Vehicle rams Maryland TV station; driver not found

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A truck driven by a man claiming to be
God rammed a Baltimore-area television station Tuesday, leaving a gaping
hole in the front of the building as officers searched for the driver,
who they said may be armed, according to police and witness accounts.
Michael
Marion was in his office off the lobby of WMAR-TV’s building when he
heard someone rattling violently against the security door about 11:45
a.m. The person demanded to be let in, claiming "I am God, I am God,"
Marion said.
"I heard a series of crashes," Marion said outside
the building Tuesday afternoon. "The next thing, I looked in the lobby,
and the only thing between truck and the lobby was the final door. I
heard one final crash. I looked through the door, and by then the truck
was pulling in the lobby."
The station believes everyone inside evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft told The Associated
Press in a phone interview.
"Once
the lobby started to collapse, we knew it was time to get out," she
said. "He drove right through the doors and into the main area."
Baltimore
County police said 55 people evacuated but that they couldn’t be sure
everyone was out. Police said there may be an armed person inside, but
there had not been any reports of shots fired. A police spokeswoman said
officers assume the person is dangerous because he ran a vehicle into
an occupied building, but they know of no motive.
"As far as I know everyone is safe," Baltimore County Police Department Cpl. Brian Kelly,
standing near the scene, said.
A
hole the size of several garage doors could be seen in the front of the
building Tuesday afternoon. A school next door was locked down.
Police
received a 911 call about 11:45 about a man banging on the door and
trying to get into the station, public safety spokeswoman Elise Armacost
said. Within minutes, a call reported that a vehicle had come into the
newsroom.
Armacost called it large commercial vehicle. Officers
didn’t find the suspect in the vehicle, she said, and were still looking
for weapons.
Marion said he didn’t see anyone get out of the
truck, and he and a co-worker moved into a lower portion of the
building, where they found a fellow employee in an office who hadn’t
heard the crash. The group left through the back gate, Marion said.
"Everyone
behaved really well," said Marion, the ABC affiliate’s head of
commercial production. "People of their own volition said, ‘It’s time to
leave the building.’ No one panicked."
Groft said the station did
a headcount, though some people had hopped in cars and drove away. The
station also warned employees out on stories not to return to the
station.
WMAR broadcast its regular programs while the station was evacuated.
Brian
Kuebler, an investigative reporter, said in a phone interview that he
heard a commotion from his office and walked into the lobby in time to
see the truck’s last three rams.
"I never even saw him. I just saw
the truck," Kuebler said. "That’s when it started to get pretty real.
This guy was intent on getting into the building. It was pretty
frightening."
When police arrived, they moved everyone back, he said.
"We
have the news to do and we’re sitting in the parking lot," he said.
"It’s a little weird. I’ve never been the story in my career."
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