A man known for protesting the Discovery Channel stormed the network’s Maryland headquarters carrying a handgun on Wednesday, taking a “small number” of hostages while appearing to have a bomb strapped to his chest, police said.
The Montgomery County Police Department said Wednesday that they are negotiating with the man who is holding hostages on the ground floor of the building in Silver Spring, Md., a suburb directly north of Washington, D.C.
Discovery Communications told Fox News that the gunman is James Jay Lee of San Diego, Calif., a man well-known to Discovery employees with a history of protesting the network. Maryland police, however, have not yet confirmed the suspect’s identity.
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters Wednesday that a male suspect entered the building and waved a handgun at approximately 1 p.m. Manger would not confirm how many shots, if any, were fired inside the building.
“We have no reports of injuries at this point,” Manger said. “At this point, we’re still negotiating with him.”
One witness reported to Fox News that the suspect was wearing a vest that appeared to have two pipe bombs strapped to it.
Manger said the gunman was wearing “what appeared to be metallic canister devices” when he entered the building.
“The man told everyone to just stay still,” Manger said.
The suspect is believed to have distributed a manifesto outside the building several weeks ago that called on the Discovery Channel to “broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet.”
“All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions,” the list of demands read.
“In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.”
Thomas Leonard, Lee’s brother-in-law, told Fox News that Lee became a “darker type of character” after some deaths in the family and said he believed Lee was capable of killing.
Leonard described Lee as “talented but misguided” and said his “spirit took a nose-dive” in recent months.
I’m reading conflicting reports on Twitter as to whether the apparent eco-terrorist survived after being shot. Mary Katharine Hammer is watching the presser and the authorities are saying that they think all the hostages are safe and that no one outside of the gunman was injured. They’re checking the building for several more “suspicious packages.”
Glad to know that the hostages are now safe and that the thug has either been taken down or is in police custody at this hour. I’ll also be interested to see how the leftosphere spins this into being the “Rethuglicans” fault since it looks like this guy was/is a pretty fanatical radical left winger.
Stay tuned …
Update – 5:22 PM: NBC is reporting that Lee is dead.