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‘Devastated & heartbroken. Numb’: Capital Gazette journalists tweet their own tragedy

Police on scene after multiple shot at Maryland newsroom

Aerial footage shows police on scene and people evacuating after a gunman opened fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md.
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Aerial footage shows police on scene and people evacuating after a gunman opened fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md.

Usually, journalists at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, are reporting on events and tragedies in their community that happen beyond their newsroom.

But as a shooting at their office killed five and injured more on Thursday, the paper’s editors and reporters lived through a tragedy of their own — and then took to Twitter and other platforms to share photos and vivid, gripping recollections from the scene.

“Devastated & heartbroken. Numb. Please stop asking for information/interviews, I’m in no position to speak” Jimmy DeButts, a Capital editor, wrote on Twitter.

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DeButts praised the papers’ reporters and editors, saying they “give all they have every day.”

“There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories,” DeButts wrote.

DeButts' thread of tweets aimed to explain the work his newspaper does in the community, which is home to the Maryland statehouse and the U.S. Naval Academy. But he wrote that the paper’s journalism — whether it’s rooting out corruption, covering high school sports or digging through public records — has only gotten harder in recent years as the paper has done everything it can to “keep doing more with less.”

The thread has been retweeted thousands of times.

A suspect in the shooting has been apprehended, and injured survivors are being treated at a local hospital, authorities said. Phil Davis, a Capital crime reporter, described on Twitter what it was like to be in the newsroom as the terror unfolded.

Davis said a single gunman began firing shots into his office’s glass door, and struck a handful of employees.

Joshua McKerrow, a photojournalist for the newspaper, wasn’t in the newsroom when the gunman opened fired. But as soon as McKerrow learned of the shooting, he headed over and started taking pictures, he wrote on Twitter.

McKerrow also began sharing the names of colleagues who survived.

And then McKerrow tweeted a single word — a spare, devastating summary of the day.

Another reporter, Danielle Ohl, tweeted that she was safe as well. Ohl happened to be on vacation in the Outer Banks, she said.

“Please, just pray,” Ohl wrote on Twitter.

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