Gunman shot after taking hostages at Discovery Channel headquarters
Police marksmen shot dead a lone gunman carrying a bomb who had taken three employees hostage at the headquarters of the Discovery Channel near Washington DC.
The suspect, James Lee, 43, had previously served two weeks in jail after staging a protest against the channel’s supposed lack of commitment to protecting the environment.
He entered the building in Silver Spring, Maryland at 1pm, waving a handgun and wearing explosives strapped to his body. Most of the 1,900 people working at the building were able to escape immediately.
Police decided to shoot the suspect after almost four hours when they believed the hostages’ lives were in danger.
Police Capt. Paul Starks said the suspect had fired a gun at least once.
When Lee organised a protest outside the same building in February 2008, he issued a six-page set of demands to Discovery, saying the channel “must broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet”.
At his trial, he said he became committed to that cause after being laid off from his job in San Diego. He said he had been inspired by “Ishmael,” a novel by environmentalist Daniel Quinn and by former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”.
NBC News said it called Discovery's general number and ended up talking to the gunman, who indentified himself as James J. Lee and said he had a gun and several bombs.
"I have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off. I have a device that if I drop it, if I drop it, it will ... explode," the man said.
He said he built the bombs in about three weeks. "I did a lot of research. I had to experiment," he said.
A lengthy posting on Lee's website said Discovery and its affiliates should stop "encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants," a possible reference to shows like 'Kate Plus 8' and '19 Kids and Counting.' Instead, he said, the channel should broadcast "programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility."
"Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," reads the site. "Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!" it says.