The man who entered a Baltimore TV station dressed as a panda (or hedgehog) and threatened to blow up the building has been identified by a Maryland resident named Edward Brizzi as his 25-year-old son, Alex.
The young man has still not formally been identified by authorities as the person who walked into the offices of Baltimore TV station WBFF Thursday wearing a hoax bomb, NBC News reported. He was ultimately shot four times after he left the building and is now undergoing exploratory surgery.
Police determined that the bomb he claimed to be wearing was actually chocolate candy bars wrapped in tin foil, strung together with wires, and strapped to a motherboard, Fox Baltimore reported.
No one was hurt in an incident Baltimore police have called “bizarre,” and no charges have been filed. He’s expected to survive.
Mrs. Brizzi described his son as a nice kid who recently had a mental breakdown following a breakup with his girlfriend. He was awarded custody when he was 16; he also revealed that his mother has a history of mental illness.
Alex hasn’t been diagnosed with any mental illness, however, his father described some unusual behavior leading up to Thursday’s hoax bomb incident.
“About two weeks ago, (he) came to me and said that he had a revelation from God and Jesus that there was going to be a terrible event,” Mr. Brizzi recalled.
Alex revealed that he needed to tell people what was going to happen, which he believed will occur on June 3.
Three days later, he was found sleeping in a neighbor’s yard. When he was found, “it took seven policemen to hold him down,” Mr. Brizzi recounted. His son didn’t remember anything about the incident, but he had some kind of “break” after a breakup and “wanted to die.” He was hospitalized for four days.
Since that incident, Edward remembered that his child, who was “really nice, never argued, never fought, never hurt anybody,” changed.
On Thursday at about 1 p.m., Alex allegedly headed to the Baltimore TV station wearing what police called a “panda outfit onesie” (but employees described as a hedgehog), a red vest-like device, surgical mask, sunglasses, and what he claimed was a bomb.
He set his car on fire in the parking lot before entering the building to demand the TV station air a story about a government conspiracy, a security guard said. The information he wanted to share was on a flash drive.
The drive contained information about the end of the world and the need for people to repent. Reports also suggest that the young man spoke about a government cover-up and “compared it to the information found in the Panama Papers,” the TV station’s news director said.
The guard kept the intruder out of the TV station’s newsroom and called 911. SWAT arrived, and he hid inside a vestibule and threatened to blow up the building. After a time, he went outside with his hands in his pockets. Baltimore police spied a suspicious wire leading from his arm to the device on his chest and suspected a bomb. After he refused to take his hands out of his pockets, the man was shot by a sniper four times — in the neck, wrist, buttock, and right leg.
Eventually, the hoax bomb was removed with a robot as he lay in the street wounded.
The security guard who spoke to Brizzi told CBS News that the flash drive’s contents were mostly about “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.”
Alex is now in a Baltimore hospital being treated for his gunshot wounds. His father said that doctors are worried about the neck wound and plan exploratory surgery. Edward called Thursday’s incident out of character.
“We don’t argue. We don’t fight. He’s always nice and but he just had a mental breakdown. We really didn’t see this coming. We were looking at him, trying to assess him, trying to figure out what to do. He’s 25 years old, so I can’t say, ‘You’ve got to go into the hospital.'”
[Image via Alex Brizzi Facebook]