Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is devastated to learn that a shooting at the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, has resulted in five deaths—including four journalists— and two other injuries. Robert Hiaasen, an assistant editor and Sunday columnist; Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor; John McNamara, a staff writer who covered sports; Wendi Winters, an editor and community reporter; and Rebecca Smith, the newspaper’s sales assistant were all killed in the June 28 shooting. Police said they surrounded the shooter within 60 seconds and quickly took him into custody. News of an active shooter was first reported around 2:40 p.m. on June 28.
The shooter, a 38-year-old man, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder in this targeted attack. He had filed an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against the Capital Gazette and a columnist at the paper over an article published about him in 2011, and had expressed animosity toward both ever since.
“Is what happened in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, the equivalent of the Charlie Hebdo killing or of the last bombing against journalists in Kabul?” says RSF Secretary general Christophe Deloire. “In any case, this is a new tragedy for journalism, which is the victim of increasing violence globally–even in democracies.”
“We expect a quick and thorough investigation into this tragedy,” said Margaux Ewen, Director of RSF’s North America bureau. “It is deeply saddening to learn of this shooting happening in a local newsroom in the US. RSF strongly condemns this act of violence, and any such acts against journalists.”
The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.
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