Capital Gazette journalists recount horrific Annapolis mass shooting

As Thursday’s mass shooting at the Capital Gazette played out on cable news and social media, the journalists caught in the newspaper’s Annapolis, Md., offices shared the horror of what they had witnessed. In one instance, an intern at the paper did so in real time.

Phil Davis, the Capital Gazette’s courts and crime reporter, did his best to take stock of the carnage he witnessed that left at least five people dead and several gravely wounded.

In a later interview with the Gazette’s parent company, the Baltimore Sun, Davis reflected further on what he had been through.

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” Davis 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.”

Authorities arrive at the office building that houses the Capital Gazette after the shooting Thursday. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)

In a national environment in which President Trump routinely attacks the integrity of reporters, as he did at a North Dakota rally on Wednesday night, some of the tweets written in the aftermath of the shooting, like those posted byJimmy DeButts, a Capital Gazette editor, referenced the negative public perception of journalism.

Jarrod Ramos, the 38-year-old suspect who is now in police custody, is believed to have targeted the Capital Gazette over its coverage of allegations that he harassed a woman, a charge he pleaded guilty to in 2011. A year later, Ramos filed a defamation suit against the paper that a judge swiftly dismissed.  Ramos is thought to have purposefully damaged his fingertips to avoid fingerprint identification, CBS News reports. Police also discovered smoke bombs and flash bang grenades in his backpack, according to CBS News.

Whatever the reason behind the latest instance of American gun carnage turns out to be, one tweet by a Capital Gazette reporter made clear that it would not be enough to halt the enterprise of journalism in a free society.


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