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Police sniper shoots man who said he had bomb at TV station

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A police sniper shot a man who walked into a TV station lobby wearing a full animal costume and surgical mask and displaying what appeared to be an explosive device on his chest.

Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith said the man was alive and conscious and communicating with authorities on Thursday through a robot designed to detect explosives.

Smith says officers and paramedics cannot approach the man until they can determine he doesn’t have an explosive device or until any such device has been neutralized.

Smith said the man walked into the lobby of a Fox television affiliate and made a complaint about the government. Police say the suspect walked outside, followed by heavily armed officers.

Smith says the suspect was shot after he refused repeated demands to show his hands.

WBFF employees tweeted videos discussing the threat, which they said was made by a man who appeared there in person.

WBFF reported fire crews responded and put out a fire which appeared to have been set in the gas tank of a car in the station’s parking lot.

“Someone came into the front of the building and they apparently said that they had some information they wanted to get on the air,” FOX45 news director Mike Tomko told reporters. “I came down at one point not knowing the person was in the lobby, near the vestibule area. He talked to me and was wearing what appears to be a full body white panda suit, 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. I told him, ‘I can’t let you in, you’re going to have to leave the flash drive here and slide it through the opening.’ He wouldn’t do that. Apparently he had made some threats before.”