanded that the contents of the flash drive be made public, via television, immediately. He wanted to enter the station. When security personnel denied him entry, and informed him that he would have to slide the thumb drive through an opening in the window so it could be reviewed by producers prior to going on the air, the man threatened to blow up the headquarters, stating he had a bomb on his person, under his panda suit.
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@cbsbaltimore) April 28, 2016
The man, a local contractor, appeared to be in his 20s and refused to cooperate with law enforcement officials. A spokesperson for the police department, T.J. Smith, confirmed that when the man exited the Fox 45 building, he was wearing a white panda costume, a surgical mask, and sunglasses. It has not been confirmed whether or not the man actually had a bomb at the time his threat was made. However, he did reportedly light a car on fire in the parking lot prior to entering the building. As a result, the statements he made about having a bomb under his costume were taken very seriously by authorities.
— Simon Ostler (@SimonOstler) April 28, 2016
The station security guard who first encountered the man inside the entry vestibule spoke on the incident.
“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.”
News director Mike Tomko told reporters that the Panama Papers had been released earlier this month and were basically an exposé of the tax-avoidance habits of public leaders worldwide and their entourages. Tomko also stated that another employee at Fox had received a bomb threat earlier in the day. However, he was not certain whether or not the two threats were related.
Once authorities were on the scene, and the man refused to remove his hands from his pockets, a sniper shot him. Cameras continued to roll as a bomb robot scanned the man’s body for almost an hour. Once the scan was complete and authorities were confident about the safety and security of the situation, police removed the man’s clothing. He was then picked up and carried to an armored van. Within minutes, the man was moved to an ambulance. His medical state was not immediately obvious, and there’s still no word on his condition.
At this time, the identity of the suspect and the name of the company by whom he is employed are being withheld by investigators. Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told reporters that bomb technicians and special agents from their Baltimore field office responded quickly. An incident command post was established and the FBI’s Baltimore field office monitored the situation closely, offering assistance to the police department and on-scene personnel.
Firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene and arrived quickly to distinguish the flames of the car fire, reportedly started by the panda-suit wearing suspect. The station in question is located at the bottom of TV Hill in Baltimore. Two other television stations and one radio station are located in the area. Fox 45 has announced that a newscast will be conducted during its regular evening time slot.
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