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Gunman shoots up Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland

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Five employees of the Capital Gazette are murdered by gunman said to carry a grudge. The paper continues to operate after bloody tragedy.

On Thursday afternoon, a 38-year-old Laurel, Maryland resident targeted and tragically killed 5 people at the Baltimore Sun-owned, Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Around 2:40 p.m. on June 28, Jarrod W. Ramos reloaded the barrel of his pump-action shotgun as he fired into the newsroom.  Also, reportedly armed with smoke grenades, the perpetrator killed five and injured two.

The victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, an assistant editor and columnist for the Capital Gazette; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the organization’s editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56 year old, staff writer for the publication; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant who was recently hired in November.

Police responded quickly to the scene, storming the building and apprehending the attacker who attempted to act like he was part of Gazette’s staff. According to public online court records, the District Court of Anne Arundel County is charging Ramos with five counts of first-degree murder. Ramos had a bail review hearing scheduled for Friday morning in Annapolis.

The Capital Gazette reports that Ramos is being held without bail, the denial issued by District court Judge, Thomas Pryal.

“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.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, in July 2011, tensions arose when Capital Gazette covered a criminal harassment case against Ramos in a 2011 column entitled, “Jarrod wants to be your friend”. Though pleading guilty to the charges days later, Ramos brought a defamation suit against the organization’s publisher and editor, Thomas Marquardt, as well as the columnist who wrote the piece, Eric Hartley. A court ruled in the paper’s favor, and an appeals court upheld the decision.

Marquardt and Hartley no longer work for the Capital Gazette. They were not present during the shootings.

A Call for Help

As Ramos shot through the office glass, journalists in the line of danger frantically pleaded for assistance underneath their desks via social media.

Intern Anthony Messenger announced via Twitter that the paper was under attack:

Soon after, there was a flood of tweets from Gazette reporters about their ordeal. Courts and crime reporter for the paper, Phil Davis, tweeted:

Resilience

On June 29, the paper tweeted a somber commemoration to their fallen colleagues, simply posting a blank page with the victims’ names and a promise to publish the following day.

Continuing with their duty to report the news, multiple employees of the Gazette and the Sun reported on the ordeal.

Reaffirming Gazette staff writer, Chase Cook’s, vow via Twitter, “Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

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Yolanda Aguilera focuses on culture, politics, policy and Afro-Latinidad.

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