NBC News and news services
updated 9/3/2010 8:22:54 PM ET 2010-09-04T00:22:54

Emergency calls placed minutes after a gunman entered the Discovery Channel's headquarters include descriptions of the propane tanks strapped to his body and a blinking device in his left hand.

Montgomery County police released recordings of radio transmissions and frantic 911 calls Friday, two days after a man held three people hostage for hours at the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, Md. Police say 43-year-old James Lee was shot dead by officers as the captives were preparing to make a break for it.

Lee had for years ranted against the Discovery networks in Web posts.

  1. More on Discovery gunman
    1. More bombs found in Discovery standoff case
    2. Lee's “SaveThePlanetProtest” YouTube video
    3. Discovery gunman to NBC News: 'I have a bomb'
    4. Suspect had long protested Discovery programming

In the 911 recordings, callers described seeing a man with a gun and said the gunman had people down on the floor. One said, "He's got our security guy on the floor."

One Discovery employee who'd been in the building said, "When I walked by him, he said nobody move, and he shot in the air, so I ran."

And a building security officer, who was watching the lobby through surveillance cameras, said, "Looks like he has an IED, like he's setting some sort of explosive device in the lobby, so you're going to need a sniper."

Though speaking with considerable urgency, the callers are surprisingly calm and straightforward, as are the 911 operators.

The calls were placed as the standoff began.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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