A man opened fire at the local newspaper office in Annapolis, killing five and injuring many, police said to the media.
An attacker is a white male, in his late 30s, identified by US media as Jarrod Ramos, who reportedly sued the newspaper back in 2012 for defamation.
The surviving staff at the office said that the attacker was armed with a shotgun and smoke grenade, and he shot through the glass door into the room.
The police arrested a male suspect, and he was being questioned, but the motive is still unknown.
Deputy Chief of Anne Arundel County Police, William Krampf, sad that this was a “targeted attack” on the Capital Gazette and that the attacker entered the building looking for his victims. He adds that the item found on the premises was a smoke bomb, but 170 people were escorted out of the building for safety.
The police arrived within “60 seconds” to the crime scene, and according to Steve Schuh, county executive, the attacker was “hiding under the desk,” and he added that there was “no exchange of fire.”
The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were also involved in response to the attack.
The police identified five victims as:
Wendi Winters, 65, reporter
Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant
Robert Hiaasen, 59, editor
Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial writer
John McNamara, 56, reporter and editor
One of the victim’s brother, Carl Hiaasen, who is also an author and Miami Herald columnist, paid tribute to his beloved brother on his twitter, writing:
“I am devastated and heartsick to confirm the loss of my wonderful brother Rob today in the mass shooting in the newsroom at the Annapolis Capital Gazette. Rob was an editor and columnist at the paper, and one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known. He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public’s right to know the news.
We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humor that made him larger than all of us.
Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers tonight.
Hug your loved ones like there’s no tomorrow.”
Capital Gazette shooting suspect Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and a columnist in 2012. https://t.co/GN67m4uyLE
— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
Capital Gazette’s stuff promised to put out the Friday’s edition.
Chase Cook, a reporter, tweeted: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”
Another reporter, Phil Davis tweeted: “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” describing the scene as a “war zone.” According to Phil Davis, the attacker stopped shooting at one moment, but people were still hiding under their desks.
A staff member, Selene San Felice said to CNN that her first reaction was to hide under her desk and that she tried to go out the back door, but they were locked.
“We are close. We are family. I am devastated,” said Danielle Ohl, a reporter, describing how she felt about the people she shared her small newsroom with.
The editor at the Capital Gazette Jimmy DeButts tweeted:
“Devastated & heartbroken. Numb. Please stop asking for information/interviews. I’m in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays – just a passion for telling stories from our communty.”
Devastated & heartbroken. Numb. Please stop asking for information/interviews. I’m in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays – just a passion for telling stories from our communty.
— Jimmy DeButts (@jd3217) June 28, 2018
President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter account that he is sending his thoughts and prayers to the families.
Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later wrote that she “strongly condemns the attack on journalists doing their job” saying that attack on them is “an attack on every American.” She also added that her prayers are with family and friends of the victims.
Other political subjects also paid tribute to victims. Larry Hogan, Maryland governor, said he was “absolutely devastated and in contact with authorities.”
Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic senator, responded to Phil Davis tweet, saying:
“Phil, I can’t imagine what you and the entire Capital Gazette team are going through right now. Journalists shouldn’t have to fend off bullets in the newsroom while doing their jobs—this is not normal. Stay strong.”