A man wearing a white full-body animal costume who allegedly made a bomb threat at Fox Television’s Baltimore affiliate on Thursday was shot and wounded by a police sniper outside of the building, authorities said.
The unidentified man was shot as he emerged from Fox affiliate WBFF and ignored police orders to take his hands out of his pockets, police spokesman T.J. Smith told a news conference. Initial reports described him attired in a panda suit, but it was later clarified that he appeared to be wearing a hedgehog costume.
Smith said the man appears to be in his 20s. He remains conscious, and police are still negotiating with him.
WBFF reported on its website that the man broke into the station demanding that it cover a story about an unspecified government conspiracy.
Smith said the man had “displayed something that appeared to be wires and some other things inside his jacket that appeared to be some kind of explosive device.”
WBFF, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, said a bomb robot scanned the man for nearly an hour before officers removed his clothing, picked him up and carried him to an armored police vehicle.
Mike Tomko, the station’s news director, said on the station’s website that the man was wearing a white, one-piece panda suit with a surgical mask and sunglasses.
“He had a flash drive, said he had information he wanted to get on the air. He compared it to the information found in the Panama Papers,” Tomko said, referring to a massive leak of offshore financial data. “Apparently he had made some threats before.”
A brief video on the station’s website showed the man walking out of the station. No police or station employees were injured.
The station said it evacuated the building after the bomb threat and a fire. The station said firefighters put out a fire in the gas tank of a car in the station’s parking lot.