U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Man shot after breaking into lobby of local TV station in Washington, D.C.

Incident Details

Fox 5

A screengrab from a surveillance video shows a man smashing glass doors to break in to the lobby of the local TV station Fox 5, in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 22, 2018. 

— Fox 5
July 2, 2019 - Update

Man who broke into Washington, D.C. TV station sentenced to probation

The man who broke into television station WTTG in Washington, D.C., was sentenced on July 2, 2019, for destruction of property and unlawful entry onto private property, according to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

George L. Odemns III was recorded by surveillance cameras kicking down the glass doors to the building’s lobby in October 2018. He was unarmed and was shot by a station security guard. None of the station’s staff were harmed.

WTTG reported that Odemns had threatened its executives in the past. He sued the station in 2014 for $100 billion, alleging that it had installed a nanochip inside him.

Odemns was indicted for burglary, destruction of property, stalking, assault and unlawful entry onto private property in January 2019. The court found him mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to be evaluated at a psychiatric hospital.

After several months of mental health treatment, Odemns was found competent and in May 2019 accepted a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty to destruction of property and unlawful entry onto private property.

He was sentenced in July to two years of supervised probation and $150 in fines, along with a two-year suspended prison sentence and three years, suspended, of supervised release. Under the conditions of his probation, he was required to continue with mental health counseling and treatment, and to abide by a stay-away order from WTTG.

The case was closed in September 2021.

October 22, 2018

On Oct. 22, 2018, an unarmed man was shot while attempting to break into the WTTG Fox 5 building in Washington, D.C.

The man was recorded by building surveillance cameras kicking and breaking two glass doors leading to the Fox 5 lobby. After entering the lobby, he was shot once by an armed security guard.

Reporters working in the Fox 5 building tweeted that everyone in the newsroom was safe. 

Fox 5 reports that the man had leveled threats against police and Fox 5 executives in the past. 

Police said that the man survived the shooting and was taken to George Washington University Hospital for treatment. He has been charged with second degree burglary.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].