Breaking: Multiple fatalities in mass shooting at Maryland newspaper office
A gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. According to news reports, five people were killed and more than a dozen were injured. The suspect has been apprehended by police and taken into custody.
Officials said the suspect is an adult male in his 30’s with a "long gun," and gave no further details. No motive for the shooting has been given as of this writing. CNN reported that the suspect has not been cooperative with police. He carried no ID and has refused to identify himself.
The shooting occurred in Capital Gazette's newsroom, and the staff ducked under their desks to find safety. Crime and courts reporter Phil Davis described the horrifying scene on Twitter: "Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees ... There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."
In a subsequent interview with the Baltimore Sun, Davis said the scene was "like a war zone" and said the reporters remained under their desks after the gunfire stopped. "I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped," said Davis. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless."
Police arrived at the scene within 60 seconds of the 911 call, which was around 2:40pm. They found the suspect hiding under a desk in the building, according to Steve Schuh, am Anne Arundel county executive. His weapon was on the floor but not in close proximity. Law enforcement officials the building and discovered package with flammable fluid. A bomb squad has been deployed to check the building for explosive devices.
More than 170 people were in the building at the time of the shooting. They have been safely evacuated. According to the Capital Gazette's website, their daily newspaper and sister publications have an editorial staff of 45, plus a sales and advertising team of 10.
In Baltimore, New York City and Los Angeles, law enforcement has deployed officers to protect major media organizations as a precaution.
President Trump has been briefed on the shooting. He tweeted, "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."
Capital Gazette editor Jimmy DeButts tweeted that he was "devastated and heartbroken." He said does not wish to be interviewed about the shooting at this time. But he praised his hardworking staff, explaining that they do "more with less" and have "a passion for telling stories from our community." They lived to serve their community, and in this case, died for it.
As of this writing, the shooter has not been identified, and there is no information as to his motive.