Discovery Channel Gunman Dead; James Jay Lee's Turbulent Past Includes Living in SoCal
James Jay Lee's MySpace profile photo
Reports of a hostage-taking gunman entering the Discovery Channel's Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters began to hit the newswaves around midday Eastern time. The suspect, soon to be determined to be 43-year-old James Jay Lee, was rumored to be carrying an explosive device. The premises were evacuated, and negotiators worked with Lee for over two hours; reports indicate he was shot outside the building and that his explosives went off, and just after 5 PM EST he was confirmed dead.During the course of the negotiation, Lee made his demands known. Citing himself as an environmentalist, Lee's manifesto is a step-by-step plan for the Discovery Channel to completely overhaul their programming based on the philosophy of "Ishmael" author Daniel Quinn, to no longer promote programs about childbirth, and to focus on environmental issues, among other lofty demands.
Lee has been a thorn in the side of Discovery Channel for at least the past two years. His MySpace profile indicates his home state is Hawaii, however in March 2008, when a judge ordered he not come within 500 feet of the network's building following a stunt involving throwing money during a rally, Lee was considered itinerant and described as a "California man," according to the Gazette. He "lost a job in his hometown of San Diego before going full-on environmentalist," notes the LA Weekly.
The crux of Lee's mission for the Discovery Channel was to stop humans from breeding, period. He considered babies to be "human filth," and felt that the promotion of sterilization was necessary, paired with drastic measures to safeguard the environment in order to "save the planet." He posted to YouTube a video meant to represent a rough outline of his show idea, called "Race to Save the Planet."
During today's tense situation in Maryland, a Los Angeles-based Discovery News employee used Twitter to post reactions to the situation. As people began to scour the internet for information about Lee, message board confrontations between him and people who allegedly revealed themselves as being Discovery Channel employees surfaced. In February 2008, DCist speculated that Lee may have suffered from mental issues.
It is expected that in the aftermath of today's incident, more details about James Jay Lee will come to light.