Remember that odd story from a few days ago about a man wearing a “panda” costume who threated to blow up a Baltimore TV station? According to Baltimore police, the man’s name is Alex Brizzi and he was wearing a hedgehog costume (not a panda). Reuters reports Brizzi had recently become convinced the world was about to end:
The suspect’s father, Ed Brizzi, told NBC’s WBAL-TV that his son had had problems with depression in recent years.
“About two weeks ago, Alex had some kind of a breakdown and came to us and said he had a vision from God and that he thought the world was going to end on June 3,” he said.
“I think that’s why he went to Fox, to try and warn all the people that the world was going to end on June 3.”
CNN adds a bit more from Brizzi’s father:
He said Alex Brizzi lost his job and broke up with his girlfriend, and appeared to have had a nervous breakdown.
But he’d been doing well at home, Edward Brizzi said, adding that his son lives in their basement.
“He’d been acting OK … you know, just a little bit reserved,” the father said. “But … nothing that would indicate he was going to do what he did. “
Brizzi allegedly lit the gas tank of his car on fire but the “bomb vest” he was wearing was actually a life preserver with chocolate wrapped in tinfoil attached to it. He also added some wires and a circuit board to make it look more like a bomb vest.
He gave the TV station, a Baltimore Fox affiliate, a flash drive which contained videos he wanted the station to air. Police Commissioner Kevin Davis described the videos as “rants of Brizzi talking about the end of the world.”
When Brizzi left the station he was shot 3 times by police after refusing to take his hands out of his pockets. Brizzi survived and is at a hospital in stable condition. Brizzi is being charged with two felonies, 2nd degree arson and 1st degree malicious burning. He was also charged with several misdemeanor counts including one for wearing a fake bomb vest.
This incident is reminiscent of a situation that happened in 2010 when James Jay Lee entered a Discovery Channel building and took hostages. Lee was a critic of the network who had previously distributed a manifesto demanding they “broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet.” In his view that meant, “pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.” Police shot and killed Lee after he pulled a gun and aimed it at one of his hostages.