Washington, D.C., police commander Melvin Gresham, second from left, accompanied by other officers, stands at the broken front door to the local Fox broadcast affiliate after a man was shot by a security guard while trying to break into the lobby of the building on October 22, 2018. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Unarmed man shot trying to storm local TV station in Washington, DC

In the afternoon of October 22, 2018, a man tried to force his away into the offices of Fox 5, a local television station in Washington D.C. The station released security camera footage showing the man bashing in two sets of glass doors with his foot, eventually gaining entrance to the lobby. There, two Fox 5 security guards confronted him. Journalists at the station reported that the security guards attempted to use pepper spray on the intruder, before one opened fire.

Local news outlets later identified the suspect as 38-year-old George Odemns.

In a live televised press conference on the same afternoon, D.C. Police Commander Melvin Gresham said the case was under investigation, and offered few details, saying that “an individual attempted to break into the Fox5 News station,” and that a security guard fired “one shot into his upper torso.” He said the suspect was unarmed. He did not give a motive for the attempted breach of the news organization

A number of local outlets reported that Odemns had sent conspiracy-laden, ranting emails to a number of Fox 5 reporters in the past, and that local police know him as suffering from mental illness. Fox 5 is a local Washington, D.C. affiliate of the national Fox Television Stations network of stations.

The local NBC station NBC 4 reported that Odemns “is homeless and has a history of contacting local TV news stations, including Fox 5, WUSA and News4, in long, rambling emails.” The local radio station WTOP reported that Odemns’s emails complained that he was “under the influence of a microchip implanted in his head” and that he had in the past “filed dozens of lawsuits against multiple groups including the NRA [National Rifle Association], the Murdoch family [which controls Fox and several news and entertainment outlets globally], and the Trump Organization.” NBC 4 cited unnamed sources as saying that Odemns attempted to breach the Fox station to get in contact with President Trump.

The Washington Post confirmed that court records show more than a dozen dismissed lawsuits in recent years, in which Odemns claimed that a microchip planted in his head was controlling him. In 2014, he sued Fox 5 in D.C. Superior Court, claiming the station controlled him with an “illegal nano-chip.”

Reporters at Fox 5 contacted by CPJ declined to discuss the exact contents of the emails their station had received from Odemns. On October 23, he was in stable condition and police announced he would be charged with burglary, according to news reports.