A gunman opened fire at a newspaper office in Annapolis on Thursday, killing five people and gravely wounding a number of others before being taken into custody in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history, police and witnesses said.
Police gave no immediate details on the gunman or the motive for the attack at The Capital Gazette and said the suspect was being interrogated.
Phil Davis, a reporter who covers courts and crime for the paper, tweeted that the gunman shot out the glass door to the office and fired into the newsroom, sending people scrambling for cover under desks.
“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,” he wrote.
Davis added: “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
The gunman is believed to have used a shotgun, according to a U.S. official who was briefed on the investigation but not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said the gunman was not co-operating with investigators.
Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief William Krampf confirmed five deaths and said several others were gravely hurt.
The New York Police Department immediately deployed counterterrorism teams to news organizations around the city in a move police said was prompted not by any specific threat but was instead done as a precaution. Police could be seen outside The New York Times, ABC News and Fox News early in the evening.
In Maryland, police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said officers raced to the scene, arriving in 60 seconds, and engaged the shooter.
At least two patients were taken to a nearby hospital; their condition was not immediately released.
People could be seen leaving the newspaper building with their hands up as police cars and other emergency vehicles converged on the scene.
In an interview with The Capital Gazette’s online site, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”
“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” 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.”
Davis told the paper 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.
The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com.
Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.
A reporter at The Capital tweeted that a single individual shot multiple people. Phil Davis, who covers business and politics for the newspaper, tweeted that the gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.
He added, “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to reports of the shooting.
Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Marc Limansky said officers were searching the building where the shooting was reported. He said the situation is “active and ongoing.”
On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building.
Lt. Ryan Frashure, another spokesman for Anne Arundel County police, said on WJLA that officers are “doing everything to get people out safe.” He said they must look for other dangers, such as bombs and other shooters.
The Capital and newspapers including the Maryland Gazette are owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was “absolutely devastated” at the tragedy. Officials said President Donald Trump had been briefed on it. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Waters told reporters, “our thoughts and prayers are with all that are affected.”
The Associated Press