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Man charged with attempted murder for Maryland TV station crash

By John Clarke

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (Reuters) - A Maryland man who crashed a stolen landscaping truck into a television station lobby has been charged with three counts of second-degree attempted murder, police said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Vladimir Baptiste, 28, of Parkville, Maryland, is alleged to have banged on the doors of ABC news affiliate WMAR-TV in Towson on Tuesday, claiming he was God, the Baltimore County Police Department and witnesses said.

When refused entry, he smashed the truck into the station's lobby, exited the vehicle and went to the second floor. Officers arrested him about five hours later in an editing room, where he was carrying a golf club and watching television news coverage of the incident.

In one Twitter post, he taunted, "Chillin @ abc2 news waiting and yawning." Police said Baptiste was raving and incoherent.

He also is charged with three counts of first-degree assault and burglary, police said in a statement. He is being held on $750,000 bail.

Police said 55 people were evacuated from the building, while one safely remained in the basement during the incident.

The suspect's mother, Merizia Saindor Baptiste, told reporters her son had a history of drug abuse.

"I heard that on the TV, but I didn't know Vladimir would be able to do that, and I was shocked," she said.

(Editing by Ian Simpson and Tom Brown)

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