Annapolis’ Capital Gazette mourns employees killed in shooting attack


(JTA) — Authorities in Maryland published the names of the five people killed in what police said was a targeted attack on a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland by a shooter who had been the subject of critical coverage.

The victims of the attack Thursday afternoon on the Capital Gazette were 61-year-old Gerald Fischman, who reportedly was Jewish, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34, editor Rob Hiassen, 59, reporter and editor John McNamara, 56, reporter Wendi Winters, 65.

Police arrested Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel man. He was charged with five counts of murder, the Baltimore Sun reported. The report did not say how Ramos pleaded.

Ramos’ dispute with the Capital Gazette began in 2011 when a columnist wrote about a criminal harassment case against him. He brought a defamation suit against the columnist and the organization’s editor and publisher. A court ruled in the Capital Gazette’s favor, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.

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Police said 170 people were inside during the attack. Staffers scrambled to find cover from the bullets, some diving behind desks, witnesses said. At least three people sustained serious injuries in the shooting, Radio WMFE reported.

Fischman, who worked on the paper since 1992, was known for his annual editorial on Christmas, despite the fact that he was Jewish, The Jewish Chronicle of London reported. At the time of his death, he was the Gazette’s editorial page editor. Colleagues described him as humorous, extremely knowledgeable, polite and a committed professional.

The Sun also said that he married late in life, to a Mongolian opera singer he had met online. At an awards event shortly after he wed — Fischman won many prizes for his work — he was asked him how he met his wife. “I typed ‘Mongolian opera singer’ into a dating site,” he replied.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” he wrote. “Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”

Rebecca Smith, the 34-year-old sales assistant, “was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business,” her boss, Marty Padden, told the Sun. She lived with her fiance in eastern Baltimore County and actively posted images documenting her social life.

Hiassen’s wife, Maria, told NBC that her late husband “loved being a dad, an editor who helped shape young talent, and a creative writer and humorist.” The couple had three children together.

McNamara was a veteran reporter and editor. On his LinkedIn page, he described himself as a beat reporter for University of Maryland athletics and the Orioles minor league system. He also helped put together the daily sports section.

Winters “was in many ways the best part of the newspaper in that she cared so much about the city,” said former Capital Gazette editor Steve Gunn. Winters worked as community reporter for the paper. She had four children.

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