in panda suit shot after alleged bomb threat at Baltimore Fox affiliate
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[April 29, 2016]
(Reuters) - A man wearing a white
panda suit who allegedly made a bomb threat at Fox Television's
Baltimore affiliate on Thursday was shot and wounded by police outside
the building, authorities said.
Three Baltimore police officers opened fire on the man as he
emerged from WBFF and ignored police orders to take his hands out of
his pockets, police spokesman T.J. Smith told a news conference. The
suspect was in serious but stable condition at a hospital.
Smith said the man had "displayed something that appeared to be
wires and some other things inside his jacket that appeared to be
some kind of explosive device." The device turned out to be composed
of harmless materials, including chocolate candy bars wrapped in tin
foil, he said.
WBFF reported on its website that the suspect, described by police
as a 25-year-old man from Howard County, Maryland, broke into the
station demanding that it cover a story about an unspecified
government conspiracy. The station said the suspect made a bomb
threat during the incident.
WBFF, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group <SBGI.O>, said a
bomb robot scanned the man for nearly an hour before officers
removed his clothing, picked him up and carried him to an armored
Station News Director Mike Tomko said on the station's website that
the man was wearing a white, one-piece panda suit with a 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 information found in the Panama
Papers," Tomko said, referring to a massive leak of offshore
financial data. "Apparently he had made some threats before."
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A brief video on the station's website showed the man walking out of
the station. No police or station employees were injured.
The station said it evacuated the building after the bomb threat and
a car fire outside. It said firefighters put out a fire in the gas
tank of the car, which authorities said was associated with the
suspect, in the station's parking lot.
Authorities have not determined a motive for the suspect's behavior
and said he was not cooperating with the police investigation.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Additional reporting by
Curtis Skinner; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)
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