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 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. Unclebuck

    Hmmm, 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."

    This guy's not very good at his new job if he can enter a multi story business building, do this, and only end up with one hostage!!

    September 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    I would be willing to label this individual a "terrorist" at this point. You probably mean an Islamic terrorist. Any person can be a terroist. Let's clarify next time. Thanks.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DenV

    I'm reading things that the gunman is a protester of the Discovery Channel. His website is I remember seeing his ad on the Express announcing a call to protest at the Discovery building back in 2008. I lived in the area back then and side-walked through One Discovery Place every day and saw these protest fliers back then.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Elizabeth

    praying for the hostages..

    September 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DrewF77

    From what I've read it seems this is a Darwinist enviromentalist whacko. People are so lame for trying to tie religion to this; sick people need to work through their hate!

    Supposed manifesto:

    September 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      You're right, religion has nothing to do with this situation... But if it makes you feel any better Drew, I still hate you. 🙂

      September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. j

    Please stop covering every second of these incidents on tv. You are only providing dramatic unnecessary speculation, creating fear, and encouraging future copy cats. The general public does not need to know every minute detail regarding incidents like this.

    September 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      That's your opinion, now sit down, shut up and quit reading the updates if you don't want to read them idiot.

      You morons act like the rest of the world is forcing you to read these forums. Your PC has an off switch, maybe you should use it.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ashley, Silver Spring MD

    To Everyone who's making jokes or implying stupid crap like 'this might have been a fake attack'–yea. Stretchers for a fake attack? I mean, crap- have some decency. A lot of people here know and love people who are in that building, right now. It's absolutely sickening that people read this and some of them are stupid and ignorant enough to crack jokes.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DannyK

    They say the kids evacuated are safe at the MacDonald's.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dog

    Whoever was talking about karma – karma would imply that the victims of this madman did something wrong and deserve this treatment. Believe in whatever God you believe in...not the man-made fairy tales!

    September 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. y


    September 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John G

    This sounds more like a green climate change freak.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Justice

    Why nobody called this guy a “Terrorist” Oh ok! I see because he is not a Muslim.
    He’s holding a bomb and threatening innocent people, in fact he’s using the same methods as what so called “Muslims terrorist”
    Are you guys fair? CNN

    September 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • doofus

      he's not called a terrorist because he's not affiliated with a government recognized terrorist organization. he's just a loon.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Doofus, a terrorist is anyone that uses terror to promote a political, religious, or ideological agenda. This means he falls under the definitional umbrella of a terrorist.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muslim American

      @Doofus – There are many incident like Nidal Hassan who was not linked to any group or the group of Toronto kids or the Viriginia 6, but yet they were called Terrorists.

      The reality is, if the James Lee was Muhammad Abdullah, and everything else was the same. The media would call him a terrorist and somehow link him to some random group over seas.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      But he is part of a group, every environmentalist liberal in this country is...maybe they need to be rounded up and put into camps for interrogation. I hear Cuba is nice this time of year.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scott Trent

    You can read his manifesto on Drudge right now. The guy sounds like a looney Liberal screaming about saving the planet and greed...

    September 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Watch... It'll turn out he voted for McCain. Whoa hoa! HAHA! You hillbillies are so fun to mess with.

      September 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      Wow, the libtards are even dumber than we thought Cletus!! They think everyone that ain't a radical, whacko tree huggin, rainbow sticker wearin, yella-bellied freak is a hill billy!!! Heck Cletus, we know bettern' that!! They ain't no hills in Oklahoma!!

      September 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ilikesealife

    I agree with Imunchbush – religion is about as pointless as McDonalds' French Fries...... all fake and made of fat

    September 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Susan

    I wish Rick Sanchez would stop calling this very disturbed man an "activist" over and over. That's not really a responsible use of a very important word that one can apply to some of the greatest social change agents in our country whose sacrifices we benefit from today.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      Well, when you're done bleeding all over the forum, maybe you can get a grip on reality....nahhhh. You couldn't muster it.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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