Annapolis, Maryland police confirmed five people are dead and two people are injured after a shooting that police described as a “targeted attack” which occurred Thursday, June 28 in the building where Capital Gazette Communications, publisher of several papers serving northern Virginia, is located. Police said they have one suspect in custody who is a white male in his late 30s that used a shotgun in the shooting.
The deceased victims were all Gazette employees, according to police, and were identified Thursday evening:
- Wendi Winters (reporter)
- Rebecca Smith (sales associate)
- Robert Hiaasen (editor)
- Gerald Fishman (page editor)
- John McNamara (editor/reporter)
Editor Robert Hiaasen’s brother Carl Hiaasen said in a Facebook post that he was “devastated and heartsick” to confirm the news. He characterized Robert as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”
I am devastated and heartsick to confirm the loss of my wonderful brother Rob today in the mass shooting in the newsroom…
The building has been “tactically secured” after police recovered smoke grenade canisters that the suspect used when he entered the Capital’s newsroom – which is on the first floor of the building.
Maryland Governor Hogan and police officials said officers were on the scene within “60 seconds;” police received 9-1-1 calls at 2:34 in the afternoon. Officials noted at least 10 agencies are involved in the response to the incident, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Phil Davis, a reporter for The Capital, said on Twitter that the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.” A second tweet read “There is nothing more terrifying than having multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
Capital Gazette Communications is owned by the Baltimore Sun. Police performed a cursory sweep of the Sun’s office as a precaution, according to an agency spokesperson.
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen tweeted support, saying “My heart is with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation.”
The Capital Gazette is our local newspaper and is often the first to tell our story. We are grieving with their staff and loved ones after the tragic events that occurred today. @capgaznews
— U.S. Naval Academy (@NavalAcademy) June 28, 2018
Officials do not yet know a motive for the incident, but did confirm that “general threats” were made towards the Capital on social media “as early as today.”
Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn, who runs the Capital’s parent company, said in a statement that they are “increasing security presence at the company out of “abundant precaution.”
“We are focused on providing support to our colleagues and their families,” Dearborn said. “Members of our corporate leadership team are traveling to Maryland immediately to assist our local leadership and employees in Annapolis and Baltimore.”
The New York and Los Angeles Police Departments reported deploying officers to major news outlets including the New York Times in response to the Capital shooting.
There aren’t usually NYPD officers lined up at the entrance to the NYT building. One of them said it was a “precaution” after the newsroom shooting in Annapolis. pic.twitter.com/Y7cWULCe2i
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) June 28, 2018
A GoFundMe page was set up to support the news organization for newsroom repairs, medical bills, and any other expenses that might come from the shooting.