BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A man claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest threatened a Baltimore TV station Thursday afternoon, and was later shot by police after walking out of the building.
Investigator Mike Hellgren has more on the charges and the search for a motive.
At around 12:30 p.m. Friday Baltimore police identified the suspect as 25-year-old Alex Brizzi of Elkridge, Howard County. Brizzi is currently under guard at Shock Trauma, where he’s being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police say there is a warrant for his arrest. He will be charged with felonies and misdemeanors when he’s well enough and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The most serious of the charges is arson for setting his car on fire in the parking lot.
“He committed some very, very serious crimes yesterday and we need to hold him accountable,” said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “But he also appears to be in need of some sort of help. Both of those things can move together.”
Police say the explosive device Brizzi claimed to have when he walked into the Fox 45 building in the Woodberry section of Baltimore around 1:20 p.m. Thursday was actually a life preserver rigged with candy bars and foil. Another device meant to look like a detonator was made from the motherboard of a smoke detector.
“All of these wires, none of it had the capacity to cause an explosion but it had the look that it could cause an explosion,” TJ Smith said. “He didn’t have the ability to hurt anyone in hindsight with what he had, but it appears from some evidence we’re collecting this is something he thought about.”
A security guard with Fox 45 told WJZ reporter George Solis Thursday that Brizzi walked into the station wearing a hedgehog onesie outfit and a surgical mask, claiming he had a bomb.
“He pretty much said he had a bomb on him and that he … had a message that he needed to be heard,” a security guard with Fox 45 said. Brizzi also had a flash drive containing video rants about the end of the world on June 3.
“It pretty much had to do with anything with 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.”
WATCH: Fox 45 Bomb Threat Surveillance Video
Fox 45 was evacuated, and just after 3 p.m., the suspect walked out of the station, refusing to take his hands out of his pockets, according to Baltimore police.
Police say three officers then fired at Brizzi after he refused to cooperate. He was shot at least three times in the leg, buttock and neck. Brizzi fell to the ground, but police say they could not render first aid because he kept his hand on the detonator device.
“You see when the shots are striking him, you see he keeps on going,” Davis said. “He had his hand on what appeared to be a detonator so if we were to have used less lethal, that wouldn’t have killed him and he would be in a position to detonate if in fact that was a real device.”
Police used a robot to get close to Brizzi to help them retrieve the vest he claimed was a bomb, and determine it was not a threat.
No injuries besides Brizzi’s were reported in relation to the incident.
Just before 4:30 p.m., Brizzi was taken away from the scene in an ambulance.
On Thursday night, the ATF searched his home in Elkridge for hours. No explosives were found.
Brizzi’s father told WJZ late Thursday night that his son had recently experienced a major shift in attitude.
“We really didn’t see this coming. This happened so fast. It’s only been a couple of weeks. 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,’” Ed Brizzi told WJZ.
Before news of the bomb threat broke, police say Brizzi set his car on fire in the Fox 45 parking lot.
Fox 45 reporter Paul Gessler live streamed the incident on Twitter, which showed flames in the vehicle’s gas tank. The fire was put out by fire department officials.
Police do not believe there is any connection to organized terrorism here, and say that Brizzi has no criminal past.
Social media postings show he was a fan of Japanese anime, explaining his costume.
It’s still not clear why he chose Fox 45, but police say it’s clear Brizzi had a plan. Investigators are now looking into what exactly it was he intended to do.