A man in a hedgehog suit who believed the world would end on June 3 caused an evacuation at the Fox network’s Baltimore affiliate when he invaded the building claiming to have a bomb. The suspect, named as Alex Brizzi, 25, from Howard County, Maryland, was wearing an animal onesie with a surgical mask and a red flotation device.
Police were first called to the Fox Baltimore offices at around 1:20 p.m. on April 28 during which time the building was evacuated. After a 2 hour standoff, Alex Brizzi emerged and walked towards officers. A Baltimore Police Department spokesman said that Brizzi refused orders to surrender. He was then shot four times by three police snipers. Brizzi is listed as being in serious condition after being shot in the neck, leg, wrist and buttocks. He is expected to survive. Brizzi underwent surgery on the night of April 28 due to the wound in his neck which is considered the most serious.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis Called Alex Brizzi ‘Bizarre & Dangerous’; His Bomb Was Not Real & Was Made Up of Candy Bars
Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin David described Brizzi as “bizarre and dangerous” while also calling the entire incident “unusual.” After Brizzi was taken to a local hospital, it was discovered that his bomb was not real. The device was made up of candy bars wrapped in foil with some wires attached to a motherboard that came from a smoke detector, reports the Baltimore Sun.
Davis added that too often these kind of incidents are the “bizarre behavior of a single individual.” Suspect Alex Brizzi has no criminal history.
At a press conference on April 29, it was announced that Brizzi is being charged with 2nd degree arson and malicious burning.
2. Brizzi Was Upset About the Results of April 26’s Maryland Presidential Primaries; As Well As Breaking Up With His Girlfriend
It has emerged that the man had been upset with the result of the April 26 presidential primaries. His party affiliation has not been uncovered. The voting was won by Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party, defeating Bernie Sanders. While the Republicans went for Donald Trump over John Kasich and Ted Cruz. Commissioner Davis said that investigators don’t know why Brizzi chose Fox Baltimore for his protest.
Fox Baltimore reporter Joy Lepola Stewart tweeted that Brizzi had a flash drive that he wanted to get aired on TV. Stewart says the information on the drive was about space. She also says that Brizzi believes that the U.S. Government is wrong in how they view space. At the April 29 press conference, Commissioner Kevin Davis said that the flash drive contained Brizzi’s “rants” about the end of the world.
After being downed by a sniper, a police spokesman said that the suspect still refused to co-operate with authorities. They were contacting him via a Baltimore Police Department robot that also removed Brizzi’s clothes.
His father, Edward Brizzi, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun, refuted the allegation that his son’s actions were politically motivated.
3. When He Entered the Building, Brizzi Was Calmed by Security Guard Jourael Apostolides Who Has Been Labeled a ‘Hero’
Building security guard, Jourael Apostolides, told Fox Baltimore’s Shelley Orman that the Brizzi is “upset with the government.”
Fox employee Chris Berinato told the station’s reporter Shelley Orman that he saw a car on fire in the parking lot. He says he went inside to tell Apostolides when the guard told him there was a suspicious man in the lobby. Apostolides told WBAL, “My first thought was to get him out. My first instinct was to make sure he keeps his cool head.”
Commissioner Davis commended Apostolides as a “hero” for his actions at the April 29 press conference. Davis added that he was going to try and hire the security guard.
According to Baltimore police, the vehicle was set on fire when a rag was ignited and put in the gas tank.
He added that the suspect was holding a “trigger.” Fox Baltimore photographer Paul Gessler tweeted tweet that none of the staff had been hurt during the incident. Employees of the station were kept out of the building until 8 p.m.
Berinato described the suspect as being dressed in “some kind of body suit” and a mask. WBAL reports that he was also wearing combat boots.
4. His Father Believes His Son Had a ‘Mental Breakdown’
In an interview with Fox Baltimore’s Shelley Orman, Brizzi’s father, Edward, said that he believes his son had a “mental breakdown.” He added that his son lives in the basement of his home in Elkridge, Maryland. That’s about 10 miles south-west of Baltimore.
His father said that his son was convinced the world was going to end on June 3. In 2012, Brizzi tried to overdose on Aleve. Earlier in April 2016, Brizzi was found sleeping in a neighbor’s yard and said he didn’t remember anything. Prior to that incident, Edward said that his son had been working driving his boss to work. Edward also said that he had a great relationship with his son and said they never argue.
Brizzi has two siblings, one lives in Maryland and another lives in Pennsylvania. A neighbor told the Baltimore Sun’s Tim Prudente, “I’m confused. He’s a nice person. You had no signs something like this would happen.”
5. This Incident Came a Day After a 13-Year-Old Boy Was Shot by Baltimore Police
This incident comes a day after a 13-year-old boy was shot by city police in Baltimore, according to WJZ-TV. The shooting took place close to McKim Community Center in the northeast part of the city. The boy with was holding a replica Beretta gun. Commissioner Kevin Davis told the media that officers pursued the teen and identified themselves before opening fire. Davis also emphasized the fact that the toy was a dead ringer for a real pistol.
Fox Baltimore’s offices are located about 5 miles north of where the teenager was shot. The young teen is expected to survive. The shooting occurred a week after the anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of Baltimore cops in 2015.
The building is located on 41st Street just off the Jones Falls Expressway in an area known as “Television Hill.” WJZ-TV and WBAL-TV are also located in the area, the Woodberry neighborhood in northern Baltimore.