Gunman shot as police free three hostages in US stand-off

POLICE shot a gunman and safely freed the three people he had taken hostage in an hours-long standoff at the Discovery Channel headquarters outside Washington, police said.

The gunman, named by US media as James Lee, 43, had metallic canisters strapped to his chest and a handgun when he entered the building near Washington, DC.

Police said he was in custody last night.

Police negotiated for several hours with the man, who burst into the suburban Washington building wearing what seemed to be metallic canisters strapped to his front and back and waving a handgun.

The gunman had what Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger described as a “small number of hostages”, but he did not say how many. He also did not say what the man wanted or whether anyone was hurt.

Lee has a track record of protesting against the Discovery Corporation, although police refused to confirm him as the gunman.

Manger said most of the 1,900 people who work in the building were able to get out safely.

According to a story in The Gazette, which covers Montgomery County, Lee was arrested there in 2008 after throwing thousands of dollars in the air outside the building.

He was identified then as being from San Diego, California.

At his trial Lee said he planned the 2008 protest because Discovery’s programming had little to do with saving the planet. He also issued a six-page set of demands to Discovery, saying the channel “must broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet”.

He said he had been inspired by by former vice president Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Discovery Communications operates cable and satellite networks in the US including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.


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