Silver Spring, Md. — Police had been negotiating with James Jae Lee for several hours and intended to keep him talking for as long as it took to safely resolve the standoff at the Discovery Channel’s headquarters. Inside the lobby, Lee’s three hostages had no intention of waiting.
As the two Discovery employees and a security guard got ready to make a break for it, officers moving in on Lee heard him shout and then a “pop” that they thought might have been gunfire or a homemade bomb detonating. So they stepped out from behind a wall and shot him dead, ending the drama that unfolded Wednesday at the cable network’s complex just north of Washington.
It turned out that Lee was armed with starter pistols, police said Thursday as they revealed new details about the culmination of Lee’s yearslong crusade against the Discovery networks, which he faulted in fanatical Web posts for offering programming that promoted overpopulation.
But Lee, 43, was also carrying homemade pipe bombs, one of which went off when he was shot. Capt. Paul Starks of the Montgomery County Police department described the devices as canisters of propane with pipes around them. He said inside the pipes were shotgun shells or pellets.
Authorities found and detonated four more devices Thursday at a home about 3 miles north of the Discovery building. The owner of the house called police and said Lee had stayed there, according to Montgomery County Police Lt. Robert Bolesta.