New Mexico TV station evacuates, cancels newscasts after trespasser enters building twice

Posted at 4:28 AM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-02 04:28:34-04

(CNN) — KRQE, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, TV station and CNN affiliate, canceled two newscasts and evacuated its facility Sunday night after a trespasser came into the building twice.

The man entered the KRQE building without permission, made his way onto a set and sat on a couch, said Simon Drobik, Albuquerque Police public information officer. The station was not broadcasting from that set at the time.

Police received the call around 8:45 p.m. local time.

The man appeared to be in his 20s, wore a backpack and didn’t display any weapons. He was escorted out of the building by KRQE staffers, but he was able to get into the building a second time, Drobik said.

This time, police advised everyone in the building to evacuate and also told staffers at another TV station in the adjacent building to shelter in place, Drobik said. The KRQE building was searched after officers arrived, but the suspect wasn’t found there.

The suspect’s intentions were not clear and officers were searching for him, Drobik said Sunday night.

“Our broadcast operations had to cease while police searched the premises,” KRQE said in a brief statement. “An hour and a half later police gave us the all clear and we were able to continue our broadcast operations.”

The station didn’t air its usual 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, tweeted one of its journalists, Madeline Schmitt.

“Everyone at KRQE is safe. We did not go on air tonight at 9 and 10 due to a situation that involved police. I will defer any further comment to my managers — but please know that we are all safe,” she tweeted.

The unauthorized entry into the Albuquerque newsroom occurred three days after a gunman stormed into the Capital Gazette, an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper, and killed five employees there. The suspect, Jarrod Warren Ramos, 38, had unsuccessfully sued the newspaper for defamation years ago, and the shooting raised concern about potential attacks on journalists.