|Police in front of the Discovery headquarters in Silver Spring, Md: AP|
(Story reported by Dan Morse, Christian Davenport, and John Kelly for the Washington Post)
Authorities are negotiating with a man wearing a suspected explosive device who has taken "a small number" of hostages at the Discovery Communications building in downtown Silver Spring, Montgomery County Police said at an afternoon news conference.
The man walked into the large office building in the heart of downtown Silver Spring waving a handgun and wearing what appeared to be metallic canisters on his chest and back on Wednesday afternoon, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said. Local and federal law enforcement sources identified the suspect as James J. Lee.
Manger said that most of the 1,900 people who work at the Discovery building were safely evacuated, including all of the children at the day care center located there. Some employees may still be on the upper levels of the building, Manger said. The suspect is believed to be on the first floor.
Police responded after receiving a 911 call about 1 p.m. of shots fired in the lobby. Police said they do not have confirmation that any shots actually were fired. Police said they have no reports of injuries but believe that hostages are still inside the building.
Police have said they "have an eye on the individual" and are keeping him under close observation."
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