The apparently mentally ill man who rammed a stolen truck into a local news station, tweeted about the event, then watched it covered on television from inside a damaged editing room, has been charged with second-degree attempted murder. Here's what happened.
Yesterday, 28-year-old Vladimir Mehul Baptiste drove his vehicle into the lobby of the WMAR-TV news station around 12:00 p.m. The Washington Post, reports that he had stolen the unattended truck from a landscaping company before driving it to the station, and attempting to gain entry by banging on the front doors. The security guard turned Baptiste away, apparently prompting him to get back into the truck and drive, repeatedly, into the doors. Security footage shows the aggressive attack:
The event knocked the station off the air for several hours, but reporters in the station also tweeted about the attack:
So suspect may be armed. We keep getting pushed back totally out of site of station. #Team2— Brian Kuebler (@BrianfromABC2) May 13, 2014
So here is my first hand reporter's account (odd btw): suspect tried to get in building screaming LET ME IN and said he was God. 1/2 #Team2— Brian Kuebler (@BrianfromABC2) May 13, 2014
2/2: got into a landscaping truck and rammed the building like 3 times. I saw last 3 as he broke through into lobby. #Team2— Brian Kuebler (@BrianfromABC2) May 13, 2014
The incident lasted about four-and-a-half hours altogether. When officials finally entered the building, they found Baptiste, armed with a golf club, watching television coverage of the attack in an editing room on the second floor.
Baptiste, who was charged today with three counts of attempted second-degree murder, was described as emotionally disturbed in the charging documents. According to Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, Baptiste "displayed obvious signs of mental illness, including incoherent language and rants." According to the court documents, Baptiste told police that he was motivated by a desire to show that his parents "are running the multiverses." He also said that he is King Tut and Jesus Christ reincarnated, among other things.
According to Baptiste's parents, this is not the first time his illness has caused him to act erratically.
Also spoke w/Baptiste's mother who said son was hospitalized multiple times b/c of illness. Was treated as outpatient as recent as Monday.— Justin George (@justingeorge) May 14, 2014
Baptiste's father told the Associated Press that his son had recently started to experience violent outbursts. He added that Baptiste hasn't been diagnosed with a mental illness, but did undergo drug treatment last month. Hopefully, he'll get the the help he needs.