June 28 (UPI) — Five people died Thursday after a gunman opened fire in what police described as a targeted attack on an Annapolis, Md., newspaper.
The shooting happened in the building where the Capital Gazette operates, The Baltimore Sun, which owns the newspaper, reported.
In an evening news conference, Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief Bill Krampf said the shooting “was a targeted attack on the Capitol Gazette.” He said it wasn’t clear if the gunman, a man in his late 30s, knew specific employees at the newspaper.
“This was quite obvious and quite apparent that this individual had some type of a vendetta against the Capital newspaper, and they were specifically targeted,” Anne Arundel Police Lt. Ryan Frashure added.
The shooting also left several people severely injured.
“We’ve had a terrible shooting incident here this afternoon,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh told reporters earlier in the day. “There are several people who have died from this incident and several others injured.”
Schuh said emergency officials transported the injured to Anne Arundel Medical Center and University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma.
He said four people died on the scene and a fifth died at Shock Trauma. He confirmed police arrested and were questioning a suspect.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he was “devastated” to learn of the shooting.
“I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh and [Maryland State Police] is on the scene assisting [the Anne Arundel County Police],” he tweeted. “Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community.”
Phil Davis, a courts and crime reporter at the Gazette, said he was in the newsroom when the gunman opened fire. He shared his observations on Twitter.
“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,” he tweeted.
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he added.
Sources told CNN that police stopped the gunman has not cooperated with police.
Schuh said officers responded to the scene within 60 seconds of the first report of the shooting and they found the gunman hiding inside the building.
Officers “went immediately into that building without a moment’s hesitation and demonstrated incredible courage,” he said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”
“If they were not there as quickly as they were it could have been a lot worse,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said.
Krampf said officials recovered what they believed to be an explosive device but it was “taken care of.” He said the building was secure.
“That is not an IED, it was actually canisters of smoke grenades that he used inside of the building when he entered the establishment,” Krampf said.
President Donald Trump and first Lady Melania Trump were briefed on the shooting.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the first responders who are currently on the scene,” the president said.
Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and New York City said they were monitoring reports from the shooting in Annapolis. The New York Police Department said it sent officers to some local media outlets for security purposes out of caution. The Baltimore Sun said Baltimore police deployed to its newsroom within minutes of the Gazette shooting.
The Society of Professional Journalists “is deeply saddened by the reports from Annapolis, Maryland, that a shooter entered the Annapolis Capital Gazette building and shot several people,” SPJ National President Rebecca Baker said. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their family, friends and colleagues. We are ready to help in any way we can.”
Jimmy DeButts, an editor at the Capital Gazette, posted a series of tweets hours after the shooting saying he was “devastated and heartbroken.”
“I’m in no position to speak, just know [Capital Gazette] reporters [and] editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories from our community,” he said.
“We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets [and] 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.
“We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records [and] bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters [and] editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be,” DeButts concluded.
This is a developing story.