'We're Putting Out a Damn Paper,' Says Newspaper After Shooting

Attack was deadliest on US journalists since 9/11
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2018 6:41 AM CDT
Capital Gazette : 'We're Putting Out a Damn Paper'
Police block off the area around the home of a suspect who opened fire on a newspaper office in Maryland's capital earlier, in Laurel, Md., Thursday, June 28, 2018.   (AP Photo/Michael Kunzelman)

After a gunman killed five people in its newsroom Thursday, Maryland's Capital Gazette made a promise: "Yes, we're putting out a damn paper tomorrow," the Annapolis newspaper tweeted defiantly. Despite the loss of three editors and a staff writer—and the fact that their newsroom is now a crime scene—surviving staffers pulled together to prepare the Friday edition, the AP reports. "I don't know that there was ever any thought to not putting something together," says high school sports editor John Hough, who prepared the sports section at his home. Two other journalists worked in a mall parking garage. By Thursday evening, the paper's website had coverage of the mass shooting, along with profiles of the five murdered staffers. In other developments:

  • Suspect charged. Court records show that suspect Jarrod Warren Ramos, who is believed to have had a longstanding grudge against the newspaper, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and will have a bail hearing Friday morning, CNN reports. Law enforcement sources say Ramos altered his fingerprints, possibly to avoid being identified, but facial recognition technology revealed his identity.

  • Social media threats. Deadline reports that police are investigating whether the suspect, who attacked the newsroom with a shotgun and smoke grenades, was behind earlier threats to the Capital Gazette on social media. One threat of violence was made just hours before the 2:30pm attack.
  • Years of harassment. The Capital Gazette takes a look at why Ramos targeted the newspaper. He sued the paper and a reporter for defamation after a 2012 article stated that he had been charged with harassment in 2011 for harassing a former classmate on Facebook and threatening to kill her. Ramos' lawsuit failed after a court decided the story was entirely truthful, though appeals were going through the courts until 2015. Former editor Thomas Marquardt says the paper had years of harassment and threats from Ramos, including a campaign on social media, and he "said at one time to my attorneys that this was a guy that was going to come and shoot us."
  • A fundraiser. A GoFundMe fundraiser to help with medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs, and other expenses raised almost $60,000 toward its $70,000 goal in a matter of hours. It was started by Bloomberg reporter Madi Alexander.

  • "Heartbreaking." "The killing of five of our colleagues at the Annapolis Capital Gazette and the shooting of several more is heartbreaking," writes the editorial board at the Baltimore Sun, which acquired the paper in 2014. The board expresses its deep gratitude to police for their swift action and calls for action to prevent gun violence, regardless of whether it would have stopped this particular shooting.
  • Hannity points the finger. Fox host Sean Hannity blamed Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters' call for opponents to confront members of Trump's Cabinet. "I've been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric," he said. "Really, Maxine?"
  • Deadly day for US journalists. This was the deadliest attack on US journalists since the 9/11 attacks, when a photojournalist was killed by falling debris and several other media workers died in the Twin Towers. It makes the US the second-deadliest country in the world for journalists this year, behind Afghanistan, according to Axios.

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  • Moves to protect other media. Before the gunman's apparent motive was known, law enforcement officials across the country took steps to protect newspapers, reports the New York Times, which notes the Capital Gazette is one of the oldest media organizations in the country, with roots going back to the 18th century.
  • Reporting while under attack. The BBC reports that Capital Gazette journalists including crime reporter Phil Davis reported on the attack on their newsroom while it was underway. He said the gunman shot through the glass door to the office before opening fire on employees. "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," he tweeted.
  • Mayor speaks out. Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the community was in mourning, the AP reports. "These are the guys that come to city council meetings, have to listen to boring politicians and sit there. They don't make a lot of money. It's just immoral that their lives should be in danger."
(More mass shootings stories.)

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