The news industry reacted with horror and sadness to the deadly shooting Thursday at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.
Five were killed in the shooting: Rob Hiassen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith.
Suspect Jarrod Ramos was being held without bond on murder charges as of Sunday. Law enforcement sources say Ramos launched an attack on the paper because he was angry about its coverage of his 2011 conviction for harassing a former classmate. Ramos sued the paper, but a judged tossed his lawsuit.
“Our thoughts are with the staff, and the families of those killed and injured,” said the News Media Alliance in a statement.
“Their lives were senselessly taken yesterday by a man who held grudges over reporting,” the statement said. “We will continue to do everything in our power to defend the freedom of the press and honor the sacrifices of the brave and selfless staff of the Capital Gazette.”
After the shooting, Gazette Editor Jimmy DeButts wrote on Twitter, “There are no 40-hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories from our community. We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment. We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community.”
“Nobody should ever go to work fearing for their safety,” said the News Media Alliance. “Journalism cannot flourish in a place where reporters’ lives are at risk for delivering the news, and a democracy cannot flourish without journalism.”
Tronc’s Baltimore Sun Media Group owns the paper. For those wanting to support the families, victims and the survivors, Tronc has established The Capital Gazette Families Fund, managed through The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County.
Here are some details on those killed:
Rob Hiaasen was a columnist and assistant editor. A former reporter for The Baltimore Sun, Hiaasen also write for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. Hiassen was the brother of author Carl Hiaasen. He was 59.
Wendi Winters, 65, came to the newspaper following a career in fashion and public relations, according to the Baltimore Sun. The mother of four quickly became known as an energetic freelance reporter and knowledgeable source about local events in the community.
Gerald Fischman was “the conscience and voice” of the paper colleagues said, paying tribute to the eccentric and “brilliant” editorial page editor.
Rebecca Smith was a sales assistant who was a recent hire at the newspaper. The 34-year-old joined the Capital Gazette after working in marketing for a healthcare organization, according to the Sun. She grew up in the Baltimore area and lived in eastern Baltimore County with her fiance.
John “Mac” McNamara loved covering sports for the Gazette. He had recently returned to covering news as an editor and reporter at the Bowie Blade-News and the Crofton-West County Gazette, according to the Sun. But his social media posts show that sports held a special place in his heart. He was 56.