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4 journalists, sales assistant remembered as dedicated, compassionate

Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.
Multiple people were shot Thursday at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, with a witness saying a single gunman fired into the newsroom.

Four journalists and a sales assistant were killed Thursday in a shooting at a Maryland newspaper. Authorities said the gunman entered the Capital Gazette in Annapolis and ‘‘looked for his victims.’’ The employees killed were Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters, police said.

Gerald Fischman, Opinion Page Editor.
Gerald Fischman, Opinion Page Editor.The Baltimore Sun via AP

Gerald Fischman, the editorial page editor at the Capital Gazette, was an ‘‘old-fashioned journalist,’’ a former editor of the paper said.

Steve Gunn remembered Fischman as ‘‘the master of AP style’’ who ‘‘made sure everything was just right.’’

‘‘He was famous for working long days and being very precise in his language and always making sure the editorial page reflected the heart of the newspaper,’’ Gunn said in an interview with The Associated Press.

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Fischman had worked at the paper 26 years.

Rob Hiaasen, Capital Gazette Deputy Editor.
Rob Hiaasen, Capital Gazette Deputy Editor. The Baltimore Sun via AP

Journalist Rob Hiaasen’s family is ‘‘devastated’’ by his death, said his brother, author Carl Hiaasen.

Carl Hiaasen, a prolific novelist and a longtime columnist for the Miami Herald, confirmed that his brother, also a columnist and an editor, was one of the Annapolis victims.

In a brief phone call with The Associated Press, Carl Hiaasen said his family ‘‘was devastated beyond words’’ by the senseless killing of his brother at The Capital Gazette.

‘‘He was the most remarkable person. So gifted and talented and dedicated to journalism,’’ he said, his voice choked with emotion.

Saying he was too wracked with grief to speak further, Hiaasen referred an AP reporter to something he had just posted to his Facebook page, describing Rob as one of the most ‘‘gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.’’

Gunn, the former Capital Gazette editor, said Rob Hiaasen was a ‘‘gifted editor who had an aura of an artist around him who made people want to make journalism a beautiful craft.’’

Reporter John McNamara of the Capital Gazette.
Reporter John McNamara of the Capital Gazette.The Baltimore Sun via AP

John McNamara was an old-school reporter.

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‘‘Definitely a pen and paper guy,’’ said David Elfin, who co-wrote a book on University of Maryland basketball with McNamara. ‘‘He didn’t wear a fedora, but maybe he should have.’’

McNamara worked at the Capital Gazette for more than 20 years, covering everything from local politics to professional sports. Friends, colleagues and young journalists he mentored remember him as a kind person and diligent reporter — someone who earned the trust and respect of his co-workers and sources alike.

Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant at The Capital Gazette.
Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant at The Capital Gazette. The Baltimore Sun via AP

Rebecca Smith was a recent hire for the Capital Gazette in their Annapolis, Maryland, office, the Baltimore Sun reported.

A former co-worker remembered her as an upbeat colleague always ready to lend an ear.

Smith, 34, was one of five people killed when a gunman opened fire in the Capital Gazette office Thursday afternoon. She grew up in the Baltimore area and lived in eastern Baltimore County with her fiance, according to the Sun.

She worked as a sales assistant at the Capital Gazette.

Wendi Winters, reporter for the Capital Gazette.
Wendi Winters, reporter for the Capital Gazette. The Baltimore Sun via AP

Special publications editor Wendi Winters was ‘‘the heart of the newspaper,’’ Gunn said.

Winters was passionate about serving the community and a role model for younger journalist, he recalled.

‘‘She was in many ways the best part of the newspaper in that she cared so much about the city,’’ he said.

The mother of four dedicated more than two decades of her career to community journalism, spotlighting local youth in her ‘‘Teen of the Week’’ columns, pointing out little-known but charming attractions in Maryland in her ‘‘Off Limits’’ series and covering the arts scene in Anne Arundel County and beyond.

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