Man in custody after brief standoff outside U.S. courthouse

Man had pellet gun; police blocked off streets around the court building

December 19, 2013|By Ian Duncan and Justin George, The Baltimore Sun

A man put what turned out to be a pellet gun to his head Thursday outside the U.S. courthouse in downtown Baltimore, triggering a response that closed streets and emptied offices before he surrendered without incident.

At 10:15 a.m., the U.S. marshals said, the man sat on a bench in the 100 block of W. Lombard St. and put what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun to his head.

The man told marshals that he wouldn't lower the weapon until he was allowed to speak to the FBI. In response, Baltimore police, marshals and Federal Protective Service officers quickly blocked off streets with crime scene tape, police cars and Department of Homeland Security SUVs.

The major intersections between Light Street and East Pratt and East Lombard streets were closed for more than two hours. Pedestrians were barred from some areas as well.

FBI agents arrived on the scene and persuaded the man to lower his gun and surrender to marshals. He was in custody about 45 minutes after he arrived.

The pellet gun was left at the scene, as was a suitcase. It took about another hour for a bomb technician in a protective suit to approach the suitcase.

The identity of the man taken into custody was not released and it was not known if he would face any charges. No injuries were reported.

"This was a stellar performance by all agencies involved in reaction to this potential dangerous situation," Johnny Hughes, U.S. marshal for Maryland, said in a statement.

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