Baltimore, Maryland officials reopened their federal courthouse around 1 p.m. after employees were evacuated on Thursday morning due to a gunman outside the building holding a firearm to the side of his head.
New reports coming out of the city are saying that police activity began to occur about 10:15 a.m. in the front of the courthouse, which is located on Lombard Street. That is when the man was first reported to have shown up in the area.
Officials say the man was spotted outside the United States District Courthouse. He was holding the gun to his head. The man seemed very agitated and angrily demanded to speak to someone from the FBI. He refused to lower the gun from his head until investigators from the FBI got to the location. Once he had spoken to one of the FBI representatives on scene by cellphone, he decided to surrender to the U.S. Marshals.
United States Marshals explained to the public that authorities were called over to the courthouse because the man was sitting on an outside bench near the front of the court of law and he was holding the gun to his head, threatening to shoot himself.
The individual told numerous individuals about wanting to talk with someone from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. As was stated above, the FBI was brought in and began to try and calm the man down. The FBI official that spoke with him from the cellphone was able to get him to lower the gun he had to his head and then turn himself over to the U.S. Marshals.
He was taken into their custody after nearly 45 minutes of a standoff between him and the authorities. When they examined the items the suspect had, it was discovered that the firearm which the suspect had in his possession was in fact only a pellet gun. He also had in his possession some sort of parcel, which was later cleared for potential explosives, police officials stated.
Police investigators stated that they decided to block off numerous streets during the incident including Pratt Street, and Howard all the way to Charles Ave. There were also major intersections shut down around the courthouse, which included both Light and West Lombard streets. This was all due to safety factors
U.S. Marshals were the ones who made the choice to go ahead and empty the Federal court building as a security precaution. All of the suspect’s belongings were checked and cleared for possible explosives.
Investigators stated that the investigation would continue however there were no reports of any injuries.
The identity of the man has not been released to the public at this time.
Johnny Hughes, who is a United States Marshal for the state of Maryland, released a statement to the public. It stated that the performance by all Baltimore and Federal police agencies that were involved in reaction to this possible dangerous situation was excellent.
The Baltimore, Maryland Federal Courthouse has now returned to normal business for the day now that the gunman has been removed from the scene.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post