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Federal Courthouse In Downtown Baltimore Reopens; Man Armed With Pellet Gun Taken Into Custody

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The federal courthouse in downtown Baltimore was shut down for nearly three hours after an armed man outside the building refused to drop his weapon.

Rochelle Ritchie has the latest.

It is business as usually now. But that was not the case when a man sat on a bench outside the courthouse at around 10:15 a.m. and put a gun to his head.

After 45 minutes of negotiations with the FBI, the man lowered his head and dropped the weapon. Federal agents could be seen removing the gun from inside a briefcase that belonged to man seen outside the federal courthouse on Lombard Street on Thursday morning.

The U.S. Marshals Office could not go on camera but released a statement saying,  "The subject took position on a bench in front of the courthouse and put what was believed to be a black semi-automatic hand gun to his head."

"We hunkered down in our secured location and listened for instructions by the U.S. Marshal," said Steven Eggert, paralegal.

Officials say the man demanded to speak to FBI agents and refused to drop his weapon.

The incident shut down streets all around the courthouse, leaving drivers in gridlock.

"It was just crazy. No matter which way you went, there was just bottleneck. No matter if you tried to go left, right, you couldn't go anywhere. Traffic was super slow," said Butch Ruppert, driver.

The multiple street closures left people trying to make court appointments worried.

"I've got an appointment at 2 o'clock, so I'm here right now at 1:45. Good grace of God, I made it," one man said.

The man was taken into custody.

What was thought to be a semi-automatic weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

"I just think it's really sad--the state of our nation," Eggert said.

The bomb squad was called to investigate the man's belongings, including a briefcase left outside. No explosives were found.

Why the man pulled out a gun and what he wanted to say to the FBI remains a mystery. Luckily, no one was injured.

The man's identity has not been released, as the FBI is continuing its investigation.

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