At least five people were killed on Thursday and several more “gravely injured” after a gunman opened fire at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland.
An eye witness said the attacker started shooting through a glass door to the newsroom of Capital Gazette which publishes one of America’s oldest newspapers, The Capital.
Police arrived at the scene within around 60 seconds and intercepted the shooter. There was no exchange of gun fire with officers.
The shooter was a white male who used a gun with a “long” barrel, police confirmed. Several US media outlets reported a shotgun was used.
The suspect was taken alive and was being interrogated by police Thursday night, who said he was “not forthcoming” with any motive for the attack.
A law enforcement official also said the suspect had mutilated his fingers in what investigators think was an effort to prevent him from being easily identified.
Nonetheless, authorities are understood to have now identified the man, though no details on him have yet been released.
A suspected bomb was found at the scene and was taken away by explosive experts. Around 170 people were safely evacuated from the building.
Witnesses inside the Capital Gazette newsroom when the shooting happened revealed the horror of the attack shortly after it took place.
Phil Davis, identified as a courts and crime reporter for the paper on Twitter, posted a series of messages describing what he had seen.
“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead. Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees,” he tweeted.
“Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad.
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload. “I’m currently waiting to be interviewed by police, so I’m safe and no longer at the office.”
Law enforcement in Baltimore and New York City deployed protective forces to major media outlets as a precaution, authorities said.
Donald Trump, the US president, was briefed on the incident.
He was on his way back to Washington from an event in Wisconsin on Air Force One yesterday afternoon. Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected.”
Live video images showed people leaving the building, walking through a parking lot with their hands in the air.
Scores of police vehicles were on the scene. Steve Schuh, the Anne Arundel County Executive, said at a news conference: “The shooter is in custody and is being interrogated at this time.” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said: “It’s a tragic situation.
We don’t have all the information yet, and we can’t give all the information yet, but we have had several fatalities.”
Local politicians repeatedly praised the speed with which police attended the scene, saying the death toll could have been higher had they not acted so swiftly.
Investigators were expected to be working throughout the night at the site of the shooting while witnesses were being offered mental health support.
The Capital was founded in 1884 as the Evening Capital, and is one of the oldest newspapers in the US. It currently has a daily readership of 67,000.
The company that owns it started publishing one of the first US news websites in 1994.
Capital Gazette editor “devastated and heatbroken”
Jimmy Debutts, Editor of Capital Gazette has written on Twitter of his heartbreak at today’s events, and paid tribute to his staff.
“We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment,” he said.
“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 & 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.”
Shooting suspect mutilated fingers to hide identity
A law enforcement official says the suspect mutilated his fingers in what investigators think was an effort to prevent him from being easily identified.
The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorised to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official says investigators believe the suspect was attempting to prevent them from getting a fingerprint match.
The official says that investigators have nonetheless been able to identify the man, though it was not immediately clear how.
Fox news draws criticism for investigating Capital Gazette political leaning
In the immediate aftermath of the newsroom shooting, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher announced on air that they had looked into the Capital Gazette’s possible “ideological bent” as a potential motive for the shooting.
Drawing fierce criticism from many on social media he continued: “This newspaper, we kind of looked into the editorial board, who’s on it, what topics they covered,” he said live on air, before concluding that they were “very much a local newspaper.”
“They endorsed a moderate Democrat,” Gallagher said. The paper doesn’t have “a major ideological bent” in case “that plays into the motive of it all.”
Suspect has not given a motive
A leading government official for the Maryland county where the deadly shooting occurred says investigators still don’t have any information about a possible motive.
Police have the the suspect in custody but Anne Arundel County executive Steve Schuh said he “has not been very forthcoming” with information.
Schuh added: “To my knowledge, there was no verbal aspect to the incident where he declared his motives or anything else, so at this point we just don’t know.
Reporter describes terrifying scene
In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Gazette, Phil Davis said that he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing.
“I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” he said. “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.”
Newspaper is one of oldest in the US
The Capital Gazette was founded in 1884 as the Evening Capital, and is one of the oldest newspapers in the US.
It also moved with the times. The company that owns it started publishing one of the first US news websites in 1994.
It currently has a daily readership of 67,000
US gun debate will reignite
A recent study found that Americans own 40 per cent of the world’s firearms despite accounting for only four per cent of the global population.
Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States – more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.
Advocates of tougher gun laws in the US have stepped up their efforts in the wake of numerous school shootings this year, including the killing of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school in February and the killing of 10 people at a Texas high school in May.
Police confirm several injuries
Lt. Ryan Frashure, Anne Arundel County police spokesman, said he could not confirm if there were any fatalities, only that there were several injuries.
He said that once the building is secured he would release information about the suspect and the injuries.
“We’re doing our very best,” he said.
Capital Gazette reporter says “it’s bad”
Phil Davis, a Gazette crime reporter who was in the office at the time of the shooting, said multiple people had been shot. Police have not confirmed deaths or injuries.
Mr 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.”
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/28/several-shot-newsroom-police-confirm-active-shooter-maryland/