Capital Gazette staff recount and cover mass shooting at paper's office

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 08:42:58-04

Staff at the Annapolis paper attacked by a lone gunman Thursday afternoon kept in touch with the public and each other on social media, many actively covering the tragedy they were a part of, in what Anne Arundel County Police Deputy Chief William Krampf called a “targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,"

Anthony Messenger, an intern at the paper, captured social media’s attention in a pleading and urgent tweet at 2:43 p.m.:

“Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.”

Courts and Crime Reporter Phil Davis’ gripping Twitter account was one of the earliest sources into this terrifying ordeal.

“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office,” Davis began. “Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. 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 shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Davis tweeted, a horrifying sentiment that captured the attention of many. 

“I am okay physically, so far, mentally I am a mess,” photographer Paul W. Gillespie said in a tweet. “I was inside. I am lucky to be alive. Please pray for my coworkers who were not as lucky as I was. We lost some truly great people today. I am in shock trying to process this horrible situation. Thanks for all the kind thoughts.”

Bill Wagner, who covers Navy sports for the Gazette, said through Twitter he was OK.

“Thank God I was not at the office when this horrible incident occurred,” Wagner tweeted. “However, many of my colleagues and friends are not okay, and that is solely where my thoughts are right now. Please do not attempt to contact me via text or phone call.”

The high school sports reporter Bob Hough, columnist Sharon Lee Tegler, and columnist Amy Badger Laque all said they were not in the building at the time of the shooting.  

Reporter Danielle Ohl tweeted that he, Davis, Chase Cook, Messenger, editor Rick Hutzell, and Selene San Felice are all ok, but Rachael Pacella is hospitalized with an injury.

“For those reaching out with support, I thank you,” Ohl tweeted. “For those seeking information, I’m not in a position to speak right now. I will say this: The Capital is not a big newsroom. There are about 20 news staffers, a few more advertising. We are close. We are family. I am devastated.”

“Devasted & heartbroken. Numb,” Gazette editor Jimmy DeButts began a thread with, declining interview requests as he was “in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays - just a passion for telling stories form our community.”

“We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment. We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community,” DeButts said. “We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records & bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters & editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be.”

Photojournalist Joshua McKerrow said on Twitter he was not in the building at the time of the shooting, but he responded to the scene and began working, covering the tragic events happening at his own paper alongside colleagues Pat Ferguson, Gillespie, Davis, San Felice, and Messenger.

“Heartbroken,” McKerrow said in a tweet. “Continuing to cover story with Capital journalists Chase Cook and Pat Ferguson. Thanks to our @baltimoresun colleagues who are here too. There will be a Capital Friday.”

Cook arrived on the scene and jumped into the coverage, defiantly tweeting, “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.

Cook then went back to his job.

For those looking to help out monetarily, GoFundMe page to support the victims of the Annapolis shooting.