A gunman with a possible explosive device strapped to himself entered the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday afternoon and was holding a “small number” of hostages, police said. Montgomery County police Chief Thomas Manger said hostage negotiators were talking with the man but said he would not reveal the nature of the negotiations. No injuries were known, he said, and he wouldn’t confirm reports that a shot or shots had been fired.
People on the eighth and ninth floors of the building in the close-in suburb of Washington were safely evacuated, as were children in the Discovery Kids Place day care center, police said, adding that nobody was known to have been injured. Law enforcement authorities told NBC News they believed the man was James Jay Lee or James Jae Lee, 43, a longtime protester at the building who was sentenced to six months of supervised probation for disorderly conduct in March 2008.
“The good thing is we have the outside of the building secure, we’re talking with him, and he wants to talk with us,” Montgomery County police Capt. Paul Starks said.
‘The planet does not need humans’ Lee appears to have posted environmental and population-control demands online, saying humans are ruining the planet and that Discovery should develop programs to sound the alarm. “I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it,” the alleged manifesto reads, adding:”Nothing is more important than saving … the Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans.”
Nathaniel Harrington, a former Discovery employee, told msnbc TV’s Peter Alexander that he saw Lee outside the building during the 2008 protest.
“He was seen as something of a joke,” Harrington said.“I hate to say it, but at the time we kind of half-joked about it because he could come back shooting. Nobody took it very seriously. “As soon as I heard” the news Wednesday, “I knew it’s got to be Lee,” he said.
Discovery Communications reaches about 1.5 billion subscribers in more than 180 countries with the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel and Planet Green networks.
We bet they’re taking this guy seriously now. SMH.