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. cecelia henshaw

    Does Rick Sanchez NOT understand that the man is in the Discovery Channel Building and has access to gazillions of TVs? Everyone else has been carefu of what they are saying but what does Sanchez ask? At what point do you decide to take him out!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really, Rick. That's rsponsible journalism. You don't think that will upset the guy? Each day, you turn me off more ad more. I'm gonna have to stop watching you.

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

      What? aren't all you libtards going to sit around in a big circle, hold hands and sing kumbaya!?? Wow, a liberal gets ostracized by his own kind. Ah well, i guess calling the nutjob tree hugger guy an activist is pretty harsh and that is just waaaayyy too much for harshness for liberals.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sinenomine

    Has it occurred to anyone at CNN that the hostage taker may be watching you on TV and learning about tactics from your interviews of hostage experts, etc? Maybe it would be better to just be quiet?

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

    His manifesto sounds like the sum total of the extreme environmental movement. That's why I want nothing to do with them – I love being human.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shirl

      Extreme being the key word here... EVERY group has freaks & lunatics in them. How can people keep inferring that just because someone is an environmentalist they are all crazy like this Lee guy? Or that all who believe in the right to bear arms are going to go out & kill someone? ETC... You, who lump people, who belong to a group into the same pile with the lunatics are the extreme ones.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • groovygoober

      It's so funny when one of "their" kind does something like this, but I wonder Shirl, would your response, or the response from any of the other bleeding hearts here been the same had this guy been a member of the NRA protesting gun control or something? I doubt it. The liberals in general are the most hypocritical of all.

      September 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Da Professor

    The man is obviously not a "breeder".

    Bring in a police sniper and shoot the dummy so we can go back to calm stories like drive-by shootings, Tea Party buttheads, and Republican liars, hypocrits, and arrogant idiots.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vanessa

    hmmm– I was attempting to reply to MM2. Don't know why it landed here.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    The host of CNN at this moment is asking the FBI and another govt official exactly HOW to deal with events such as this. What kind of explosive......the diff between dealing with a person with firearms vs. explosive. WHY SHOULD WE PUBLICIZE THE METHODS USED TO APPREHEND OR DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE ? The next time the individuals will be better prepared....NO ?

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elizabeth

    oh shut your bible-verse-spewing mouth. planned parenthood SAVED my life. comparing an organization like planned parenthood to a mentally inept, hostage-taking asain man is absolutely absurd.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Candy

      Why did you have to qualify his race? Does being "Asian' somehow make him less than?

      September 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      yes, thats exactly the point i was trying get across.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. notoj

    You jumping to the conclusion that people will jump to conslusions. You are your own worst enemy.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BW96

    this guy and anyone on this website are insane! I hope the hostages get out ok. This guy is crazy!

    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    reading this guys demands, seems he really hates humans. I guess that includes himself.
    What a loon! I have to admit that babies are kind of gross tho...

    September 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Daily

    I love the discovery channel and I hope this is resolved quickly and without injury. I'm surprised there is no one in this man's life who can influence him away from his crazy views.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dog

    So, by your comment, you imply that the victims of this lunatic deserve what they're getting because of something bad they may have done in their lives. That's what karma is, right? What goes around comes around and all of that? Misguided idiot. Believe in a God. Whatever God you want, just not his followers' fairy tales.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. seriously

    your delusional....

    September 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ao

    ARE you KIDDING ME? the WHALES and my kids could be in danger, where's my tasergun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING? MY TAXES for the WHALES>>>>explosives?

    September 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Things are no less serious when we make jokes and laugh as they are no less funny when we take them seriously. Being solemn about the whole thing won't help the people in the building but taking it lightheartedly will ease your worry. humor does not mask the truth, it just gives us an easier way to deal with it.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
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