At about 1 p.m. ET
this afternoon, an armed gunman entered a corporate headquarters building of Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., taking "a small number" of people hostage. Montgomery County Police are reporting that the gunman is negotiating with authorities and have confirmed his identity as James J. Lee
, but have not confirmed specifics about any list of demands. The man reportedly entered the building with metallic canisters strapped to his chest and most of the building's 1,900 employees have been evacuated. Multiple witnesses have reported shots fired.
In 2008, Lee was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and littering on the grounds of the building. At the time of his arrest, Montgomery County Police report that they were concerned with Lee's mental state.
In the time since the suspect entered the building, speculative information has been trickling out about his bizarre agenda. Lee is about 40 years old and has reportedly been involved in environmental protests near the Discovery building for several years. TMZ has published an online list of demands
that shows Lee was adamant in pursuing radical environmental and population-control policies. According to Lee, the planet "does not need humans," and Discovery should air more pro-environmental/anti-global warming programming to save the environment.
I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it,” the alleged manifesto reads, adding:"Nothing is more important than saving ... the Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans.
According to other documents
obtained by TMZ, Lee led a protest group called SaveThePlanetProtest.com. In promotional materials for one of his organized protests at the Discovery building in February 2008, Lee writes:
The debate about the state of the planet is done. Global Warming is a reality. The massive extinction of animals is happening all over the world. Now let us begin the debate on how to save the planet. We can’t wait anymore, something must be done immediately! Let’s act on it right away; let this be a new chapter in the earth’s history. As human beings we must join together to save it.
Lee has also said in the past that he experienced an ‘‘awakening” when he saw former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary movie ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth.”
Stay tuned for updates as they become available...
Update: Fox News is reporting that the standoff in Silver Spring, Md., has ended. The suspect, James Lee, has been shot dead by police and hostages have been freed. More than four hours after the dramatic events began, police have resolved the situation with injuries limited to the perpetrator.