- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BALTIMORE (AP) - Forced from their TV station after a man claiming to be God drove a truck into the lobby Tuesday, journalists with ABC affiliate WMAR used cellphone photos, the web and social media to report on the story.

Everyone inside the station evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft told The Associated Press in a phone interview. About 120 employees work there, according to the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the station.

Police took the man into custody about 4:30 p.m.

During the incident. WMAR put a text story and photos on its website, but there was no video. The site carried streaming video from another Baltimore station, WJZ. Employees posted tweets on Twitter throughout the afternoon, and some were interviewed by other media.

K.C. Robertson, a spokesman for WJZ, said Scripps reached out to his station, which gave WMAR permission to use WJZ’s feed. “It was just a public service to all Baltimore viewers,” he said.

WJZ worked with WMAR technicians to get the station back on the air. WMAR’s transmitter is in WJZ’s building, Robertson said.

WMAR resumed broadcasting shortly after 5 p.m., Robertson said.

Anchor Jamie Costello broadcast from outside the station, then, as workers were allowed to return, from inside. His broadcast showed the truck still in the lobby, crashed into a staircase.

Costello did the standup broadcast for nearly two hours, as the station interrupted its regular programming. He interviewed his co-workers as they resumed their duties at their workstations.

Costello and other staffers praised two fellow employees: Nic Hall, who fed information by phone to police the basement during the barricade, and a security guard, who refused to let the suspect in when he initially approached the door on foot.

The other local stations interrupted their regular programming to cover the incident live. WMAR continued to broadcast its regular, syndicated programming from the network, according to Carolyn Micheli, vice president of corporate communications for the E.W. Scripps Co., which owns WMAR.

Micheli said one of the station’s satellite trucks was off the property on assignment when the building was evacuated and a second one is heading to Baltimore from Scripps’ Washington bureau.

Scripps has an employee assistance program to help anyone affected by the incident.

Twenty-four-hour security will be posted at the station once police allow employees back in, she said.


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