Police: Gunman Holds Hostage in Discovery Building - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police: Gunman Holds Hostage in Discovery Building

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The headquarters of Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md. (Photo: CBS) The headquarters of Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md. (Photo: CBS)

WASHINGTON (CBS)- A gunman who had what police described as "concerns" with the Discovery Channel networks took at least one person hostage in the company's suburban Washington headquarters Wednesday.

Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks would not say if the man works for Discovery Communications now or worked there in the past. He also would not say whether anybody was hurt.

Montgomery County fire spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia said three bomb technicians responded to the scene and several more were on the way.

The initial report was of a suspicious package that was possibly explosive, said Garcia, who also said no one had been injured. He said some employees had left the building.

Montgomery County Police Cpl. Dan Friz told WJLA-TV that a tactical team was trying to get in touch with the gunman, who was being monitored on closed circuit TV.

Adam Dolan, a sales director in Discovery's education division, told The Associated Press by phone that he was heading to lunch with a co-worker when he heard there was a situation in the building.

He was told to go back up to the top floor, the ninth, and lock the door and turn off the lights. Eventually the workers were herded down a stairwell and told to go home.

"Everyone was very scared, but at the same time ... I think people were calm and collected and responded as one would expect in this situation," said Dolan, 28.

When he got to the bottom floor, he saw shattered glass near the company's daycare and suspected it was broken to get the children out. He later got an e-mail that all the children were safe and had been taken to a McDonalds.

Dolan said the company has unarmed security guards who won't let anyone into the building without a badge.

Another person inside the building told The Associated Press the gunman had something strapped to his chest and had hostages. The person asked not to be identified, saying people inside were told not to speak to the media.

County government spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the hostage-taker was armed and claiming to have an explosive device.

It was unclear how many people were being held hostage, Lacefield said. Police evacuated the building, asked people in nearby buildings to stay inside and blocked off surrounding streets, he said.

ATF and FBI officials also said they were responding.

Discovery Communications LLC operates cable and satellite networks in the U.S., including The Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. Discovery shows include "Cash Cab" and "Man vs. Wild," and TLC airs "American Chopper" and "Kate Plus Eight."

Animal Planet also airs the controversial series "Whale Wars," about attempts by environmentalists to disrupt the Japanese whaling industry.

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