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Gunman kills 5 in attack at Maryland newspaper building

BRIAN WITTE Associated Press • Jun 28, 2018 at 3:31 PM

UPDATE 12:35 A.M. FRIDAY

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A man armed with smoke grenades and a shotgun attacked a newspaper in Maryland’s capital Thursday, killing four journalists and a staffer before police quickly stormed the building and arrested him, police and witnesses said.

The shooting came amid months of verbal and online attacks on the “fake news media” from politicians and others from President Donald Trump on down. It prompted New York City police to immediately tighten security at news organizations in the nation’s media capital.

Police in Annapolis said a white man in his late 30s was in custody after the rampage at The Capital Gazette. A law enforcement official said the suspect was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Acting Police Chief William Krampf of Anne Arundel County called it a targeted attack in which the gunman “looked for his victims.”

“This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people,” Krampf said.

The dead included veteran journalist and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59, brother of novelist Carl Hiaasen. Carl Hiaasen said he was “devastated and heartsick” at losing his brother, “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.” Also slain were editorial page editor Gerald Fischman; special publications editor Wendi Winters; writer John McNamara, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith. Police said two others had minor injuries, and the newspaper later reported two employees were subsequently released from a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Krampf said the gunman was a Maryland resident, but didn’t name him.

Phil Davis, a reporter who covers courts and crime for the paper, tweeted that the gunman shot out the glass door to the office and fired into the newsroom, sending people scrambling under desks.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he wrote.

At the White House, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: “There is no room for violence, and we stick by that. Violence is never tolerated in any form, no matter whom it is against.”

Meanwhile, investigators said they would seek to learn more of the gunman’s motives.

“The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don’t have any information yet on motive,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said.

In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper, alleging he was harmed by an article about his conviction in a criminal harassment case a year earlier. The suit was dismissed by a judge who wrote Ramos hadn’t shown “anything that was published about you is, in fact, false.” An appeals court later upheld the dismissal.

In an interview appearing on The Capital Gazette’s online site, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices.

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

The attacker had mutilated his fingers in an apparent attempt to make it harder to identify him, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. Another official who also spoke on condition of anonymity said he was identified with help of facial recognition technology.

Police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said his local agency couldn’t confirm those accounts.

Frashure said officers arrived within about 60 seconds and took the gunman into custody without an exchange of gunfire. About 170 people were evacuated, many leaving with their hands up as police and other emergency vehicles arrived.

Reporter Selene San Felice told CNN she ran after hearing shots but found a back door locked, then watched as a colleague was shot.

“I heard footsteps a couple of times ... I was breathing really loud and was trying not to, but I couldn’t be quiet,” she added.

The reporter recalled a June 2016 mass shooting attack on Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse and how terrified people crouching inside had texted loved ones as dozens were killed. She added: “And there I was sitting under a desk, texting my parents and telling them I loved them.”

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the community was grieving the attack on its paper.

“These are the guys that come to city council meetings, have to listen to boring politicians and sit there,” Buckley said. “They don’t make a lot of money. It’s just immoral that their lives should be in danger.”

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

The Associated Press Media Editors have promised to help Capital Gazette journalists as they recover. An APME statement called on newspapers nationwide to help the paper and its journalists so they can continue to cover their community and fight for freedom of the press.

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

This story has been corrected to show that the White House spokeswoman’s last name is Walters, not Walter.

 

 

 

 

UPDATE 9:14 P.M.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at a newspaper office in Maryland’s capital on Thursday, killing five people and gravely wounding several others before being taken into custody in what appeared to be one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history, police and witnesses said.

Police gave no immediate details on the gunman or his motive in the rampage at The Capital Gazette and said he was being interrogated. Authorities said they also found what they believed to be an explosive device.

Phil Davis, a reporter who covers courts and crime for the paper, tweeted that the gunman shot out the glass door to the office and fired into the newsroom, sending people scrambling for cover under desks.

“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,” he wrote.

Davis added: “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

The attacker had mutilated his fingers in an apparent attempt to make it harder to identify him, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity. Another official who also spoke on condition of anonymity said investigators identified the man using facial recognition technology.

The shooting — which came amid months of verbal and online attacks on the “fake news media” from politicians and others from President Donald Trump on down— prompted New York City police to immediately tighten security at news organizations in the nation’s media capital.

At the White House, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: “There is no room for violence, and we stick by that. Violence is never tolerated in any form, no matter whom it is against.”

The gunman, whose name was not immediately released, was believed to have used a shotgun, according to a U.S. official who was briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The gunman was not carrying any identification, authorities said.

“The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don’t have any information yet on motive,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said. “To my knowledge, there was no verbal aspect to the incident where he declared his motives or anything else, so at this point we just don’t know.”

Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief William Krampf confirmed five deaths and said several others were gravely hurt. At least two hospitals said they received three patients, two of them with minor injuries not caused by gunshots.

Police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said officers raced to the scene, arriving in 60 seconds, and took the gunman into custody without an exchange of gunfire.

About 170 people in all were evacuated from the building as a multitude of police cars and other emergency vehicles converged on the scene. People could be seen leaving the building with their hands up.

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com.

In an interview with The Capital Gazette’s online site, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

Davis told the paper he and others were still hiding under their desks when the gunman stopped firing.

“I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” he said.

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the community is grieving the attack on the community paper.

“These are the guys that come to city council meetings, have to listen to boring politicians and sit there,” Buckley said. “They don’t make a lot of money It’s just immoral that their lives should be in danger.”

