September 1st, 2010
05:05 PM ET

Official: Discovery Channel suspect shot, hostages safe

Authorities have identified the man holding hostages in the Discovery Channel headquarters as James Lee.

[Updated at 5:03 p.m.] Police officers shot the suspect at about 4:50 p.m., Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters. All three hostages are safe and out of the building.

"The suspect is in custody," he said. Manger said he had no information about the suspect's condition.

A number of devices in backpacks have to be rendered safe, he added.

During negotiations, "he had a wide range of emotions," he said.

[Updated at 4:44 p.m.] Follow CNN's continuing coverage of the hostage situation at the Discovery Channel headquarters here.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Montgomery County Police spokesman Paul Starks told reporters there remained no reports of injuries, but he could not confirm whether everyone had been evacuated from the building, nor would he say how many hostages were being held.

"We're just continuing to talk to the man and we're hoping to bring about a safe and successful resolution," Montgomery County Police spokesman Paul Starks told reporters.

"It's my understanding that Montgomery County police officers are speaking with him," he said, adding that he believed the conversation was being held by phone. "That has been continuing with him for well over an hour, closing in on two hours now."

Street view: Hostage situation site

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WJLA: Discovery headquarters evacuated

[Updated at 4:04 p.m.] Aaron Morrissey, the editor in chief of the web publication DCist, said he came across James Lee's anti-Discovery Channel manifesto in 2008, when Lee was planning to hold a protest against the channel.

Lee has been identified by law enforcement sources as the man holding hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Lee, Morrissey said, "had some kind of off-the-wall ideas in that manifesto."

The 2008 protest, he said, "was not that well attended."

A month or so later, Lee was arrested near the building on littering and disorderly conduct charges, Morrissey said. The littering stemmed from Lee's throwing money in to the air, he said.

[Updated at 3:41 p.m.] A man with the same name and age as the suspect in a hostage situation at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, was found guilty in 2008 of disorderly conduct, according to court documents.

James Lee, 43, was acquitted of littering in the same case, according to Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Court records, according to Eric Nee, a senior assistant state's attorney.

Lee's two-year supervised probation ended August 18, records show.

[Updated at 3:31 p.m.] Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief J. Thomas Mangersaid the gunman at the Discovery Channel's headquarters is holding hostage more than one person.

Manger said about 3:20 p.m. that negotiations have been going on for nearly an hour, "and we will continue that for as long as we can."

[Updated at 3:17 p.m.] The man suspected of taking at least one hostage at the Discovery Channel's headquarters entered the building's main entrance "wearing what appeared to be metallic canister devices on his front and back," a police spokesman said Wednesday. "He also pulled a handgun out and was waving a handgun."

Silver Spring Police Chief. Chief J. Thomas Manger said police haven't confirmed whether any shots were fired inside the building.

Manger said Lee has remained in first floor area of the Discovery building, where 1,900 employees work.

"We believe that most of them are out," Manger said. "There are a small number of hostages with him."

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.]

James Lee, the man suspected of taking a hostage at the Discovery Channel headquarters, is an environmental protester who has been publishing criticisms of the network, according to a senior law enforcement official close to the investigation.

An angry manifesto posted on a website called SaveThePlanetProtest.com repeatedly refers to humans as "filth" and demands that the Discovery Channel
"stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants."

"Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," the 1,149-word statement says.

"Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture," it continues.

Lee also blasts immigration, farming, weapons of mass destruction, automotive pollution, "and the whole blasted human economy."

He demands that the Discovery Channel broadcast daily prime-time shows devoted to "solutions to save the planet," perhaps in a game-show format, insisting "Make it interesting so people watch and apply solutions!!!!"

Many of Lee's comments are directed at "the media," saying "You can reach enough people. It's your responsibility because you reach so many minds!!!"

"The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not
encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans," the manifesto says.

"These are the demands and sayings of Lee," the manifesto concludes.

[Updated at 2:51 p.m.] The man believed to be holding at least one hostage at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, has been identified as James Lee, a law enforcement source tells CNN.

"We can confirm that he is armed and he does have some sort of package with him," said Scott Graham of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Fire Department. Asked if that means Lee has as bomb, Graham said he could not say.

Police remain in contact with him, Graham said.

He said there have been unconfirmed reports of a shot fired, but there have been no reports of injuries. "It would be premature to speculate on any exact causes as to why this is occurring," he added.

He added that some people may remain in the building.

[Updated at 2:46 p.m.] Capt. Paul Starks said that police were in communication with the gunman, and that he was making some demands. The suspect had "concerns" with the Discovery Corporation, he said.

[Updated at 2:37 p.m.] CNN affiliate WJLA is reporting there was an ambulance on scene and a stretcher was seen being taken into the lobby.

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.] Lorie Rorae, an evacuated employee who worked on second floor, said security said to leave the building.

Rorae said the security officer said two colleagues were being held hostage.

Rorae said there was an announcement telling employees what to do and where to go.

"It was orderly," Rorae said.

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] Montgomery County Police said they are speaking with a man who has taken a hostage. Police described the man's grudge the following way: "His beef is with Discovery."

"We are speaking with him now," police said.

