As reported by several sources, a gunman has taken several people hostage in the lobby of the Discovery Channel’s Maryland headquarters, resulting in an ongoing standoff with local authorities. There have been unconfirmed reports of gunshots, and it’s rumored—though also not confirmed—that the gunman is also strapped with an explosive device. Police say they have secured the building and so far no injuries have been reported.
Within the last hour, the man has been identified as 43-year-old James Jay Lee, who has a history of protesting the network, leading to an arrest and conviction for disorderly conduct in 2008, which stemmed from a demonstration that ended with Lee throwing “thousands of dollars of cash into the air.” Lee, who reportedly experienced an awakening after watching An Inconvenient Truth, is also behind this website, which blames humans for ruining the planet and demands that the Discovery Channel develop some new shows to address his concerns. Although the site is currently unavailable (due, no doubt, to the crush of traffic), MSNBC published the following quote from Lee’s manifesto:
“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. 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.”
Obviously this story is still developing. We’ll update once we know more.
UPDATE: CNN now reports that police shot Lee and that all three of his hostages escaped unharmed. Lee has reportedly been taken into custody.
SECOND UPDATE: Never mind. Now they're reporting that Lee is dead.