BALTIMORE (AP) – The father of a man shot and wounded by police after walking into a Baltimore TV station wearing an animal costume and a fake bomb says his son believed the world was ending and might have been trying to get the message out.
Edward Brizzi of Elkridge, Maryland, told news outlets after the shooting on Thursday that his 25-year-old son, Alex, had a breakdown two weeks ago and said he had a vision from God that the world would end next month. His son was shot four times, but is expected to survive, he said.
Edward Brizzi said he didn’t know why he chose Fox affiliate WBFF-TV on Baltimore’s TV hill.
“I think what it is he wanted to go to a media outlet so he pass his message on that the world’s going to end on June the third,” he told WBFF-TV.
The man, wearing what police spokesman T. J. Smith said was a panda suit and what employees described as a hedgehog costume, gave a flash drive to a security guard and told him he wanted the station to broadcast its contents. Police later determined that what the man claimed to be a bomb consisted of aluminum-wrapped chocolate bars duct-taped to a flotation device. Smith said police don’t know what was on the drive.
Police said the man barricaded himself inside the station after it was evacuated and his car became engulfed in flames outside as police, fire, arson, bomb squad and SWAT teams arrived. Police don’t know what caused the fire.
The man walked out of the building and into the street, where he ignored heavily armed officers’ orders to show his hands. Police shot him more than once, Smith said, and then communicated with him via a bomb-detecting robot.
When the man removed the fake bomb, paramedics rushed to him and put him in an ambulance, Smith said. Police have not released the man’s name, identifying him only as a man from nearby Howard County.
About two weeks ago, Alex Brizzi broke up with his girlfriend and appeared to have a breakdown, Edward Brizzi told media outlets. He was found sleeping in a neighbor’s yard and it took seven police officers to hold him down as he was taken to a local hospital, he said.
Brizzi said his son, who lives in the basement of his home, had been reserved since his breakdown, but he didn’t have any way of making a bomb and his father didn’t know he was planning anything like this.
“What he was doing was probably putting himself out there thinking that he wanted to die, I think,” he told the station.
His wife found something with wires in their son’s room Wednesday night when their son was out, but they didn’t think anything of it, Edward Brizzi said.
“It just didn’t connect,” he said.
Edward Brizzi said he agrees with how police handled the situation.
“They’ve got to do their job, they can’t assume it’s candy bars wrapped around his side,” Edward Brizzi said. “I’m a firm believer in police.
Edward Brizzi said he and his wife couldn’t force Alex Brizzi to get treatment after his breakdown since he is an adult, but he said he believes his son will go to a mental health center after his recovery.
“We really didn’t think he was a risk to himself and he’s never been a risk to anyone else,” he said.