At least five people were killed and others “gravely injured” in a shooting at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, Md, authorities said, reports The Baltimore Sun, which added that a shooter is in custody, police said.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”
“The suspect is Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel man with a longstanding dispute with The Capital, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.
“In 2012, Ramos brought a defamation suit against the columnist and the paper’s former editor and publisher. In 2015, Maryland’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the Capital Gazette and a former reporter who were accused by Ramos of defamation.
“Police said a shotgun was used in the incident. They said officers did not exchange gunfire with the suspect, who was now being interrogated.”
Capitol Communicator Baltimore editor Jeffrey Davis was a reporter with The Capital in the late 1980s and has worked with the newspaper’s staff over the years, including most recently in his role as managing partner with PR and strategic communications firm Van Eperen.
“I know some of those who were murdered, I know many of the staff and am in awe of the guts they displayed while the shooter was still in the newsroom and hours later as they attended a press conference and made plans for the next day’s paper,” Davis said.
“It’s chilling to read crime reporter Phil Davis‘s tweets about listening to the gunman reload after shooting his co-workers and it’s so inspiring to read Chase Cook‘s determination to carry on and report a mass shooting that occurred steps from his desk.”
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.” – Tweet by Capital reporter Phil Davis
“I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.” – Tweet by Capital reporter Chase Cook
Those identified as victims were Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant; Wendi Winters, 65, community news; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial writer; Rob Hiaasen, 59, assistant editor; and John McNamara, sports and news editor. Others remain hospitalized.
The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., issued the following statement: “This shooting is a tragic reminder that reporters – both in the field and in the newsroom are at risk for violence from a variety of sources. Journalism is a dangerous job filled with risks that can turn lethal with little notice. We call on those who use hateful rhetoric to criticize, intimidate and incite violence against journalists for their own political gain to pause and reflect on the damage they do to human beings, their families and their communities. In this climate, we must have more responsible rhetoric from our leaders now and in the future. It is time for leaders to lead and to take care to not encourage hate. To continue the practice of disparaging media in light of today’s tragedy would be the height of irresponsibility and a despicable act against journalism, journalists and democracy.”