One year ago Friday, a gunman stormed the Capital Gazette newspaper’s office in Annapolis, Maryland and killed five employees. Six others escaped the building. Two of them were injured.
It was the single deadliest day for journalists in the United States since 9/11. And it continues to have ripple effects in Annapolis and far beyond.
The survivors appeared on the front page of this Friday’s Capital Gazette, in a series of black and white portraits, part of a special report about the anniversary.
The photos were taken by one of the survivors – the newspaper’s Paul W. Gillespie.
Taking the portraits of his colleagues and the family members of his slain colleagues helped him “through months of spiraling depression and PTSD rocked by frequent bouts of anxiety,” Capital Gazette staffer Angela Roberts wrote in Friday’s paper.
Another one of the surviving staffers, sales representative Janel Cooley, was quoted in the special report saying the shooting split her life into two.
“There’s my life before June 28, and there’s my life after,” she said.
Friday has been designated Freedom of the Press Day in the state of Maryland. Staffers from the Capital Gazette and other Tribune Publishing papers will dedicate a memorial garden in Annapolis on Friday morning.
Then at 2:33 p.m. ET, the time the shooting began, staffers all across the country at Tribune Publishing, which owns the Capital Gazette, will hold a moment of silence.
The Chesapeake News Guild, a union representing staffers at the Capital Gazette and Tribune’s other papers in Maryland, tweeted and asked others to join the moment of silence “to honor and remember our colleagues and friends who were killed last year in Annapolis. We will not forget Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith or Wendi Winters.”
On Friday evening, there will be a concert and community gathering at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, according to the organizers.
Other events were also held in the run-up to the anniversary. There was a Safe Cities Summit in Annapolis on Thursday, hosted by the mayor.
And earlier this week a group of civic leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. to announce plans for a Fallen Journalists Memorial in the nation’s capital.
“Our five colleagues at the Capital Gazette [were] gunned down and we’ve seen, around the world, journalists under attack,” Tribune chairman David Dreier said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” last week. “I think that recognizing the fact that people have lost their lives and building a memorial is something that is going to be really important.”
Raising the funds and gaining approvals will take many years, but the process is now underway.
A press freedom memorial is also in the works in Annapolis.