No one was taken hostage or injured after a woman put a gun to her head in the lobby of Cox Media’s ABC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., last evening.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A woman distraught over her financial situation walked into the lobby of a TV station during its Tuesday evening news broadcast, pulled out what turned out to be an unloaded gun and put it to her head, the station’s general manager said.
The station went off the air for about an hour and the building was evacuated and locked down. No one was taken hostage or injured and police took the woman into custody, said WSOC-TV’s general manager Joe Pomilla.
“I think the experience was more about protecting our employees,” Pomilla said. “It’s one of those things I’m thankful we had the security procedures in place. Fortunately, we came out of this unscathed and that’s the most important thing.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesman Bob Fey identified the woman as Wendy Cosby Naidas, 51. No hometown was given for her.
Fey said the woman was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation and that investigators will determine whether charges will be filed. No listed phone number could be found for her.
Pomilla said the woman approached the building around 5 p.m. The station, located just north of downtown Charlotte, has two sets of doors, one of which is always locked. People who cannot show they have official business with the station are denied access.
When the woman became adamant about entering, a security guard was called over, and that’s when she put the gun to her head, according to Pomilla.
“She never pointed the gun at any individual other than herself,” he said.
Employees were notified by e-mail to evacuate the building. They went to an area behind the station.
Pomilla said a SWAT team entered the station, approached the woman and told her to put the gun down and she complied.
She was not angry with the station and felt it was a place she could speak her mind, Pomilla said.
“She came here because she wanted attention,” Pomilla said, adding that the woman was talking about “financial issues. She was in an accident and said she needed help.”
Pomilla said while security procedures worked, officials will look at ways to make the station even safer.
The ABC affiliate has approximately 200 workers. Its signal covers 22 counties in and around Charlotte.
Associated Press writer Tom Foreman Jr. in Raleigh contributed to this report.