"He was visibly upset and appeared livid after the interview," the source said, of Brown's being asked about his 2009 felony assault case involving his then-girlfriend Rihanna.
During an interview pegged to the release of his new album F.A.M.E., Brown, 21, told GMA anchor Robin Roberts, "It's not really a big deal to me now, as far as that situation. I think I'm past that in my life. Today's the album day, so that's what I'm focused on."
Yet when Roberts inquired of the legal issues still stemming from the case, Brown said, "This album is what I want people to hear and people to really get into, so definitely this album is what I want them to talk about and not stuff that happened two years ago."
After the interview, Brown performed a number, then, according to local affiliate WABC, went into his dressing room, and reportedly screamed and started to tear apart the room. Security reportedly was summoned.
Brown did not perform a second song, as had been scheduled. Instead, he ripped off his shirt – New York temperatures are in the mid-40s Tuesday – and left the building, says WABC.
Reps for Brown did not immediately return calls for comment.
A few hours after the incident, Roberts took to Twitter to comment: "Sure has been an interesting AM @GMA. Still sorting thru everything myself. Just my 2nd day on twitter, wonder what tomorrow will bring?”
Next week, Brown is slated to perform on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
In December, Brown completed a year-long domestic violence program for his role in the case. He was previously sentenced to five years probation and 180 days of community service.
Soon after Tuesday's GMA incident, TMZ reported, Brown Tweeted (before later removing the message): "I'm so over people bringing this past s**t up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bulls**t."
He then added two other messages within one minute of each other. They were: "Thank you to everyone who supports my music!!! Key Word (music) !!! Love y'all," as well as, "All my fans!!! This album is for you and only you!!! I'm so tired of everyone else!! Honestly!! I love team breezy!!"
ABC News, in a statement, said of Tuesday's turn of events: "As always, we ask questions that are relevant and newsworthy, and that's what we did in this interview with Mr. Brown."
Reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS