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One of the devices detonated when police shot him, Manger said. Authorities later sent in a robot to disarm a device on the gunman’s body.

Lee also had what appeared to be a remote radio frequency or a remote switch with an antenna on it, and police were concerned Lee could use a remote control to set off bombs. Police also discovered batteries, two handguns and two ski masks at the scene.

NBC News reported that after its producers called Discovery’s general number, a man identifying himself as Lee got on the phone and said he had a gun and several bombs.

“I have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off. I have a device that if I drop it, if I drop it, it will … explode,” the man told NBC.

He said he built the bombs in about three weeks. “I did a lot of research. I had to experiment,” he said.

One hostage, Discovery employee Jim McNulty, posted a message on the company’s website, thanking authorities for “helping to ensure the safety of all my colleagues” and “for helping to get me and my fellow hostages out safely.” He said he wouldn’t talk now about what happened because police were still investigating.

Lee faulted the Discovery Channel for shows as varied as “Future Weapons,” “It Takes a Thief” and “Planet Green.” Instead, he sought programming based on “My Ishmael,” a book by philosopher Daniel Quinn in which a telepathic gorilla instructs a 12-year-old girl on society’s failings. On his MySpace page, Lee said his heroes were Quinn and “Star Trek” commander James T. Kirk.

Quinn said in an interview from his Houston home that Lee misinterpreted his book’s message about the folly of continually increasing food production to meet population demands.

The author said he hadn’t heard of Lee before Wednesday but called his death “pretty horrible.” Had he been able to speak with him, he would have told Lee “he’s giving a bad name to the ideas that he’s trying to espouse.”

Lee in 2008 also held a related contest promising $200,000 worth of Hawaiian real estate for the best essay proposing a save-the-planet TV show. On his MySpace page that has since been taken down, he lists his home as Hawaii.

The Maui News and KHON-TV reported that Lee had lived in the Lahaina area of West Maui. The newspaper reported that he was a 1985 graduate of Lahainaluna High School and his former classmates and principal described him as a normal person who didn’t cause any trouble.

“As far as I’m concerned, he was a good kid,” former Lahainaluna principal Henry Ariyoshi told The Maui News.

None of the 1,900 people who work in the building were hurt, and most made it out before the standoff ended Wednesday.

“We’re relieved that it ended without any harm to our employees,” said David Leavy, Discovery’s executive vice president for corporate affairs.

The building was to reopen briefly Thursday for employees to return. Counselors were offering assistance to Discovery Channel employees, said Catherine Frymark a company spokeswoman.

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