Police have shot and killed the gunman who on Wednesday afternoon took three hostages at Discovery Communications’ Silver Spring, MD, headquarters.
The hostages were unharmed.
According to a CNN report, 43-year-old James Jay Lee was killed after a four-hour standoff with Silver Spring police. A suspicious device strapped to Lee’s back did not detonate after the shooting.
The drama began to unfold shortly before 1:00 p.m. EDT, when Lee entered Discovery’s offices armed with a handgun and what is believed to be some kind of explosive device. The building and the immediate vicinity were evacuated in short order, leaving Lee on the first floor with the three hostages.
All 1,900 Discovery employees were evacuated safely. A source confirmed that a number of Discovery staffers earlier this afternoon had convened at a restaurant across the road from the office building, where they watched events unfold on television.
The children in the Discovery day care program were safely removed from the building as well.
According to earlier reports, Lee penned a manifesto decrying civilization and the human race on a Web site named SaveThePlanetProtest.com. While the site no longer seems to be available for perusal, the URL is registered to a James Lee, of Burnaby, British Columbia.
In the 1,149-word screed, Lee wrote that “civilization must be exposed for the filth it is,” before going on to demand that Discovery Channel “stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants.”
Lee’s unhinged manifesto went on to insist that Discovery Channel begin programming daily prime time fare offering “solutions to save the planet,” before suggesting that the programs might best be produced in game-show format.
Oddly enough, Lee’s MySpace page––his handle was “world guardian”––lists “Discovery Channel” among his TV favorites. He had 103 friends.
His final status update, uploaded on Jan. 22, 2008, reads, “Lee says: It’s time for REVOLUTION!!!” His current mood is “vibrant,” and that affirmation was enhanced by a yellow smiley face.
Lee did not appear to have an active Facebook account.
Early reports said at least one shot had been fired shortly after 1:00. A bomb squad unit was mobilized and remains on the scene.