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Gunman holds Discovery staff hostage, shot dead

Washington: Police shot dead a gunman to safely free three persons ending hours of standoff after he had taken them as hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters in the suburb of Silver Spring.

The gunman has been identified as James Lee who was against the programmes shown by the channel, police said, adding he had explosive devices in his backpack.

The hostages were rescued unhurt during the standoff.

It all began around 1 pm, when Lee entered the building and appeared to have bomb strapped to his chest, they said.

The gunman took them hostage and asked others not to leave the building.

Police immediately cordoned off the area and evacuated the building. Around 100 children in the daycare centre of the building were safely moved to a nearby location.

Meanwhile, police started negotiations with Lee who demanded that the Discovery Channel “must broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet”.

Montgomery County Police chief J Thomas Manger told reporters after the standoff that police officers were able to get into very close position during the negotiations.

Lee was said to have a device on his body and was holding another device, both with blinking lights.

“They were close enough to hear what he was saying and what he was doing on camera. At one point the suspect pulled out a handgun and pointed it at one of the hostages. At that point, our tactical units moved in, they shot the suspect. The suspect is deceased,” Manger said.

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