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Baltimore County executive: Suspect in TV station crash taken into custody; no injuries

Police officers work outside WMAR-TV, after a truck driven by a man rammed the Baltimore-area television station Tuesday, May 13, 2014 leaving a gaping hole in the front of the building, in Towson, Md. Police were still searching for the driver. They said they didn't know of a motive and didn't find weapons in the truck, but they assumed the driver may be dangerous because he ran into the occupied building. The station believes everyone inside evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft said. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

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Police officers work outside WMAR-TV, after a truck driven by a man rammed the Baltimore-area television station Tuesday, May 13, 2014 leaving a gaping hole in the front of the building, in Towson, Md. Police were still searching for the driver. They said they didn't know of a motive and didn't find weapons in the truck, but they assumed the driver may be dangerous because he ran into the occupied building. The station believes everyone inside evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft said. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

TOWSON, Md. - A man claiming to be God rammed a truck through the front of a Baltimore-area television station Tuesday, leaving a gaping hole as reporters and other staff fled the building.

Police took a suspect into custody Tuesday afternoon, about five hours after the incident, officials said at a news conference. The suspect was not injured but is mentally ill and has been taken for treatment, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said.

"It's very clear the subject is suffering from emotional or mental health issues," Police Chief James Johnson said.

Michael Marion was in his office off WMAR-TV's lobby when he heard someone rattling violently against the security door about 11:45 a.m. The man demanded to be let in, claiming "I am God, I am God," Marion said.

"I heard a series of crashes," Marion said. "The next thing, I looked in the lobby, and the only thing between truck and the lobby was the final door. I heard one final crash. I looked through the door, and by then the truck was pulling in the lobby."

The station believed everyone inside evacuated safely, News Director Kelly Groft told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

"Once the lobby started to collapse, we knew it was time to get out," Groft said. "He drove right through the doors and into the main area."

A hole the size of several garage doors could be seen in the front of the two-story building, with a newsroom and studio on the first floor. About 120 people work there, according to station owner the E.W. Scripps Co. The building sits on a busy street connecting the suburbs with Baltimore, near the city-county line, and though parts of the road were blocked, drivers could still access an adjacent shopping centre.

Next door, a school had been locked down, but students — escorted by staff to their parents — began leaving about 2:30 p.m.

The truck belonged to a landscaping company and was stolen from a work site less than 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the scene, police said.

Police received a call about 11:45 about a man banging on the door and trying to get inside, public safety spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. Within minutes, a call reported that a vehicle had come into the newsroom.

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