Suspect charged in Fox45 bomb threat

Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 23:30:57-04

Baltimore Police said 25-year-old Alex Michael Brizzi faces numerous felony and misdemeanor charges after he walked into the Fox 45 TV station Thursday afternoon wearing what appeared to be a bomb.

Brizzi, of the 6300 block of Ducketts Lane in Elkridge, Md., has been charged with second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, threat of arson, four counts of reckless endangerment, and possession of a phony destructive device.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. police and fire officials responded to the FOX 45 station on 41st Street in North Baltimore after a bomb threat had been reported. A car was set on fire in the station's parking lot shortly thereafter.

Police said Brizzi entered the building wearing a hedgehog onesie, a surgical mask and a red flotation device strapped to his body, and spoke to a security officer through glass in the building's vestibule. The security officer observed what appeared to be an explosive device strapped to the Howard County man, according to police, and alerted staff to evacuate. The security officer continued speaking with Brizzi while employees got out of the building.

"We're all trying to get our stories started for the day and that's when JR, our security guard, came very quickly into the newsroom with a lot of urgency and said you guys have to get out," said WBFF Reporter Paul Gessler.

Brizzi told the security employee that he had a USB flash drive and wanted to air its contents on TV.

"what we know at this point is that flash drive contained video rants of Brizzi talking about the end of the world," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.  "Still examining the contents of that flash drive."

Fire officials put out the fire set in the parking lot. Once employees were evacuated, the security officer made his way out of a back door while Brizzi stayed in the building's vestibule. 

At approximately 3 p.m. Brizzi left the building on his own.

"SWAT officers were positioned close by in the parking lot and they gave him many, many, many verbal commands to stop and comply," said Davis.

He continued to walk toward officers with one hand in his pocket and wearing what appeared to be an explosive device strapped around his torso. 

Police then fired on Brizzi, hitting him at least three times. Brizzi's father tells ABC 2 News he was shot in the neck, wrist, leg and buttocks.  

Police then used a robot to disarm Brizzi. The device was later revealed to be a life jacket rigged with wires, chocolate candy bars wrapped in aluminum foil and a motherboard from a smoke detector attached to what looked like a detonator.

"You can see how sophisticated it was to look like something real with the wiring and how meticulous you have to be to crack a motherboard out of a smoke detector and hook it up to look like something," Baltimore Police Spokesperson, T.J. Smith said.

Searches done on Brizzi's car, Fox 45, and Brizzi's Howard County home did not turn up any real bombs or explosives.  Police are still investigating the incident, but say it's clear Brizzi had a plan.

"It appears from some evidence that was collected that this was something he thought about," Smith said.

Police said Brizzi's hedgehog costume is believed to associated with Japanese anime culture.

Brizzi was transported to Shock Trauma and is in serious but stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.  He is under police guard, and when he is well enough, Brizzi will be given a psychiatric evaluation and charged.

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