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. hosa

    Story of B and Ishmael are great books and great in theory. Basically, it talks about "starting over" again with an emphasis on a non-industrial way of living. Obviously, this is impossible. Nobody is going to want to dismantle civilization and live as hunters and gatherers. At most, these books should make you more aware of the way you live and should limit waste. It is a real shame that this (apparently mentally disturbed) person is taking it to an extreme.

    By the way, these books are not some wacko liberal militant anarchist writings. It sucks Quinn is getting some bad press.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. environment rules!

    I am a pretty good shot with a gun if it comes down to it. And don't worry, I will used a bullet made from recycled metal 🙂

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

    What good has praying done anyone? What a crock.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Concerened

    Have you gone to that web site and read his rantings on the forums? The signes were there, he said he would get action!
    http://savetheplanetprotest.yuku.com/topic/353/t/Save-The-Planet-Protest.html

    September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. All-Muslims-Are-Terrorists

    He's secretly a Muslim.

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

    I've heard that this man had ties to the Tea Party and Tea Party activists. Anyone know about Tea Party leader's reactions to this?

    September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dems-R-Ret@rded

      You're an idiot. He's a left wing whack job, the complete opposite of the tea-party. Quit letting MSNBC brainwash you.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      No, the tea party paid this guy to do this in order to make the dems look bad, it wasn't the tea party. Thats how it works see. The tea party is the evil source of all things, right after bush.

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

      and the evil evil bussinessmen that want to hurt the economy to get back at obama so that they can make money...yessss....money ..hahahahah! (south park episode about bush planning 911)..muahahahaha!!!

      seriously man, extreme leftist liberals are f stupid.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      i mean, who else would be so lame to come up with a name like 'faux news'.....get it? hahaha, 'faux'? hahahaha.

      If someone cracks that joke to me in real life, I swear Im going to take out my gun and pull the trigger.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      The least you can do, is at least slap them really really hard across the face.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Discov

    Moon are you stupid...

    September 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Victor Miranda

    I know CNN would never air live shots of any tactical moves done by the police but like Rick says, James Lee could very well be watching CNN right now and just seen those images of SWAT officers on the move might make him nervous. CNN should stop showing those shots for now.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matthew

    Anyone else know more about his tea party connections? I heard on tv they mentioned his previous tea party engangements

    September 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alyssa

    Well if he's so upset about all the human waste, maybe he should just shoot himself and help diminish the population by one.

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

      maybe he's thought of that....maybe he is going to do that but thought about making a statement before he goes out.

      You didn't think about that one did you.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. shooter505

    Let's see you left-wing idiots blame Beck for this one...go ahead, give it your best shot...LOL

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

      He is against anchor babies.....They will find a way...even though they are completely irrelevent and no one takes them seriously....you wait, THEY WILL FIND A WAY, to tie this to the tea party .

      September 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CB

    I understand the point he is trying to make but this ISN'T the way. We do cause damage to the Earth but there are some many organizations out there that help the environment and try to find solutions. IT JUST TAKES TIME!!!! He should of just join those organizations we have instead of this....again this is not the way

    September 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    To late this nut job will probably kill himself before anyone gets to him. Just to prove a point, then all we have left is the rattings of a lunitic and no one to prosecute.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ebg

    This guys manifesto is absolutely correct...its just a bit harsh and he is going about this the wrong way. Humans are the only animals on the planet that are destroying it, but arent really great at reallizing that and/or doing anything about it. Using a reusable bag and changing to florescent bulbs isnt going to save to world, and the life on it. The only way to save the world is to have a world without humans or rather humans not like those within our current society. I hope he doesnt do anything to hurt anyone though.

    September 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. where is common sense?

    CNN is the great Censor

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