Father: TV crash suspect prone to outbursts
TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A man accused of slamming a stolen truck into a television station was charged Wednesday with second-degree attempted murder, and his father said he had recently become prone to violent outbursts.
“He’d be screaming ‘Oh, boy! Oh, boy!’ and sometimes he would punch the walls,” Jean-Claudy Baptiste, 64, said of his son, Vladimir. “When someone keeps screaming ‘Oh, boy! Oh, boy!’ I thought something was wrong.”
Vladimir Baptiste, 28, of Parkville, is charged with three counts of second-degree attempted murder, police said. He also faces charges of assault, burglary and malicious destruction of property and theft, online court records show. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on $750,000 bail.
At a hearing Wednesday afternoon, Baltimore County District Judge Alexandra Williams denied bail for Baptiste, saying the suspect is “obviously a threat to public safety.” Baptiste waived his right to appear before the court.
Baptiste was taken into custody Tuesday after spending nearly five hours barricaded inside WMAR-TV in Towson, watching journalists deliver live reports from just outside the building. Police say no one, including Baptiste, was injured.
According to charging documents, detectives discovered several notes Baptiste had written inside the station. One document read, “Everything is unfolding I don’t have to do anything!” signed “Love, Vladimir.”
Court documents show that Baptiste told detectives, “he is the reincarnation of ‘King Tut’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ and lives in a world of ‘multiverses’ where bad things happen to people and they disappear because they are not real.” Baptiste also said he set out on Tuesday to “close the multiverse” by crashing into the news station. Baptiste told detectives he did not intend to hurt anyone.
Baptiste’s father said detectives came to his Parkville home Tuesday afternoon while his son was still in the station.
On Tuesday, officials said Baptiste was taken for medical treatment, and police Chief James Johnson said it was clear he suffered from “emotional or mental health issues.” Johnson described Baptiste as “ranting and raving.”
Jean-Claudy Baptiste told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that his son does not have a diagnosed mental illness but underwent drug treatment a month ago.
The commotion began around noon Tuesday, when police received 911 calls describing a man demanding to be let in, and a station worker said the man insisted “I am God.” Another 911 call then reported that the man had driven a massive landscaping truck into the lobby.
But Vladimir Baptiste later seemed calm — even bored — during the standoff, posting a tweet saying, “chillin @ abc2 news waiting and yawning.” Jean-Claudy Baptiste confirmed Wednesday that the Twitter account belonged to his son.
Baptiste was holding a golf club when he was arrested, Johnson said.
By Wednesday, some damage to the building had been fixed, said Carolyn Micheli, vice president of corporate communications for the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns WMA. Restoration crews cleaned up glass, fixed doors broken in by SWAT teams and removed rubber bullets embedded in walls, Micheli said.