UPDATE 5:20 – James Lee is dead.
UPDATE 4:58 – A third update from the Montgomery County police:
Three people had been taken hostage and all of them got out safely. “The suspect,” aka Lee, who was shot by police, is in custody. No word on Lee’s condition, but no injuries to the hostages. Police need to clear the rest of the building. “The building is not safe because of devices we have not rendered safe in that area.”
UPDATE 4:00 – A second press update, but no new information:
“We’re just continuing to talk with the man and we’re hoping that this brings about a safe and successful resolution,” said Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks. A reporter asked if the FBI was talking with Lee. Starks said only the Montgomery County Police Department was speaking with him.
UPDATE 3:15 — Thomas J. Manger, the chief of the Montgomery County Police Department, gave a press conference. Here’s what he told reporters:
The suspect entered Discovery HQ around 1 p.m. EST waving a handgun earlier this afternoon. There’s an ongoing hostage situation. Just under 1,900 employees work in the building. Most of them are out, but there may be still be a few on the upper floors. There’s a small, unconfirmed number of hostages with the suspect. Negotiations are ongoing. Police won’t confirm the suspect’s identity until they get a chance to speak with him face to face.
EARLIER – A crazy guy who is armed and may or may not have explosives, and who is believed to have taken at least one hostage, is holed up inside Discovery Channel HQ in Silver Spring, Md.
Read the initial news report about the situation below.
Here’s what we know about this guy so far:
Lee — check him out on MySpace — is some sort of anti-population-growth radical environmentalist who has clearly gone a bit off the deep end. He’s apparently obsessed with the Discovery Channel, whose programming he objects to, and he has a two-year history of regularly protesting outside the network’s offices.
In February 2008, Lee was “arrested after throwing thousands of dollars into the air at a rally outside of Discovery Communications.”
”That’s what people do for money. … To me, it was like a fun game, like basketball or football. People get wild at those games and that’s not outlawed … The smart ones, as soon as they got the money, they ran.”
And this is what he looks like.
Authorities aren’t saying much, but they’ve confirmed there have been no injuries so far. A police official also confirmed on CNN that Lee is armed and has “packages” in his possession, and that police are trying to “determine the type and quantity” of the packages.
There are about 1,900 employees who work in the building, which also houses a day care centre. Almost everyone has been evacuated, according to reports.
“I don’t know what to make of it, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” one staffer told CNN live on the air.
“Panic. Nervous,” was how another described the situation. “We weren’t sure if the gunman was going to come up to other floors. Very scary.”
A number of them advocate ending the human race, or at least drastically reducing the population, in the interest of saving the planet. But a spokesman for the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement tells us that his organisation does not support Lee’s tactics.
Yes, Lee’s demands are totally bananas. Some of them even made us laugh. But let’s not forget that this could still potentially get ugly or that people could be harmed. If that happens, no one will be laughing.
A man believed to be armed has taken at least one hostage at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, police said.
Montgomery County police received the call at about 1 p.m. of a man with a gun and possible explosives, said police spokeswoman Angela Cruz. The call came from One Discovery Place, the channel’s headquarters. The area has been evacuated, Cruz said.
A SWAT team and additional resources are responding, said Montgomery County police Cpl. Dan Friz. Authorities are monitoring the man via closed-circuit cameras. He is in the lobby area, Friz said. Authorities were trying to get in touch with him.
It appears the man has some kind of explosive device on his person, Friz said. Fire marshals with explosives experience were assisting.
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