Capital Gazette shooting: Five dead after shooting at Maryland newspaper; suspect identified

Capital Gazette shooting: Five dead after shooting at Maryland newspaper; suspect identified

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by Phil Helsel,Tom Winter, and Jonathan Dienst | NBC NEWS



"Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees," said a reporter for the Capital Gazette.



Five people were killed Thursday afternoon after a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper in the Maryland capital, Annapolis, police officials said. A suspect is in custody and has been identified.

William Krampf, the acting police chief of Anne Arundel County, said several other people were "gravely injured."

"The investigation has just started," he said at a news conference. "We’re going to be quite a while in determining what occurred, why it occurred, how it occurred."

Senior law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation told NBC News that the suspect, a white man wearing a black T-shirt and olive-green pants, had been identified through the use of facial recognition software. The sources said earlier that he had somehow obscured his fingerprints, making identification difficult.

A senior official said the suspect is 39 years old. Local authorities were preparing to execute a search warrant for the suspect's home. The suspect's name has not been released, but sources told NBC News that he is from Maryland.

Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Ryan Frashure said the weapon he used was a "long gun," but he did not elaborate.

Phil Davis, a Gazette crime reporter who was in the office, recounted the shooting on Twitter.

"Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees," Davis said. "Can't say much more and don't want to declare anyone dead, but it's bad."

"There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," Davis said in another tweet.

Anthony Messenger, who is believed to be an intern at the Gazette, said on Twitter: “Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.” The newspaper's office is at 888 Bestgate Road.

In a later interview, Davis said it "was like a war zone" inside the newspaper’s offices, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette.

Davis said he and others were hiding under their desks when the gunman stopped firing.

"I don't know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” Davis said.

Frashure said there was no exchange of gunfire between the gunman and police.

The Baltimore Sun said police had also been sent to its headquarters as a precaution. The Capital Gazette is one of the oldest publishers in the country, starting in 1727 with the Maryland Gazette.

Aerial video showed people leaving the building with their hands up and a heavy police presence.

President Donald Trump has been briefed about the shooting, the White House said. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene," the president said on Twitter.

Krampf said at a later news conference that police recovered what they believed may have been an explosive device, but it had been "taken care of." Whether the device was an explosive has not been confirmed, and Krampf said he did not expect to find any more devices.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter that he was "absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis."

"It's a tragic situation, but there was some very brave people that came in and kept it from being worse," Hogan said at a news conference, referring to the police response.

Police departments in New York City and Chicago said they were monitoring developments and would be checking in or deploying resources to media outlets.

The New York Police Department said it had deployed counterterrorism teams to media organizations around the city as a precaution.

"These deployments are not based on specific threat information, but rather out of an abundance of caution until we learn more about the suspect and motives behind the Maryland shooting," the NYPD said.

Tronc Inc., the company that owns The Baltimore Sun, said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened today by the attack in our Capital-Gazette newsroom.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Chairman and CEO Justin Dearborn said. “We are focused now on providing our employees and their families with support during this tragic time. We commend the police and first responders for their quick response.”

Noah Turner, an Annapolis resident, said he was nearby when the shooting occurred and saw two police SWAT vehicles and around 10 police cars heading to the scene. "It's crazy," Turner said.

"I've never seen so many police cars in my life," he said. "You would not ever think it would happen here."