Gunman holds hostage in U.S. television station offices

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A gunman with something strapped to his chest—believed to be an "explosive device"—has taken at least one person hostage inside the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The man is reported to be named James Lee, who has posted an angry rant on a website demanding that Discovery take action over climate change, and was pictured in 2008 protesting against the company.

"Police are on high alert, positioning themselves behind columns, cars, anything that gives cover. All have their weapons drawn. From what we're seeing, everyone seems to be calm," said an eyewitness who was across from the building at the time. In a press conference at 2:30 P.M. (EST), a spokesman for police told the media that police were on scene and talking to the gunman, who has been described as an Asian male.

The Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, where it is reported a gunman is holding "at least" one person hostage.

Employees were sent to the building's upper floors and then evacuated from the building after the gunman entered. A day care center located inside the building, which had over 100 people inside of it at the time, was also evacuated. Roads surrounding the building have been closed to traffic, and witnesses state that SWAT teams and law enforcement from several areas were at the scene, along with three bomb technicians.

Lee posted a manifesto on his website, according to sources, which criticized the Discovery Channel. It read "The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots...where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done...The world needs TV shows that develop solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupefy the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans." The manifesto also included a list of Lee's demands to the Discovery Channel.

It has been reported that police were initially called to the scene upon receiving a report of a suspicious package. CNN has reported the man could be a former employee of the network, and a police officer at the scene said that the suspect has "concerns" with Discovery.

Standoff ends

The standoff ended when Lee was shot to death by the police.