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, and a hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

He 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.

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 reporting 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.

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