James Lee: Discovery Channel Standoff Suspect Has Southern California Roots
Updated at 3:05 p.m. with authorities saying the suspect is dead.
James Lee's mug shot.
The man suspected of taking three hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. has a Southern California connection: He lost a job in his hometown of San Diego before going full-on environmentalist, according to the Gazette newspaper.
Authorities in Silver Spring, Maryland said in a live news conference this afternoon that James Lee, who is about 43, was shot by police and was "in custody," with his condition unknown, following a standoff at the Discovery Communications building. [Update: Authorities later said he died following the shooting]. The hostages were said to be okay, but the building was off limits as police checked out backpacks and other suspicious items they fear could been used to conceal bombs by the suspect.
Authorities said Lee was the creator of the SaveThePlanetProtest website that contains a manifesto against the channel.
Among his demands: "All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions."
After staging a protest in which he threw cash into the air outside the Discovery building in 2008, Lee was ordered by a judge to stay 500 feet away from the offices. He was also fined $500 and told that if he violates the distance order he'd see as many as 60 days in jail.
Following his arrest and Lee spent nearly than two weeks in jail and underwent psychiatric evaluation.
He had more than $21,000 in cash on-hand when he staged the protest, according the paper, and had said he got the money from selling property he inherited in Maui.
He became an ardent environmentalist after seeing the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth and then reading the Daniel Quinn animal-rights novel Ishmael, a book he references at the top of his alleged manifesto.