Man threatens to blow up local news station in Michigan, leading to hours-long standoff

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Man threatens to blow up local news station, leading to standoff
A man threatened to blow up WWMT-TV news station in Kalamazoo, Michigan, leading to an hours-long standoff.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A man threatened to blow up a local TV news station in Michigan, leading to an hours-long standoff Thursday afternoon.

The man arrived outside WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo saying he had an important news story for the station to cover, so Chief Engineer George Markle went to speak with him.

"He wanted to talk to a reporter," Markle said. "I looked at the clock and said there was nobody there from news at this point in time, and he just kind of went through. When he didn't like that response he just said, you know, he's got an explosive device and just kind of started pushing his way past me."

The man told Markle he had a bomb and "wasn't afraid to die." Once the man was inside, Markle was able to lock the lobby doors to trap him, then quickly ran throughout the TV station screaming for everyone to get out.

"I grabbed my phone and my coffee and ran out. I did not wait," said Julie Arch, a promotions producer. "I know that if he's saying that, he's not joking. He would never act that way and in our business we know that something could happen and we need to get out of here."

Within minutes, all employees were guided safely off the property behind caution tape where they waited anxiously.

A Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety mobile command unit was rapidly on scene along with a K9 unit, Life EMS and the FBI. Officers negotiated with the suspect over the phone as a bomb-detecting robot was sent in.

After two hours, the man surrendered himself and is now lodged in the Kalamazoo County Jail.

WWMT-TV's general manager commended Markle for his quick response, saying: "I think George made a significant impact on the safety of many co-workers in of the building for how he responded under the circumstances that he encountered this individual."