Gunman Upset with Programming Takes Hostages at Discovery Channel Building

September 1, 2010 - 1:45 PM
A gunman with what police described as "concerns" with the Discovery Channel networks took at least one person hostage in the company's suburban Washington headquarters Wednesday.

Police evacuate the street in Silver Spring plaza in front of the headquarters of the Discovery Channel networks building in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday Sept. 1, 2010. Police say a gunman has taken at least one person hostage in the building. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Silver Spring, Md. (AP) - A man upset with the Discovery Channel's environmental programming took several people hostage at the company's headquarters Wednesday, officials said.
 
Police were negotiating with the gunman, who burst into the suburban Washington building about 1 p.m. wearing what seemed to be metallic canisters strapped to his front and back and waving a handgun.
 
The gunman had what Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger described as a "small number of hostages" but he did not say how many. He also did not say what the man wants or whether anyone was hurt.
 
Manger said most of the 1,900 people who work in the building were able to get out safely.
 
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing said authorities have identified James J. Lee as the likely suspect. Police believe he has a handgun but have not confirmed that he has explosives, the official said.
 
A different official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said Lee previously protested outside the building.
 
According to a story in The Gazette, which covers Montgomery County, Lee was arrested there in 2008 after throwing thousands of dollars in the air outside the building.
 
Lee said he planned the protest because Discovery's programming had little to do with saving the planet. He was identified then as being from San Diego, Calif., although he gave a local address of a homeless shelter.
 
At the trial, he said he began working to save the planet after being laid off from his job in San Diego. He said he was inspired by "Ishmael," a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn and by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

Police block the street in front of the headquarters of the Discovery Channel networks building in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday Sept. 1, 2010. Police say a gunman has taken at least one person hostage in the building. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A man upset with the Discovery Channel's environmental programming took several people hostage at the company's headquarters Wednesday, officials said.
 
Police were negotiating with the gunman, who burst into the suburban Washington building about 1 p.m. wearing what seemed to be metallic canisters strapped to his front and back and waving a handgun.
 
The gunman had what Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger described as a "small number of hostages" but he did not say how many. He also did not say what the man wants or whether anyone was hurt.
 
Manger said most of the 1,900 people who work in the building were able to get out safely.
 
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing said authorities have identified James J. Lee as the likely suspect. Police believe he has a handgun but have not confirmed that he has explosives, the official said.
 
A different official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said Lee previously protested outside the building.
 
According to a story in The Gazette, which covers Montgomery County, Lee was arrested there in 2008 after throwing thousands of dollars in the air outside the building.
 
Lee said he planned the protest because Discovery's programming had little to do with saving the planet. He was identified then as being from San Diego, Calif., although he gave a local address of a homeless shelter.
 
At the trial, he said he began working to save the planet after being laid off from his job in San Diego. He said he was inspired by "Ishmael," a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn and by former Vice President Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."