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UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.: Suspect James Jay Lee is dead, according to Washington Post sources.

UPDATE, 5 p.m.: Police shot the suspect, James Jay Lee, apparently because they feared he was going to set off what they believed was an explosive device. The three hostages he had taken were freed safely. Lee is in police custody.

A man with a gun marched into the lobby of the Discovery Channel’s building in Silver Spring this afternoon, taking “a small number” of hostages, authorities say. Police have evacuated parts of the building, and blocked off several streets in downtown Silver Spring. Authorities are now trying to get in touch with the gunman and figure out what he wants.

UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: NBC News is reporting the man is James Jay Lee. Two years ago, the alleged suspect was arrested after throwing thousands of dollars in the air in a protest outside Discovery, and was ordered to stay 500 feet away from the building. About 1,900 people work in the building, and Montgomery County police say most of them have been evacuated. But a “small number” of people are still being held as hostages.

The scene at the building sounds like it was pretty chaotic. One Discovery employee tells Washington City Paper an announcement was made telling workers to find a safe spot. She and some colleagues went to a conference room, which they barricaded shut with a table. After an hour there, they got an e-mail saying they could leave. She’s now standing outside the building, and can see SWAT and bomb squad officers nearby.

Channel 9 News says this is a list of his demands, which City Paper hasn’t been able to verify independently. If these are the gunman’s demands, though, Discovery isn’t likely to agree to them. Here’s an excerpt:

All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it… Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!!

Watch live video of the situation from Channel 9 here:

Photo by thisisbossi via Twitter/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license