Staff at a Maryland newspaper have published a Friday edition after a gunman killed five people and injured two more at the paper’s office. “We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” tweeted Chase Cook, a Capital Gazette reporter. Staff worked in the car park to get the paper out. The gunman, who fired through a glass door into the newsroom on Thursday with a shotgun, was arrested afterwards. He has been charged with murder and has a bail hearing shortly. A Capital Gazette reporter tweeted the charge sheet which shows that Jarrod Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
The suspect is reported to have unsuccessfully sued the newspaper group in 2012 for defamation. The paper tweeted the front page of their Friday paper as well as obituaries of their colleagues. First reports of the shooting came at 14:40 local time (18:40 GMT) on Thursday. Journalists inside the building posted on social media as the gunman fired through the glass door of the office with a shotgun and shot at staff inside. An intern at the paper, Anthony Messenger, tweeted as the attacker opened fire. Fellow staff member Selene San Felice told CNN her first reaction to the shooting had been to lie down under her desk. She tried to get out through a rear door but it was locked.
Crime reporter Phil Davis was also in the building and told The Baltimore Sun part of the same media group as the Gazette that he and his colleagues had hidden under their desks. “I don’t know why he stopped [shooting],” he told the paper. He described the scene as “like a war zone” and tweeted about his experiences as he waited to be interviewed by police. County executive Steve Schuh told CNN the suspect had been hiding under a desk in the building when police officers arrived “within 60 seconds” of receiving news of the incident. There was “no exchange of fire”, he added.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said William Krampf, deputy chief of Anne Arundel County Police. He added that the gunman had “entered the building with a shotgun and looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level”. Speaking to reporters, Mr Krampf said an item “we believed to be an explosive device” had been found at the premises and destroyed. It turned out to be a smoke bomb, he said. Police say they safely evacuated 170 people from the building, which housed 30 other businesses.
The authorities have named the dead as:
Wendi Winters, 65, editor and community reporter
Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant
Robert Hiaasen, 59, assistant editor and columnist
Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial writer
John McNamara, 56, reporter and editor
The Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted that before the Maryland shooting, seven journalists had been killed in the US in relation to their work since 1992. Most recently, TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed in 2015 during an interview in Moneta, Virginia.