[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] A witness, Lisa Lucas, told CNN affiliate WJLA that she and others outside of the building heard at least one gunshot from One Discovery Place. Friz said that to the best of his knowledge no shots had been fired by police.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m.] The Discovery Channel day care has been evacuated to a nearby area, according to CNN affiliate WJLA. The day care had about 100 kids, WJLA reported.

[Updated at 2:18 p.m.] The FBI's bomb techicians and ATF agents have been sent to the scene of the hostage situation in a Washington suburb, spokesmen from both agencies said.

[Updated at 2:17 p.m.] Renard Jenkins, who works across from the Discovery Channel headquarters where the hostage drama is unfolding, said he sees the mobilization of a bomb squad and a large armored vehicle pulling a trailer.

"Police are on high alert, positioning themselves behind columns, cars, anything that gives cover. All have their weapons drawn," Jenkins said. "From what we're seeing, everyone seems to be calm."

He said he cannot see into the lobby where the hostage-taking is apparently under way, but can see the activity immediately outside.

[Updated at 2:07 p.m.] CNN affiliate WJLA is reporting that police told them a man entered the lobby and may have fired a weapon and declared, "Nobody is going anywhere."

[Updated at 1:52 p.m.] A SWAT team and additional resources are responding, said Montgomery County police Cpl. Dan Friz. Authorities were trying to get in touch with the man believed to have taken a hostage.

It appears the man has some kind of explosive device on his person, Friz said. Fire marshals with explosives experience were assisting.

[Updated at 1:44 p.m.] The Discovery Channel sent an e-mail to all employees in the building at 1:21 p.m. telling them they "have reason to believe there is an armed gunman at One Discovery Place."

[Updated at 1:39 p.m.] At least one hostage is confirmed at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, police said.

[Posted at 1:34 p.m.] A police emergency response team was responding to reports of a man with a gun and possible explosives at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, a police spokeswoman said.

Montgomery County police received the call at about 1 p.m., said Angela Cruz. The call came from One Discovery Place, the channel's headquarters.

The area has been evacuated, Cruz said. No further information was immediately available.

soundoff (520 Responses)
  1. Silver Spring

    The Maryland Judiciary has a disorderly conduct charge against him on their website. His address is listed as 8210 COLONIAL LANE aroudn the corner from Discovery which is ProgressPlace, a homeless shelter.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. william mony

    hmm, my name is bruce,,,i live with my parents in the dc area, i never had a girlfriend or kissed a girl, but had a blind date once, and the girl looked like janet reno. but het, i can comment and make fun of people behind my computer, where i hide, in my parents basement. MoM!! what's for dinner!!

    September 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      So wait.....is your name bruce or william?

      September 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. csy

    "Manifesto"? This guy is cut from the same cloth as Ted Kaczynski (unabomber).

    September 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. whatnext

    Save The Planet. With explosives. That sounds good.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MTheory

    I worked there less than a year ago. Talked to my good friend that's still there just after he got out. His little boy was in the daycare which is on the first floor. He had to run across the building, grab his son and find an emergency exit. His voice was shaking when he told me about it. Terrifying.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Riff

    Whoopie!!!

    September 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Is Whoopie Goldberg involved???

      September 1, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NewJack

    Someone has watched Zardoz a little too often... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOROvO2fxTc

    Hopefully everyone is OK.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dennis May

    This was taken from his myspace blog.

    Set up more meeting times
    Current mood: energetic

    I set up more meeting times at Joyce Beers Community Center. One for January 7th and one at January 21st. There is some confusion with the actual address. Some say it's 3900 Vermont, 1010 Vermont, 1220 Cleveland, 1230 Cleveland. I don't know the exact address, but it's near Ralphs.

    Been having strange dreams.

    I can't seem to stop myself from this venture. I can't think about anything else except this and this alone. Thanks for ruining my life Shannon.

    I am ready to go all the way with this one. All the way guys!

    Read more: http://blogs.myspace.com/worldguardian#ixzz0yJHLbCN3

    September 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James Lee jr.

    James Lee's agenda is clear and concise, how he's handling it is completely wrong. I doubt he is completely crazy but his viewpoints do have merit to them. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have turned this planet upside down. We don't know the whole truth in life itself but since most think that there is 1 life to live they could careless about a planet that they feel will never die.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    It's sad that this article does not call this an act of terrorism. But if a muslim did the same thing, then it would be considered an act of terrorism. sigh

    The media has changed our interpretation of the word so that it is only associated with muslims. I think that's pretty sad.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Translation

    COME ON!!! This is getting boring.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. anon amous

    this guy needs to be taken out by a sniper right now he is a nut job that need to be taken out right now come on police

    September 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. STEVE D

    Let's be real here... his method of trying to prove his point is wrong, unacceptable and hope it ends well. However
    his statements are pretty right on, that we human's are slowly killing off this planet, 545 people in our Government
    have complete control of 300 million people, our economic situation is getting worse, and look out !! we might
    find ourselves in a civil war, most likely will be started by a " Jack Ass or Pachyderm "

    September 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. A

    Littering by thorughng money??? Isn't it something... come and thorugh money on my loan, I will not press any charges.

    September 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      oops... "on my lawn"

      September 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. csy

    Quotes from his manifesto - "4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed."

    Also fawns over Charles Darwin.

    Doesn't sound like this guy's that religious to me....

    September 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
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