Police have identified the five people who were killed in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday, June 28.
The victims are assistant editor and and Sunday columnist Rob Hiassen, 59; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; sports reporter John McNamara, 56; local news reporter Wendi Winters, 65; and recently hired sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34.
Hiassen was hired by The Capital in 2010. He previously worked as a staff reporter for The Baltimore Sun for 15 years, in addition to having roles as a staff reporter for The Palm Beach Post in Florida and a news anchor at various radio stations in the South. His brother, author Carl Hiassen, remembered Rob in a Facebook post on Thursday as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”
Fischman, meanwhile, worked at the newspaper for more than 25 years. He recently won two awards from the MDDC Press Association for his editorials about local councilman John Grasso and a teen named Conner Prout who was accused of hanging a noose outside of a middle school. “He had an encyclopedia knowledge of everything from the philosophy to who knows what,” retired editor Brian Henley told The Baltimore Sun.
McNamara had several job titles during his 20-plus years working in the Capital Gazette newsroom. He covered sports and also wrote two books about the history of the University of Maryland’s football and basketball teams. He was working on another book about baseball players in the Washington area before his death. “At a small paper like that, you have to be versatile,” former Capital Gazette sports editor Gerry Jackson told the paper. “He could write. He could edit. He could design pages. He was just a jack of all trades and a fantastic person.”
Winters, for her part, covered local news and also wrote several weekly columns. She previously worked in public relations in New York City. “In the end, she was the heart of The Capital,” newsroom editor Steve Gunn told The New York Times. “Her community coverage was just remarkable, and it’s what people talked about.”
Smith proved herself as a “valuable asset” to the Capital Gazette in her short time working in the newsroom, according to her obituary in The Baltimore Sun. “She was a very thoughtful person,” advertising director Marty Padden said. “She was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business.
The shooting began at approximately 2:34 p.m. local time and first made headlines when several staffers and an intern tweeted that they heard gunshots in the office. Police announced later on Thursday that they had charged a 38-year-old man named Jarrod Warren Ramos with five counts of first-degree murder. According to court documents obtained by CNN, the suspect had filed a defamation claim against the newspaper in July 2012 over an article about his guilty plea in a harassment case the previous year.
William Krampf, the acting chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said in a press conference, “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette. This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”
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