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Capital Gazette Shooting Update


This morning, the Capital Gazette published a paper. There are five pictures on the front page of the Capital, five smiling faces. These were the five employees who were killed in the shooting at the Maryland paper yesterday.


WILLIAM KRAMPF: The first victim's name is Wendi Winters. Second victim is Rebecca Smith. Third victim is Robert Hiaasen. Fourth victim is Gerald Fischman. And the fifth victim is John McNamara.

GREENE: That's the voice there of William Krampf - he is the acting police chief in Anne Arundel County, Md. - at a press conference last night. A suspect is now in custody and has been charged with five counts of murder.

And I want to bring in Patrick Madden of member station WAMU in Washington, D.C. He's been covering this story in Annapolis. Patrick, good morning.

PATRICK MADDEN, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: Can you start by telling us a little bit about these five victims?

MADDEN: That's right. I mean, I'm actually holding that paper right now. And it has their pictures above the fold - Gerald Fischman, who was a longtime editorial writer; John McNamara, sportswriter; Rob Hiaasen, a longtime columnist who also worked at The Baltimore Sun; Wendi Winters, a reporter; and Rebecca Smith, who worked in the salesroom and was set to be married this year.

GREENE: The fact that you are holding that paper, I mean, speaks to the extraordinary thing here. This is a newsroom that has been working - still working to cover this story even though it was a tragedy in their own workplace. I mean, I can't even imagine that.

MADDEN: I mean, David, there is a - you know, the story has a 10-person byline on it.


MADDEN: And this is a 30-person newsroom. So just the fortitude it must have taken to print this story - there are obituaries of the staffers in this paper. And, you know, if you open it up to Page 9, the opinion page, it's blank except for a little inscription that just says, today we are speechless. And it lists the victims.

So you know, this is a very important paper to this community. And you could hear it, you know, yesterday in the voices of the police during the press conference. They knew these reporters. They dealt with them on a day-to-day basis. And so this is, you know, the definition of what a community newspaper is.

GREENE: For people who are just waking up this morning and haven't been following this, what happened here?

MADDEN: So - I mean, we're starting to learn more details about the suspect in this case. But from what we gather from police, this all happened at around 3 p.m. yesterday. The individual showed up armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades and apparently, you know, shot through this glass door or window and fired into the newsroom. And he was apprehended quickly. It took about a minute to 90 seconds for police to get there and arrest him without much of a fight. And so we're learning, right now, more about the suspect. And we're also hearing about the stories from these reporters who were in the newsroom when this happened.

GREENE: And what was the possible motive? I mean, it sounds like he might have had some kind of grudge against the paper.

MADDEN: It seems like he had this long-standing, almost obsessive grudge against this paper. He had made threats against the paper on social media as late as the day of the attack. And this feud apparently stems from a column back in 2011 detailing Ramos' online harassment of a former high school classmate. So he apparently had harbored this grudge over the story detailing this harassment that he had been - and I should say that he filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper, but it was tossed out.

GREENE: All right, Jarrod Ramos, the suspect - and he's going to be facing a bond hearing later today. That's Patrick Madden of member station WAMU covering that story in Annapolis.

Patrick, thank you.

MADDEN: Thank you, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.