5 victims identified in 'targeted' shooting at Maryland newspape

5 victims identified in 'targeted' shooting at Maryland newspaper

The gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. (Source: WBAL/CNN) The gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. (Source: WBAL/CNN)
People evacuate from the office where a gunman opened fire at a newspaper in Annapolis. (Source: WBAL/CNN) People evacuate from the office where a gunman opened fire at a newspaper in Annapolis. (Source: WBAL/CNN)

(RNN) – A gunman shot and killed at least five people and several others were wounded at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, MD, on Thursday, Acting Chief William Krampf with Anne Arundel County Police said. 

Four of the victims died at the scene. One died after being treated at a hospital trauma center. 

A Capital Gazette reporter, Selene San Felice, said in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN that she saw another staff writer, John McNamara, shot and killed. 

She also spoke about how she was feeling.

"I'm not trying to make this political, but we need more than prayers," she said. "I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers. But I want something else."

Police confirmed the five deaths, including McNamara. The other four victims were Wendi Winters, an editor; Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant; Rob Hiaasen, an editor; and Gerald Fischman, an editor.

A GoFundMe started by a Bloomberg journalist has raised more than $52,000 toward a $70,000 goal so far; the initial goal of the GoFundMe had been $30,000, but was increased after reaching that amount.

The suspect is in custody. Police confirmed Jarrod Ramos, who made a defamation claim in court against the newspaper in 2012, was the shooter. The court found in favor of the paper in that case.

"He looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level," Krampf said at an evening news conference. "His intent was to cause harm."

Police Lt. Ryan Frashure told CNN that it did not appear as if the gunman was targeting any one journalist, but rather it "seemed like he was upset at the paper as a whole."

Ramos allegedly harassed the paper after losing his legal case against it - a case which itself was over a story the paper ran detailing how Ramos harassed a woman who'd rejected his advances.

Tom Marquardt, the newspaper’s editor and publisher until 2012, said he and other Gazette employees worried about how to stop Ramos' harassment.

"I said during that time, 'This guy is crazy enough to come in and blow us all away,'" Marquardt said.

Krampf described the attack as "targeted" and said threats had been directed at the newspaper over social media that authorities were investigating.

About 170 people were inside at the time of the shooting. The building houses multiple offices.

Police originally described recovering what they thought was an improvised explosive device, which they later clarified were actually smoke grenades the gunman used as he entered the newsroom.

Law enforcement was at the scene within a minute of getting the call and quickly apprehended the suspect, County Executive Steve Schuh said.

The gunman was found under a desk. No gunfire was exchanged. Police said the shooter used a shotgun.

Schuh praised the quick action of officers.

“It could have been a lot worse,” according to the county executive, who said the shooting didn't appear to be particularly well-planned. “It looked like amateur hour.”

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said police ran an active shooter drill last week.

Capital Gazette reporter Phil Davis was in the newsroom when the shooting took place.

"I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff ... all the time. 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,” he told the Baltimore Sun.

Davis also described the shooting on Twitter.

"A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead," Davis tweeted.

"Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can't say much more and don't want to declare anyone dead, but it's bad," he continued in another tweet.

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

An intern for the paper first tweeted about the shooting.

"Massive police response to shooting in my newsroom in Annapolis," said Joshua McKerrow, a photojournalist for the Capital Gazette.

Despite the shooting, the staff of the paper is still preparing to get Friday's edition out.

"Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis," Gov. Larry Hogan said. "Praying for those at the scene and for our community."

President Donald Trump got word of the shooting before heading to Wisconsin for a rally.

"I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland," Trump tweeted. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families." 

The shooting comes at a time of increasing political unrest across the country and hostility towards the media. The New York Police Department said it was deploying officers to protect media organizations across the city.

Annapolis is the state capital of Maryland. It's located about 30 miles east of Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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