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

iReport: Are you there? Send photos, video

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. Dan

    iReport: Are you there? Send photos, video

    Very good CNN, encouraging people to take video/images of a hostage situation...

    September 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    I will pray.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alisa

    Washington doesn't have suburbs. It has four quadrants: NE, SE, NW, and SW. Maryland and Virginia are wholly separate. Why do news outlets feel the need to invoke the nation's capital unnecessarily? It adds no credibility to this story and doesn't advance it, so what's the point? This is occurring in Maryland. Sure, MD is close to DC, but what point does it serve in this story?

    September 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • A.

      CNN probably referred to DC just to place it on the map for the casual reader, so they have an idea of the general location. I grew up in Montgomery County and always tell people I'm from the suburbs of DC. The district, like every major city, certainly has suburbs, namely all the Maryland and Virginia counties that border it!

      September 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whizerd

      If you dont live there, you dont ave a clue. This area is considered a suburb of DC. I bet you wouldnt believe me if I told you that even as far as Harpers Ferry West Virginia is also considered a suburb of DC.. how about Frederick Maryland... But ANYWAY...This is an awful situation. I hope the theory of "if he wanted to kill people, he would have by now' is a factor in this, and noone gets hurt.
      For the gun lobbyist/ignorant people: This man was probably a law-abiding citizen before this incident, so your theory of gun control would have been blown out of the water TWICE in this instance. GIVE EVERYONE a gun! That way, criminals MIGHT think twice, and law abiding citizens that have issues about things MIGHT think twice too. It wil never stop the violence all the way...even if you took ALL the guns away from the entire world, and demolished them.
      Meditate and pray for the safe end to this event.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I realize that this is a technical point, but, while Silver Spring is not a suburb IN the district, it is a suburb OF Washington DC. A large percentage of the people living in Silver Spring work in DC and it is part of the DC metropolitan area transit network.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grow Up

    Have some sensitivity and grow up. Stop using the internet as means to say things you'd never actually say in person. To all of you who have friends/family there, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and them.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • doofus

      you are under the assumption that people wouldn't be saying this in real life.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Noneya5

    The guy is insane. http://savetheplanetprotest.com/

    September 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      all eco-terrorist animal rights activists and tree huggers are insane by default.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kate

    This is terrible. We over here at our production company have many friends in the building and are praying for their safety. Let's hope there is a non-violent outcome in this situation.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff

    Don't waste your time with these two guys. You are correct. Some people you'll never be able to influence much less cheange. It's funny until it's their loved ones in there.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tim321

    Moron. Who the hell has "beef" with the discovery channel? Hopefully the maniac can be apprehended without incident or injury.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    UPDATE: For those of you who aren't paying attention; CNN affiliate WJLA is reporting there was an ambulance on scene and a stretcher was seen being taken into the lobby.

    Good thoughts going to all those involved. Hoping that no one is hurt badly and that the family/friends of those caught in the middle of this situation are relieved soon.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Anna

    I just hope that everyone walks out ok, for whatever reason this is happening, that is not the concern right now, its saving the lives of those there. The facts will come out in time, American's can not wait for answers, the demand them now, and if they dont get them, they make them up, clearly pointed out here by half the comments on this page.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Security officer

    i work as a security officer at lockheed martion , and i often think about stuff like this , we all live in this crazy world
    and life is hard enough as it is , so why don't we just look out for each other, and give each other a brake once in a while

    September 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      Because it's much more fun to hop on the internet and run them over verbally!! I don't brake for anyone!!!

      Oh, wait, you meant break....

      September 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gina

    How ironic! today's date is 9/1 and this occured at 1:00 PM? == 911=== ??

    September 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • doofus

      and people probably dialed 911 too! IT'S A CONSPIRACY!

      September 1, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of ignorance

      Gina what the hell does 911 have to do with this? Are you ignorant or just unloved by your mommy that you come up wtih crap that has nothing to do with the other. 911 happened in Sept. yes but not every terrible thing that happens in Sept has a thing to do with 911

      September 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    Remember West Virginia university. I'm praying they take this crazy demon out before he hurts someone.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BlackPowerHour2

    What is this world coming to?

    September 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Timothy Treadwell

    I am in the building, and I find none of these jokes the slightest bit amusing. Help!

    September 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      So if you're in the building then why would you be taking time to read this article and post on CNN? Shouldn't you be trying to find a way out or do sopmething else besides sitting at your desk posting comments?!?

      September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Concerned Citizen

      We are praying for you. I won't hurt you to say some prayers right now for yourself and those in the building.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
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