Discovery Communications buildingA gunman with an apparent explosive device raided the Discovery Communications (DISCA) building near Washington D.C. and has taken hostages, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Local police officials are negotiating with the gunman, who entered the building early Wednesday afternoon and took "a small number" of hostages, Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a televised press conference. Manager added "We're going on the assumption that there could be explosive devices," and declined to confirm how many people may have been taken hostage.

He did add, however, that children in a childcare section of the building were evacuated. Many of the company's workers were also able to exit safely.

The suspect, according to various media reports is 43-year-old James Jay Lee, who has repeatedly protested outside of the network's headquarters, saying the channel is failing to provide programming highlighting how humans are harming the earth, MSNBC reported. Manger declined to confirm the suspect's identity.

According to TMZ, Lee posted flyers online about a February protest, calling Discovery programs "failures." Lee, who may have posted other population-control demands online, was sentenced to six months probation for disorderly conduct in 2008, according to MSNBC.

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