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James J. Lee, environmental militant, slain at Discovery building after taking hostages

A man identified as James J. Lee entered Discovery Communications on Wednesday. He was fatally shot, and his three hostages were freed without injury.
A map of the Discovery Building in Silver Spring, Maryland
The Washington Post

Manger said that when Lee walked into the building Wednesday afternoon, he ordered people to freeze. But many fled.

Lee held three men hostage - a security guard and two other employees - and forced them to lie face down on the floor, Manger said. The names of the hostages were not released. But The Washington Blade reported that one of the captives was a former employee Christopher Wood. He was in charge of marketing, the Blade's editor, Kevin Naff, said this morning.

"He's a great guy. Kind, generous, hardworking. Everybody in the office kind of gravitated toward him," Naff said.

Naff said he received an email from Wood this morning, which he took as a good sign that Wood is engaging with people after the ordeal.

On its blog, Discovery released a statement from hostage and employee Jim McNulty. In it, McNulty thanks police and public safety workers, as well as Discovery officials, "for helping to get me and my fellow hostages out safely.

"I want to thank my family, friends and coworkers for their thoughts and prayers during this situation," the blog post continues. "... I thank you for all for your concern during these harrowing hours."

Manger said police negotiated with Lee over several hours while a tactical team worked its way into a position where it could see and hear the gunman. "They were watching him via camera, and they were close enough to hear what he was saying and see what he was doing," Manger said.

Police took action, Manger said, because the gunman became more agitated. "At one point, the suspect . . . pulled out the handgun that he came in with and pointed it at one of the hostages," Manger said. "At that point, our tactical units moved in and shot the suspect."

There were no other injuries, he said.

Law enforcement sources said there were at least three snipers on the SWAT team stationed behind a wall inside the building when they heard what sounded like a gunshot.

"They heard a pop, and they went around," one source said. "And as they went around, the hostages were running."

Montgomery State's Attorney John McCarthy said Lee wanted his grievances aired on television.


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