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Discovery Hostage Standoff Ends, Gunman Killed

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By Elliott Francis

The hostage ordeal at Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md., which ended when police shot and killed the gunman, lasted nearly four and a half hours.

The first sign of trouble came at approximately 12:45 via email. The message sent to all employees of Discovery communications warned of a gunman in the building and advised workers to take cover in offices. Soon after, a full evacuation of the facility began, but by 2 p.m. Montgomery County police chief Tom Manger knew some were left behind.

"We have a small number of hostages and unconfirmed number off hostages that are with the suspect at this point," Manger said.

Police also knew the gunman: 43-year-old James J. Lee, who had been arrested back in 2008 for a protest outside the same building. Lee had a cell phone, and Chief Manger says he was using it to talk with police.

"At this point the negotiations have been going on for nearly an hour and we'll continue that for as long as we can," Manger said.

And they did for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, the Montgomery County police tactical unit moved into place in an adjacent room and waited.

At 4:45 p.m. Lee drew his weapon and the team reacted. Manger tells what happened.

"Our tactical units moved in, shot the suspect. He is deceased," Manger said.

The three unharmed male hostages included two employees and a security guard.


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