A 28-year-old man charged with ramming a truck into a Baltimore television station Tuesday told police he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and King Tutankhamun and wanted to expose what he called the “multiverses” where bad things happen to people and they disappear, according to court documents filed Wednesday.
Police said Vladimir Mehul Baptiste roamed through WMAR-TV’s headquarters north of Baltimore — prompting a 41 / 2-hour standoff that knocked the ABC affiliate (Channel 2) off the air until after 5 p.m. — and was finally arrested as he watched newscasts of himself from an editing office while holding a golf club.
Authorities said they took Baptiste, who lives in Parkville, Md., north of Baltimore, for psychiatric evaluation before charging him with three counts of attempted second-degree murder and other charges. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center without bail.
In a charging document filed in the county’s District Court, police said Baptiste told them that he was “waiting for the ‘multiverse’ to close” and that he had targeted the television station because “he wanted to expose his parents because they are ‘running the multiverses’ and he didn’t intend to hurt anyone.”
Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson had told reporters Tuesday that Baptiste was shouting incomprehensibly when he was arrested. The suspect’s mother told WMAR-TV that her son is mentally ill and had been institutionalized.
The documents provide additional details into the incident that police said began when Baptiste stole a landscaping truck around 11:45 a.m. from a work site near the Baltimore Beltway and Interstate 83. Police said the keys to the truck were in the ignition. The suspect told police he “saw an opportunity to ‘expose the multiverses’ and stated that by smashing the truck into WMAR-TV he could ‘close the multiverse’ that WMAR-TV represented.”
Police said Baptiste drove south to the station’s headquarters on York Road, just north of the Baltimore City line, and approached the front entrance. Video surveillance posted on WMAR’s Internet site shows him pulling hard several times on the locked glass doors, but a guard refused to let him inside.
Bruce Henn, building supervisor for the station, told police Baptiste became angry when he wasn’t allowed in and attempted to “rip the door open,” according to the court papers.
Paul Wilkinson, director of engineering for WMAR, told police Baptiste said: “If you aren’t going to let me in, I have something for you.” He then, according to police, “turned and left, carrying a blackpack slung over his shoulder.”
The man is seen on video climbing into the truck and driving into the entrance. He hit the doors, backed up and rammed them repeatedly until the truck was entirely in the lobby, about 20 feet from the station’s newsroom.
“Fleeing WMAR-TV associates” told police that Baptiste “grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed into the air.” Henn told police Baptiste also sprayed the extinguisher over the front of the truck.
“The Suspect then ran up the steps of the lobby and onto the second floor carrying a ‘rigid’ black bag,” police said in the court documents. Authorities got 56 people in the building safely outside, though one employee who was in the basement was told to remain there because it was safer. That person, police said, fed police information about the
Baptiste, according to the police document, barricaded himself in a second-floor office. A video feed from the room showed him watching news coverage of the incident. WMAR said Baptiste posted messages on Twitter during the standoff, once writing: “chillin @ abc2 news waiting and yawning.” The station said it verified his Twitter account with his mother. The Washington Post tried to reach her but was unsuccessful.
The court document says that while in that room, Baptiste taped pieces of paper on the window facing police with the phrases:
“I am God almighty!”
“I gave you everything you never earned it.”
“[Expletive] your multiverses! You have created to hurt my people!”
“I’m here to save you all from the energies.”
“You are in the wrong timeline.”
Baptiste also told police that ‘Malaysian Flight 370’ and the ‘kidnapping of the Nigerian Schoolgirls’ were examples of the multiverses in that they never actually happened.”
Police said officers found several machete sheaths in the truck, but the landscape workers had the machetes and none of the blades were in the truck. Police said Baptiste was armed only with tools from the truck and the golf club.
Dana Hedgpeth contributed to