New York police sent counterterrorism teams to news organizations around the city in a move authorities said was a precaution, not prompted by any specific threat. Police could be seen outside The New York Times, ABC News and Fox News early in the evening.

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

This story has been corrected to show that the White House spokeswoman’s last name is Walters, not Walter.

 

 

 

________

UPDATE 4:56 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A single shooter killed five people Thursday and wounded others at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, and police said a suspect was in custody.

A reporter at The Capital Gazette tweeted that a single gunman fired into the newsroom and shot multiple employees. Phil Davis, who covers courts and crime for the newspaper, tweeted that the shooter fired through the glass door to the office.

"A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead," he tweeted. Officials later confirmed that five people were killed.

Davis added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief William Krampf confirmed the five deaths Thursday at a news conference.

Anne Arundel police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said officers had raced to the scene, arriving 60 seconds, and engaged the shooter.

Arminta Plater, a spokeswoman for a hospital near the newspaper, said two patients had arrived there but she did not know their conditions.

People could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged.

In an interview with The Capital Gazette's online site, Davis said it "was like a war zone" inside the newspaper's offices — a situation that would be "hard to describe for a while."

"I'm a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time," he said. "But as much as I'm going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don't know until you're there and you feel helpless."

Davis told the paper he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing. "I don't know why. I don't know why he stopped," he said.

A gas station employee near the shooting scene described a flood of police activity in the area as he sat tight inside his still-open workplace.

In a phone interview, Carlos Wallace, who works just down the street from the newspaper's offices, said law enforcement vehicles and ambulances had raced toward the scene with sirens blaring.

"The road is blocked off real good. It's like dozens of dozens of emergency vehicles, police cars of all types, explosive vehicles, battering ram vehicles, all kinds of stuff," Wallace said at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday.

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was "absolutely devastated" at the tragedy. Officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on it. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Waters told reporters, "our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected."

——-

UPDATE 4:32PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, and police said a suspect was in custody.

A reporter at The Capital Gazette tweeted that a single individual fired into the newsroom and shot multiple employees. Phil Davis, who covers business and politics for the newspaper, tweeted that the gunman fired through the glass door to the office.

"A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead," he tweeted. Officials declined to officially confirm if anyone was killed.

He added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers were searching the building.

Another police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said at a news conference, "We did have an active shooter situation inside that building. Again we do have injuries. I can't give the extent of those injuries at this point." He said officers must look for other dangers, such as bombs and other shooters.

Arminta Plater, a spokeswoman for a hospital near the newspaper, said two patients had arrived there but she did not know their conditions.

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged.

A gas station employee near the shooting scene described a flood of police activity in the area as he sat tight inside his still-open workplace.

In a phone interview, Carlos Wallace, who works just down the street from the newspaper's offices, estimated that "dozens of dozens" of law enforcement vehicles and ambulances had raced toward the scene with sirens blaring.

"The road is blocked off real good. It's like dozens of dozens of emergency vehicles, police cars of all types, explosive vehicles, battering ram vehicles, all kinds of stuff," Wallace said at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday.

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was "absolutely devastated" at the tragedy. Officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on it. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Waters told reporters, "our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected."

UPDATE 4:12 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.

A reporter at The Capital Gazette tweeted that a single individual shot multiple people. Phil Davis, who covers business and politics for the newspaper, tweeted that the gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.

He added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers were searching the building where the shooting was reported. He said the situation is "active and ongoing."

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.

A gas station employee near the shooting site described a flood of police activity in the area as he sat tight inside his still-open workplace.

In a phone interview, Carlos Wallace, who works at a station just down the street from the newspaper's offices, estimated that "dozens of dozens" of law enforcement vehicles and ambulances had raced toward the scene with sirens blaring.

"The road is blocked off real good. It's like dozens of dozens of emergency vehicles, police cars of all types, explosive vehicles, battering ram vehicles, all kinds of stuff," Wallace said at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday.

Lt. Ryan Frashure, another spokesman for Anne Arundel County police, said on WJLA that officers are "doing everything to get people out safe." He said they must look for other dangers, such as bombs and other shooters.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to reports of the shooting.

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was "absolutely devastated" at the tragedy. Officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on it. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Waters told reporters, "our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected."

——

UPDATE 3:57PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.

A reporter at The Capital tweeted that a single individual shot multiple people. Phil Davis, who covers business and politics for the newspaper, tweeted that the gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.

He added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to reports of the shooting.

Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers were searching the building where the shooting was reported. He said the situation is "active and ongoing."

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.

Lt. Ryan Frashure, another spokesman for Anne Arundel County police, said on WJLA that officers are "doing everything to get people out safe." He said they must look for other dangers, such as bombs and other shooters.

The Capital and newspapers including the Maryland Gazette are owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was "absolutely devastated" at the tragedy. Officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on it. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Waters told reporters, "our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected."

-—

UPDATE 3:45 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Multiple people have been shot at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun, which owns The Capital newspaper in Annapolis says a reporter told them of the shooting Thursday afternoon.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to reports of the shooting.

Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers are searching the building where the shooting was reported. He said the situation is "active and ongoing."

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.

Lt. Ryan Frashure, another spokesman for Anne Arundel County police, said on WJLA that officers are "doing everything to get people out safe." He said they must look for other dangers, such as bombs and other shooters.

——

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Multiple people have been shot at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Annapolis newspaper, says a reporter told them of the shooting Thursday afternoon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it is responding to reports of the shooting.

Marc Limansky is a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police Department. He says officers are searching the building in Annapolis where the shooting was reported. He says the situation is "active and ongoing."

On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.

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