What to Know
- The man called the child support office upset that his tax refund is being garnished to pay for overdue child support.
- He threatened to blow himself up in front of the child support office.
- The call taker stayed on the phone with him as he drove from Baltimore until police stopped in Rockville about two hours later.
A man threatened to blow himself up and harm a Maryland child support office, a judge and his own family Thursday, according to authorities.
The man called the Office of Child Support Enforcement about 9 a.m. Thursday morning upset that his tax refund is being garnished to pay for overdue child support, and he said he wanted to hurt his ex-wife and 3-year-old child as well as employees at the child support office in the Maryland Department of Human Resources building on Monroe Street in Rockville, just across from the Montgomery County Courthouse. He also threatened an unidentified judge.
“He said he was going to blow himself up in front of the child support office,” Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin.
The call taker stayed on the phone with the suspect and kept in contact as the suspect drove from Baltimore to Rockville.
“He was very angry this morning based on the call taker that actually spoke to him,” Popkin said. “This is one of those situations that you can never assume what his motives were or why he said that.”
Montgomery County Police spotted the suspect in Wheaton and followed him into Rockville, pulling him over before 11 a.m. on Falls Road in area away from homes and buildings. The call taker was still on the phone with the suspect when he was stopped.
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"We are grateful to our call center staff, who contacted police and were able to keep the individual on the phone for an extensive period of time, thereby aiding the police in their efforts to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution,” the Department of Human Resources said in statement. “Our mission at DHR is to protect vulnerable individuals, children and families, and that's what we did here today."
Falls Road was closed for a few hours while the Montgomery County bomb squad searched the car. The bomb squad first sent in a robot and didn’t see anything, so they sent in a bomb technician in a suit who also didn’t find anything, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Dan Ogren said.
“The sheriff’s K9 seemed to indicate that there was a possibility of something in the vehicle, and that’s why they called us to do a further search, but our search revealed no evidence of explosives in the vehicle,” Ogren said.
Some employees at the child support office sheltered in place while others evacuated.
Security around the courthouse was increased.
Detectives continue to interview the man, who hasn’t been charged yet. They want to get a warrant to search his home.
Police are protecting his ex-wife and child.