Armed Man With Bomb Takes Employees Hostage Inside Discovery Channel Building
A man known for protesting the Discovery Channel stormed the network's Maryland headquarters carrying a handgun on Wednesday, taking a 'small number' of hostages while appearing to have a bomb strapped to his chest, police said.
The Montgomery County Police Department said Wednesday that they are negotiating with the man who is holding hostages on the ground floor of the building in Silver Spring, Md., a suburb directly north of Washington, D.C.
Discovery Communications told Fox News that the gunman is James Jay Lee of San Diego, Calif., a man well-known to Discovery employees with a history of protesting the network. Maryland police, however, have not yet confirmed the suspect's identity.
Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters Wednesday that a male suspect entered the building and waved a handgun at approximately 1 p.m. Manger would not confirm how many shots, if any, were fired inside the building.
"We have no reports of injuries at this point," Manger said. "At this point, we're still negotiating with him."
A gunman who had what police described as "concerns" with the Discovery Channel networks took at least one person hostage in the company's suburban Washington headquarters.
Police in Maryland are responding to a hostage situation after reports that a man with a handgun entered the Discovery Channel headquarters building in Silver Spring.
One witness reported to Fox News that the suspect was wearing a vest that appeared to have two pipe bombs strapped to it.
Manger said the gunman was wearing "what appeared to be metallic canister devices" when he entered the building.
"The man told everyone to just stay still," Manger said.
Dan Friz, a spokesman with the Montgomery County Police Department, told Fox News that police were initially dispatched to the building after a report of shots fired at approximately 1 p.m.
The suspect, identified by police as an Asian male, has "some sort of device on him that may be explosive in nature," Friz said.
Some witnesses reported that the man fired a shot before declaring, "Nobody is going anywhere," police said.
The suspect is believed to have distributed a manifesto outside the building several weeks ago that called on the Discovery Channel to "broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet."
"All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions," the list of demands read.
"In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it."
Employees at the Discovery Channel building were told to take cover in locked offices, according to local press accounts.
A company e-mail sent to employees reportedly said: "Don't Return to 1DP Until Further Notice...No employee should return to 1DP for any reason."
Authorities have so far not said if the gunman works for Discovery Communications now or worked there in the past.
Witnesses from a building across the street told Fox News that authorities rushed four stretchers into the building.
Children at a day care center located inside the Discovery Building were reportedly safely evacuated to a nearby McDonald's restaurant. Some babies were wheeled out of the building while still in their cribs.
Discovery Communications LLC operates cable and satellite networks in the U.S. including The Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. Discovery shows include "Cash Cab" and "Man vs. Wild," and TLC airs "American Chopper" and "Kate Plus Eight."
Animal Planet also airs the controversial series "Whale Wars," about attempts by environmentalists to disrupt the Japanese whaling industry.