On Thursday, April 28th at about 1 p.m., Alex Brizzi, 25, headed to the FOX 45 Baltimore TV station wearing what police called a “panda outfit onesie”, a red vest-like device, surgical mask, sunglasses, and what he claimed was a bomb.
Brizzi had set his car on fire in the parking lot before entering the TV station building. Brizzi entered the TV Station’s secure vestibule and demanded access to the TV station so he could air a story about a government conspiracy. The information he wanted to share was on a flash drive.
The security guard kept the Brizzi out of the TV station’s newsroom and called 911. The vestibule was secured and access to the rest of the TV Station required security to buzz personnel through a secure door. While keeping Brizzi talking the security guard implemented an evacuation of the rest of the FOX 45 building.
SWAT arrived on scene, and Brizzi hid inside a vestibule and threatened to blow up thebuilding. After an hour and a half, Brizzi went voluntarily outside with his hands in his pockets. He then began to approach SWAT forces. SWAT demanded Brizzi stop and remove his hands from his pockets.
Brizzi refused to take his hands out of his pockets as he continued to advance towards the police. SWAT then engaged Brizzi with small arms. Brizzi was shot by SWAT 3 times, one shot by three different officers. Brizzi sustained wounds in the neck, wrist, buttock, and right leg. Due to the shot to the neck, Brizzi collapsed to the ground. SWAT withdrew and the bomb squad sent their robot to perform a reconnaissance of the explosive vest Brizzi claimed he had strapped to his chest.
The bomb squad used their robot to communicate with Brizzi and try and get him to remove the suspected bomb from his person. Brizzi declined to comply with the bomb squad’s demands. The bomb squad utilized the robot to remove Brizzi’s clothing and investigated the suspected bomb strapped to Brizzi’s chest. Eventually, the bomb was removed by the robot and was moved to a safe area to be further investigated. The vest bomb turned out to be a hoax.
The hoax bomb turned out to be chocolate bars wrapped in aluminum foil and wires. The wires led to a computer motherboard attached to a red life preserver. No explosives or detonators were found. SWAT then approached Brizzi, secured him and took him to EMS personnel for treatment of his wounds.
SWAT personnel got too close to the suspect. If that had been an actual explosive vest and it detonated SWAT personnel would have been wounded from primary and secondary fragmentation.
Shots to the head are the only shots that should be taken on a suspect with a bomb strapped to them. Loose fitting clothing could have hid more explosives around the suspect’s waist, groin and legs. Shooting the suspect in the wrist and leg could have potentially set an explosive device off. If the suspect was holding a potential trigger to the alleged bomb he had strapped to him it could have had a “Dead man” switch. That type of switch initiates a bomb if pressure from the hand is released. A shot to the wrist could have inadvertently released the grip of the suspect’s hand, setting the bomb off.
Bomb Squad ACTIONS
Bomb Squad personnel performed admirably. They utilized the full range of capabilities their robot was capable of. They made the correct decision to remotely interrogate the suspected bomb utilizing the robot. They were able to separate the suspected bomb from the suspect and remove it immediately to a safe area.