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Vigil held for victims of Maryland newspaper office massacre

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Vigil held for those killed in the Capital Gazette shooting

A community gathers together to mourn the loss of five people shot in Thursday in the newsroom of the shooting. Lea Gabrielle reports.

Vigils were held Friday in Annapolis, Md., where five staff members of the community in the Capital Gazette newspaper were killed during a bloody rampage from a day earlier.

A mourning community of family, friends, colleagues and residents attended services in honor of the five victims: Rob Hiaasen, 59, deputy editor-in-chief; Wendi Winters, 65, a community news reporter; John McNamara, 56, reporter; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial page editor; and Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant.

“These people were men, women, fathers and mothers,” Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch told the Baltimore Sun. “They didn’t come from somewhere else. They were dedicated to our community. They did not deserve to die under these circumstances.”

An interfaith service outside of the newspaper brick office building and saw a crowd numbering in the hundreds stand on a hill and, while he’s the unlit white candles, singing: “Amazing Grace,” the Sun reported.

“These people were men, women, fathers and mothers. They did not come from somewhere else. They were dedicated to our community. They did not deserve to die under these circumstances.”

– Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch

Thousands spilled into the enclosure through the bustling capital of Maryland in the streets for a somber candlelight march, some holding #AnnapolisStrong signs.

“It was so quiet and so gloomy, especially on a Friday night, it’s shocking,” Kit O’neill said, describing Annapolis as “a small city with a big heart.”

Jarrod Warren Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder after the killing of five newspaper staff members.

(Associated Press)

The five Gazette staffers were killed when a suspect identified by authorities as Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, of Laurel, Md., entered the paper’s newsroom Thursday with a shotgun and hunted his victims.

Authorities say Ramos had written a series of escalating online threats against the paper and the staff after an article about his criminal harassment conviction was published in 2011.

During a service on the Friday evening, a lost call call characterized each of the five victims’ names were read aloud, the Sun reported. A candle with the names and photos of each staff member is rested on a table, a bouquet of white carnations lay beneath it.

“This is a community newspaper that prides itself on telling stories of the people of this community, and up. We should have the freedom of speech. We need journalists and journalism.”

– the Rev. Ryan P. Sirmons

Speakers also paid tribute to the journalists contribute to the paper and their service to the community.

“This is a community newspaper that prides itself on telling stories of the people of this community, and move up,” the Rev. Ryan P. Sirmons told the Sun. “We should have the freedom of speech. We need journalists and journalism.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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