(RNN) – In the wake of a shooting that killed five people at his newspaper, the Capital Gazette, on Thursday, reporter Chase Cook tweeted: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”
And they did.
Reporters, editors and salespeople were all doing their jobs when a gunman blasted out the glass doors to their newsroom with a shotgun and began a rampage. The shooter, a who had attempted to sue the paper years ago and had posted threats on social media, used a pump-action shotgun bought legally in the attack, police said Friday.
“The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill,” said Anne Arundel County, MD, Chief Timothy Altomare, who refused to say the suspect’s name.
The man believed responsible has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and was ordered held in jail without bail, following his bail review at the Annapolis District Courthouse. President Donald Trump said Friday the shooting “shocked the conscious of the nation and filled our hearts with grief.”
‘Please help us’
Staffers hid under desks as the shooting happened, praying for it to end. When it did, they turned to the surreal, unthinkable task of reporting a shooting that had just targeted them.
Anthony Messenger, an intern, was the first to alert the world to what was happening. According to his bio on the Capital Gazette website, after the summer he’ll be a senior at Salisbury University, and he’s edited a website covering Clemson University athletics.
“Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us,” he tweeted.
“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.”
McKerrow was not at the office when the shooting happened, but arrived shortly after to document the scene.
He posted three pictures and wrote, “Massive police response to shooting in my newsroom in Annapolis.”
Later, he tweeted out the names of journalists he knew to be safe.
Cook, a county and government reporter, also was not in the building at the time of the shooting, but arrived and reported that five were dead. He covered press conferences in the afternoon and evening.
He tweeted about his editor, Rob Hiaasen, one of the five who died.
“He called me this morning asking about a headline clarification. He was an amazing editor who made me a better reporter,” he wrote. “I cannot believe he is gone.”
Reporters Danielle Ohl and Thalia Juarez also tweeted tributes to Hiaasen.
Hiassen was the brother of novelist and columnist Carl Hiassen, who shared a picture of the two of them on Facebook.
“We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humor that made him larger than all of us,” Carl Hiassen wrote. “Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers tonight. Hug your loved ones like there’s no tomorrow.”
Davis and another colleague, Selene San Felice, a general assignment writer, at one point spoke to Anderson Cooper for his nightly CNN program.
She described hiding under a desk with Messenger, the intern she sat near. She described seeing a colleague, reporter John McNamara, shot and killed as he tried to escape out a locked back door. She described listening to the footsteps of the gunman, and trying not to breathe too loudly as he approached.
“I have heard that President Trump sent his prayers. I’m not trying to make this political, all right? 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.”
She later added, “And so thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a (expletive) about them if there’s nothing else.”
Work continued on the next day’s edition of The Capital, with an assist from the Baltimore Sun, whose parent company owns the paper.
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The Capital produced obituaries on each of its four slain journalists and a fifth victim who worked in sales.
Rebecca Smith, the sales assistant, “was a recent hire at the Capital Gazette but had already proved herself a valuable asset.”
Editorial page editor Gerald Fischman had a “brilliant mind, wry wit and ‘wicked pen’ that his colleagues would treasure.”
Special publications editor Wendi Winters “built a reputation as a prolific freelance reporter and well-known community resource.”
McNamara, a reporter for the surrounding communities, “was remembered by his colleagues for his flexibility, concise writing and extensive knowledge of regional sports.”
And Hiaasen, the assistant editor whom reporters adored, had a “wryly observant writing style” and provided “generous mentoring of young journalists.”
They were all doing the indispensable and, so often, taken-for-granted work of local journalism.
Jimmy DeButts, The Capital’s community news editor, encapsulated his paper’s ongoing mission in a tweet: “We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records & bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters & editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be.”
Yet in spite of the terror, pain and loss, at 12:12 a.m. on Friday The Capital tweeted its cover for the day’s edition.
The headline: “5 shot dead at The Capital.”
READ MORE: Cleveland19.com
Article Courtesy of WOIO Cleveland 19 News
First Picture Courtesy of Mark Wilson and Getty Images
Second Picture Courtesy of Mandel Ngan and Getty Images
First through Ninth Tweet and Third through Seventh Picture Courtesy of Twitter and WOIO Cleveland 19 News