Maryland shooting: Tributes pour in for five people killed in 'targeted' attacked on US newspaper the Capital Gazette

Patrick Grafton-Green, Sean Morrison
Mass shooting: The five victims of the attack at the Capital Gazette
Mass shooting: The five victims of the attack at the Capital Gazette

Tributes have poured in for the five victims of a mass shooting at a US newsroom in a horrific “targeted” attack on journalists.

The terrifying scenes unfolded on Thursday when the attacker, armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades, burst into in the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

The victims were the newspaper’s assistant editor Rob Hiassen, reporter Wendi Winters, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, editorial writer Gerald Fischman and reporter and editor John McNamara.

The suspect, named as 38-year-old Jarrod Warren Ramos, was detained after officers found him hiding under a desk in the building.

Rob Hiasson

'Gentle and funny': Rob Hiasson
'Gentle and funny': Rob Hiasson

The 59-year-old joined the Capital in 2010 as assistant editor after working as a reporter at the Baltimore Sun for 15 years.

According to the Baltimore Sun, he and his wife Maria, with whom he had three children, had celebrated their 33rd anniversary just days before he was killed.

His brother, Carl Hiasson, wrote in a Facebook post that he was "one of the most gentle and funny people I've ever known".

He said: “I am devastated and heartsick to confirm the loss of my wonderful brother Rob today in the mass shooting in the newsroom at the Annapolis Capital Gazette.

"Rob was an editor and columnist at the paper, and one of the most gentle and funny people I've ever known. He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public's right to know the news.

"We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humour that made him larger than all of us."

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Mr Hiasson’s friends and colleagues have also taken to social media to pay tribute.

Capital Gazette reporter Danielle Ohl wrote: “We’d often say: Rob is a poet. Rob cared about words & feelings. He’d send me messages with nothing but a stupid word I’d used in a sentence & a way to make it better. He loved music & red wine. He was getting into George Saunders.

“He cared, deeply & thoughtfully, about people.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood, who used to work at the Capital said that "Rob was great."

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The Wire creator David Simon, who worked for the Baltimore Sun for 12 years, described Mr Hiasson as a “committed, lifelong newspaperman and journalist” and “fine, wonderful soul.”

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Wendi Winters

'Wonderful': Wendi Winters
'Wonderful': Wendi Winters

A reporter and columnist for The Capital, Ms Winters had worked at the paper since 2002.

She was a volunteer with Girl Scouts and Red Cross and had founded an annual event called PR Bazaar, where local journalists and public relations professionals meet to learn from each other.

Her daughter, Winters Geimer, told the Baltimore Sun her mother “was a wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter”.

She said: “Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her and the world will not be the same without her.

“We are grieving and trying to make sure all of us can be together to celebrate the life of our mother.”

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Friend Melissa Lauren said she grew close to Ms Winters during the PR Bazaar events.

She wrote on Facebook: “You were a brilliant woman, storyteller, and friend. Your community loves you.

“Thanks for shining your light on our home of Annapolis and telling all the stories. It was a privilege to know you.”

Rebecca Smith

'Kind and considerate': Rebecca Smith
'Kind and considerate': Rebecca Smith

Ms Smith, 34, recently joined the Capital Gazette as a sales assistant.

She was described in a profile by the Baltimore Sun as being thoughtful, kind and considerate.

She lived with her fiancé and worked in marketing before joining the Gazette.

Her fiancé, who goes by DJay Poling on Facebook, wrote on the social media site: “This can’t be real... I will ALWAYS love you, no matter what.

“As you used to tell me "You are my human." No one ever put up with or attempted to make me a better person like you did. I will love you forever.”

Gerald Fischman

'Fascinating and brilliant': Gerald Fischman
'Fascinating and brilliant': Gerald Fischman

Mr Fischman, 61, wrote editorials at the Capital, where he had worked for over 25 years.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Mr Fischman was a guardian against libel, the arbiter of taste and a peculiar and an endearing figure.

He was recently married to a Mongolian opera singer who he had met online.

Brian Henley, a retired editor, described him as having an "encyclopaedia knowledge of everything."

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox said he was “a fascinating and brilliant man who earned the respect of his colleagues – and quietly amused them”.

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Another colleague described him as "one of the strongest voices of the paper".

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John McNamara

'Loyal and committed': John McNamara
'Loyal and committed': John McNamara

Sports editor John McNamara worked for the Capital Gazette organisation for more than two decades.

He wrote extensively about the topic and wrote two books about sports at his alma mater, the University of Maryland.

He went by "Mac" and was married to his childhood sweetheart Andrea Chamblee.

She told the Baltimore Sun: "Our biggest argument was about who was lucky enough to have the other.

“He was devoted to his friends and family. He was devoted to his craft and he was devoted to me.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker described Mr McNamara as “a loyal friend.”

He told the newspaper: “He was willing to mentor young journalists. In other words, he never allowed his professional distance to detract from just being a thoroughly decent person.”

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Wire creator David Simon wrote on Twitter: "A second friend murdered in the Annapolis Capital newsroom.

"John McNamara was a careful, committed and lifelong journalist who first honed his craft as a sports reporter."