TOWSON, MD. (WJZ) — The man who police say drove a truck through the front lobby of WMAR-TV remains in custody. His own mother blames his mental illness for his bizarre actions that day.
Derek Valcourt spoke with that woman about the mental health care his family tried to get for him.
They worried something horrible could happen. They say they begged doctors at psychiatric hospitals to keep him, but say no one was listening.
“And I thank God too nobody died. Because he could have killed a lot of people,” said Mae Baptiste, suspect’s mother.
Haitian immigrant Mae Baptiste doesn’t want her face shown–she’s still raw with pain–days after her ranting and raving 28-year-old son, Vladimir Baptiste, demanded to be let in to WMAR-TV and then rammed a stolen landscaping truck into the lobby of the building.
Vladimir caused damage, an evacuation and an hours-long standoff with police before he was eventually arrested.
“The first time I know it’s something was wrong, that was last year,” his mother said.
His family tells a story of Vladimir’s rapidly deteriorating mental health over the last two years, including both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care. His sister tells WJZ they repeatedly begged hospital officials not to discharge him.
“We’ve been trying–this is our problem. We’ve been trying and screaming and ranting our very best. Every time he goes involuntarily into an inpatient program, we tell them you have to keep him, he is not OK,” his sister said.
“Now just Monday they discharged him and had a happy goodbye party for him. The day after, this happens. So we knew this. We kept telling them something is wrong with our brother,” she continued.
“To be honest with you, we thought that if he didn’t get the help that he would have eventually probably killed himself,” she said.
Baptiste’s family is now frustrated and worried he’s being treated as a criminal instead of being treated as someone with mental illness.
“He fell through the cracks. If he had the care he needed, he would not be where he is now,” his mother said.
The family says they have not been able to see Vladimir since his arrest. They say they have been told he is on suicide watch.
Vladimir Baptiste is being held without bail on a long list of criminal charges.
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