News World Hundreds gather for vigil after US newspaper shootings

Hundreds gather for vigil after US newspaper shootings

Residents walk down Main Street as part of a candlelight vigil to honour the five newspaper staff who were shot and killed. Photo: Getty
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Hundreds of people have gathered to remember the five people gunned down at a community newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.

Capital reporter Pat Furgurson addressed the crowd in an emotional speech to the residents of Annapolis: “We are not the enemy. We’re you.”

The vigil came hours after accused gunman Jarrod Ramos was denied bail during a brief hearing in Anne Arundel County criminal court.

Ramos, 38, appeared by video link from jail and did not speak during the proceedings.

More than 300 mourners, many of them carrying candles, walked slowly through the streets of Annapolis, the state capital, near the capitol dome which was lit up, its flags flown at half staff in honour of the shooting victims.

All five of those slain worked at the Capital Gazette newspaper.

Ramos is accused of allegedly opening fire on Thursday over a longstanding grudge against the paper.

The five killed were Rob Hiaasen, 59, Wendi Winters, 65, Rebecca Smith, 34, Gerald Fischman, 61 and John McNamara. All were journalists except for Smith, who was a sales assistant.

Hiaasen was the brother of best-selling author Carl Hiaasen.

The Capital newspaper, part of the Gazette group, published an edition on Friday with photographs of the victims and a headline “5 shot dead at The Capital” on its front page.

The Capital Gazette of June 29, 2018. Photo: Getty

One staffer Chase Cook, who helped pull together the front page, tweeted: “This is way late, but we did the damn thing”.

“And we are doing it tomorrow and Sunday. My sincerest condolences to the families of my friends and colleagues.”

The editorial page was left blank but for a note saying the editors were speechless.

Photographs widely shared on social media showed staffers working on laptops in a parking garage to produce Friday’s edition while they waited to learn the fate of their colleagues.

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he was proud of the journalists who had “soldiered on” in the face of the tragedy. “These guys, they don’t make a lot of money. They do journalism because they love what they do. And they got a newspaper out today,” Buckley told Fox News.

US President Donald Trump, who has had a combative relationship with the media since his 2016 election, was asked by reporters travelling with him on Air Force One whether he was reconsidering calling journalists “enemies of the people.”

“Obviously the press has treated me very badly, but in the meantime I’m president … I guess they didn’t treat me badly enough,” Mr Trump said, calling the shooting rampage a “disgrace.”

-with AAP