All Hostages Safe, Gunman James Lee Shot Dead
A radical enviornmentalist who took three hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters while wearing what police may be explosives was shot and killed by officers, police said.
The gunman, identified as James Lee, was killed by police following four hours of negotiations but the hostages are all safe, said Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.
Manger said the suspect had “metalic canisters” strapped to his chest and back. When Lee was struck by police bullets, one of the canisters “popped.” Police have not confirmed if the canisters were a bomb, but Manger said the “device may have gone off” when he was shot.
Manger said police will search the building looking for other potential explosives Lee may have left inside.
“All the hostages are safe,” Manger said, ending a four hour standoff in which some 1,900 employees were evacuated from the building as well as the company’s on-site daycare center.
Manger said police spoke with Lee “for several hours” during which time he expressed “a wide range of emotions during those communications.”
Law enforcement identified the suspect as James Lee, 43, from Washington, D.C., who has for at least two years called for protests against the company and who was arrested and found guilty of disorderly conduct for a protest outside of Discovery’s headquarters in 2008.
In a rambling manifesto on Lee’s website, believed to have been written by Lee, the writer rails against “disgusting human babies,” “parasitic infants,” and says people should “disassemble civilization.” The manifesto also calls on Discovery to “broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet.”
The drama began when workers in the building got a bulletin from the building’s security.
“We have reason to believe there is an armed gunman at One Discovery Place. All employees should seek protection in a locked office on their respective floors immediately,” read an email sent to employees and read over the public address system.
“There’s a guy with a gun in the lobby. Police are swarming in — assault rifles and all,” one producer told ABCNews.com via instant message.