Reporter describes scene of active shooter at Maryland newspaper as a ‘war zone’
WJLA-TV(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — A reporter described the scene from inside the building of a Maryland newsroom where an active shooting opened fire on employees as a “war zone.”
Phil Davis, a courts and crime reporter for the Capital Gazette, a daily Annapolis newspaper, wrote that a single gunman shot through the glass door to the office and then opened fired on employees.
Davis said he was taking cover under his desk when he heard the gunman reload after shooting several people.
Davis said that he was tweeting while waiting to be interviewed be police.
“Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” he wrote.
In an account published on the Gazette‘s website, Davis described the scene as a “war zone” and said he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing, adding that he doesn’t know why the gunman stopped.
Police then arrived at the scene and surrounded the shooter, he said.
“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” Davis said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”
ABC News has not been able to confirm Davis’ employment with the paper, but the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Gazette, is using his reporting.
Anthony Messenger, an intern for the newspaper, pleaded for help on Twitter, saying there was an active shooter in the building.
The Anne Arundel Police Department confirmed that an active shooter was at the building. Five are dead and several gravely injured.
A suspect is now in custody, police said.
Pat Furgurson, another reporter for the Capital Gazette, was across the street when he received a call from the Baltimore Sun news desk, warning him not to return to the newsroom, he told ABC News.
Employees were led from the building with their hands up and were brought across the street to a reunification center at the Annapolis Mall, where they were interviewed by authorities, Furgurson said.
Bill Wagner, a Capital Gazette reporter who covers Navy sports, tweeted that he was safe.
Tom Marquardt, the former Editor of the Capital Gazette, told ABC News he still has a lot of friends who work there and that the “suspense is really terrible” as he waits for news on what happened to them.
Marquardt said the newsroom is on the ground floor and described it as being a very open room.
Newspaper staff had dealt with threats in the past and have always been concerned about security, Marquardt said, adding that angry readers in the past threatened the newspaper over who it endorsed for an election.
Marquardt personally got threats, as did others, but they were mostly anonymous, he said.
Other offices in the building include offices for doctors, lawyers and an orthodontist, Furgurson said.
One witness told WJLA-TV that he saw the gunman pointing the weapon into the office, “like he was targeting people.”
“I saw him move across the entrance of the office,” the witness said.
The man said he only looked at the shooter “for a second” before he ducked his head behind the wall.
Police got to the scene within minutes and escorted them out of the building, the witness said.
When police arrived, they told the occupants of the office to “hunker down,” the witness said.
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