Around 1 p.m. this afternoon, a lone gunman now identified as James Lee entered the lobby of Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., and reportedly fired shots while declaring, "Nobody is going anywhere." He may also have explosives, and though the building has been evacuated, he has taken at least one person hostage as police monitor him on closed-circuit television and try to communicate with him. So why is he doing it? Apparently he's obsessed with overpopulation, and is furious that the Discovery Channel hasn't given the topic its due coverage. In fact, Lee has been protesting Discovery for some time, and a website registered to Lee posted a list of demands for the channel in July.
A note posted online July 18 issues a list of demands to the Discovery Channel, saying the station "MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet." It lists 11 demands about airing shows that would promote curbing the plant's population growth, finding solutions for global warming and dismantling "the dangerous US world economy."
"All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions," it reads. "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."
Crazy, crazy man. We'll keep you updated.
Man with explosives at Discovery TV building [MSNBC]
Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring evacuated; gunman inside [TBD]
Cops: At least one hostage taken at Discovery Channel headquarters [CNN]
Update (3:17): Police say there is a small but unconfirmed number of hostages with the suspect on the first floor, and that police are in contact with Lee, and that the suspect has a vest with "two pipe bombs" and canisters.
Update (3:43): Lee was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to six months of supervised probation after protesting outside of Discovery Channel headquarters a protest that involved throwing money into the air.
Court records said he was arrested Feb. 21, 2008, on the sixth day of a protest at the Discovery building. Police were called when a crowd that had gathered began growing “unruly” as Lee threw thousands of dollars of cash into the air, some of it still in shrink-wrapped packages, police said at the time. (Lee was found not guilty of littering.)
Also, it's all Al Gore's fault:
Lee said he experienced an ‘‘awakening” when he watched former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental documentary ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth.”
Update (4:29): Here's Lee's full list of insane demands.
Update (5:00): Police just announced to the media that police have shot Lee, and all three hostages he was keeping are safe and unharmed. After Lee was shot, a "device" on him appeared to go off, with a popping sound and smoke. After negotiating with Lee for hours the police had come to believe that the hostages were in danger. James Lee is now in custody, but his condition is unknown, or at least not being shared with the media right now.
Update (5:42): James Lee is dead.