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'Healing process' begins at Discovery Channel

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Authorities find four other devices linked to Lee at a residence
  • Discovery employees hold town hall and meet with crisis counselors
  • A police sniper shoots James Lee after Lee aims a gun at hostages, police say
  • Authorities clear Discovery Channel headquarters

(CNN) -- There were "a lot of hugs" and "a lot of tears" among employees at Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Thursday -- one day after police shot and killed a man there who was holding three hostages.

"The healing process" has begun, said David Leavy, a company spokesman. "Yesterday knocked us off the horse. But we're back in the saddle today."

Leavy said the company's employees spent much of the day in a "town hall" with senior managers, and that over a dozen crisis counselors had been called in.

Wednesday's hostage crisis "was a scary situation," he said. "I don't think anyone walked into the building today with the same bounce in their step."

Leavy addressed reporters several hours after authorities gave an "all clear" after sweeping the Discovery building.

The suspect killed by police was identified by Manger as James Lee. The hostages were unharmed.

Police on Thursday said that Lee had two starter pistols that he used during the standoff, and not handguns as previously thought.

Video: Gunman known for online rants
Video: Evacuee speaks out

Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers said that authorities recovered four devices from the scene, and an additional four devices from a residence. He described the objects only as "devices," and said that they were rendered safe and detonated.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said that if the devices Lee had strapped on exploded, they would have injured him and the hostages. He said police were investigating whether Lee acted alone.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, and other elected officials praised the work of police and other authorities who responded on Wednesday.

"They took a very bad and dangerous situation and they prevented it from becoming a lot worse," he said. "The actions they took prevented further loss of life."

Manger said hostage negotiators negotiated for almost four hours by phone with Lee on Wednesday afternoon while police officers watched and listened to Lee on the building's surveillance system.

"At times during the negotiations, he was calm, but I wouldn't call him lucid. The conversation was indicative to me he was dealing with some mental issues," he said.

Manger said the three hostages were lying on the ground, but were not otherwise constrained. He said Lee mainly dealt with the hostage negotiators and did not communicate with the hostages.

"He stayed on point with his issues with Discovery," Manger said.

At one point, one of the hostages moved, drawing Lee's attention, Manger said. Lee pulled his gun and aimed it at the hostages, and it was at that point that a sniper inside the building took the shot that killed Lee, he said.

Another police official, Capt. Paul Starks, said the decision to shoot the gunman was made after authorities heard a gunshot or explosion go off in the area. As the police moved in, the hostages were running out, he said.

During the negotiations, Lee exhibited a "range of emotions," Manger said. At times he was agitated and at times he was calm, but he never strayed far from his grievance against Discovery, he said.

According to a police spokesman, the suspect entered the building's main entrance "wearing what appeared to be metallic canister devices on his front and back. He also pulled a handgun out and was waving a handgun."

According to Manger, Lee may have fired a shot when he entered the building. The three hostages held inside were a security guard and two other males, he said.

Leavy said Wednesday that company officials were familiar with Lee, who had protested at the network in 2008, but the company "did not take his threats or demands seriously."

During the standoff, fewer than 10 Discovery Channel employees remained in the building "for a while, to assist law enforcement on navigating the building and the infrastructure and then we were all evacuated about an hour, 90 minutes into it," Leavy said.

Lee was linked to a manifesto that was posted on the internet, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The angry manifesto repeatedly refers to humans as "filth" and demands that the Discovery Channel "stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants."

"Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is," the 1,149-word statement says.

The online screed said in part, "Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture."

The writer blasted immigration, farming, weapons of mass destruction, automotive pollution, "and the whole blasted human economy."

He demanded that the Discovery Channel broadcast daily prime-time shows devoted to "solutions to save the planet," perhaps in a game-show format, insisting, "Make it interesting so people watch and apply solutions!!!!"

Many of the writer's comments were directed at "the media," saying, "You can reach enough people. It's your responsibility because you reach so many minds!!!"

"The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans," the manifesto says.

"These are the demands and sayings of Lee," the manifesto concludes.

Aaron Morrissey, the editor-in-chief of the web publication DCist, said he came across James Lee's anti-Discovery Channel manifesto in 2008, when Lee was planning to hold a protest against the channel.

The 2008 protest, he said, "was not that well attended."

A month or so later, Lee was arrested near the building on littering and disorderly conduct charges, Morrissey said. The littering charge stemmed from Lee's throwing money into the air, he said.

According to court records, a man with the same name and age as Lee was found guilty in 2008 of disorderly conduct.

James Lee was acquitted of littering in the same case, according to Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Court records, said Eric Nee, a senior assistant state's attorney.

Lee's two-year supervised probation ended August 18, records show.

Because of the 2008 incident, a judge had warned Lee that year not to come within 500 feet of Discovery Communications, according to Maryland's Gazette newspaper.

Lee spent nearly two weeks in jail following his arrest and several days being evaluated by state psychiatrists, he said. ''I told them my idea of saving the planet," Lee was quoted in the Gazette. ''They couldn't find anything wrong with me."

Lee said he began his crusade to save the planet after being laid off from his job in San Diego and reading ''Ishmael," a novel by Daniel Quinn about a gorilla that tells a man what it is like to live in captivity in a world where humans exploit natural resources.

Lee said he then felt an ''awakening," watched former Vice President Al Gore's documentary ''An Inconvenient Truth," and decided he had been doing too little to protect the environment.

CNN's Mike Ahlers, Charley Keyes, Carol Cratty, Brianna Keiler and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.