Gunman shot, killed at Discovery building
He points to trouble with net's shows about 'human birthing'The gunman that stormed the Discovery Channel building in Maryland has died after being shot by police, NBC News confirmed. Police pulled the trigger after the suspect held a gun to one of the hostages.
An explosive device strapped to his body was detonated by the gunfire.
There are no reports of injuries to the employees (who were all male; one was a security guard) held hostage for about five hours, police said. The 1,900 employees were sent home for the day.
The man was reported to be James Jay Lee, 43, a former employee, according to CNN. He was arrested after holding a protest outside the net in 2008. Watch a live feed of the hostage situation.
Lee posted a 1,100-word demand letter on his website insisting Discovery Channel "broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet."
"Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC," the suspect wrote in the alleged letter to the network, which is home to "Kate Plus 8" and "19 Kids and Counting," among others.
The man entered the building's lobby strapped with "some sort of device on him that may be explosive in nature," Montgomery County police spokesman Cpl. Dan Friz told ABC News.
The SWAT team arrived on the scene around 1 p.m. EST. One hundred children from a daycare center within the building have been relocated to a local McDonald's. An employee told ABC News, "We heard, pop, pop, pop, pop pop."
The Twitter feed of DiscoveryNews.com, a Discovery Channel website for the latest science news, said as of around 2 p.m. EST: "Thank you everyone for your well wishes. Discovery_News team all safe." There was no immediate eyewitness news on Twitter.
The hostage situation came on a day when Discovery Networks International had unveiled the launch of its TLC network across the Asia-Pacific region.
"TLC has become one of the strongest television networks in the United States, demonstrating creative leadership across a wide range of lifestyle categories," said DNI president and CEO Mark Hollinger.
Wall Street analysts in first reactions predicted there would likely be little effect on Discovery Communications' financials and strategy from Wednesday's incident alone. "No," said one analyst when asked if he expects any negative impact. "[The gunman] is clearly very disturbed."
Employees are expected to return to work Thursday, but since police are currently treating the building as an active crime scene, Discovery will communicate with employees later on Wednesday night, according to corporate communications executive David Leavy.
Leavy said he didn't want to characterize Lee's demands beyond saying that when one reads Lee's manifesto, "I don't think it's rational." He added that Discovery did not take "his threats or demands seriously," and he confirmed the company had been aware of Lee and his past.
The Discovery rep also said the company and its employees is focused on recovering and getting back to "making great TV again."
"I'm proud of the Discovery family," he said, calling it "very loyal" and adding it is "a fun place to work with a lot of great people." In the face of Wednesday's stress, "that strength came through today," he concluded.
Discovery lauded the professionalism of the security and rescue forces and its own staff. "That's the word of the day: professionalism," said the Discovery rep. "Security staff and others executed our evacuation plans flawlessly."