Capital Gazette shooting: What we know about the victims

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Victims Of The Maryland Shooting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A lone gunman opened fire Thursday on the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, killing four journalists and a staff member, according to police.

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The victims were identified Thursday night as Wendi Winters, 65; John McNamara, 56; Gerald Fischman, 61; Rob Hiaasen, 59; and Rebecca Smith, 34.

 

Special projects editor and columnist Winters worked for years in public relations in New York City before moving to Annapolis as a freelancer, according to her Capital Gazette staff biography. She joined the Capital Gazette newsroom in 2002, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Steve Gunn, who served as editor of the Capital Gazette newsroom from 2013 to 2015, told The Associated Press that Winters was "the heart of the newspaper." Her daughter, Winters Geimer, described her as "a wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter" in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. The Sun owns the Capital Gazette.

“Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her and the world will not be the same without her,” Geimer said. “We are grieving and trying to make sure all of us can be together to celebrate the life of our mother.”

John McNamara

 

Sports reporter McNamara joined the Capital Gazette newsroom in 1994 and spent more than two decades covering University of Maryland athletics, the Orioles minor league system and others, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He was in his second stint at the paper. He had worked from 1987 to 1989 as a copy editor for the  Annapolis Capital newspaper.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker, who covered University of Maryland sports at the same time as McNamara, remembered him as a funny guy well-known for his cracks about sports or politics.

"He was a loyal friend with an infectious laugh, and he was a willing mentor for young journalists," Barker told the Sun. "In other words, he never allowed his professional distance to detract from just being a thoroughly decent person."

Gerald Fischman

 

Fischman wrote editorials for the Capital and edited the newspaper's editorial page, according to his newsroom biography. He joined the newsroom as an editorial writer in 1992, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Colleagues described Fischman as a quiet man with a "brilliant mind, wry wit and 'wicked pen,'" according to the Sun.

"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 told the AP.

Tom Marquart, a former editor and publisher of The Capital, described Fischman to the Sun as a smart guy who was "so smart that he tried out for Jeopardy twice."

“He couldn’t get accepted because they didn’t like his personality,” Marquart said. “That was Gerald’s spin, anyway.”

He said Fischman “had ability that, I thought, deserved a higher calling than The Capital.”

Rob Hiaasen

 

Rob Hiaasen’s brother, author Carl Hiaasen, confirmed his death Thursday in a Facebook post. Carl Hiaasen described his brother as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.”

“He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public’s right to know the news,” Carl Hiaasen wrote. “We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humor that made him larger than all of us.”

Rob Hiaasen previously worked at The Palm Beach Post. Frank Cerabino, a columnist for the Post, remembered him as gentle and self-deprecating natural storyteller.

Explore>> Rob Hiaasen: An exemplary life, a violent death in Annapolis

Last week Rob Hiaasen and his wife, Maria Hiaasan, celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary, according to the Sun.

“He was a tall man, 6-foot-5, but he was a giant not just in stature but in character,” she told the newspaper. “He was just the best husband.”

Rebecca Smith

 

Smith was hired last year to join the Capital Gazette newsroom as a sales assistant.

Smith was engaged to be married, according to a GoFundMe campaign started to help pay for unexpected expenses in the wake of her death.

"Becca was an 'Endo warrior' who struggled wit the disease everyday but didn't show weakness,” according to the campaign page.

Smith's boss at the Capital Gazette, Marty Padden, told the Sun she worked to make sure the sales office ran smoothly. He described her as thoughtful and likeable, with a good sense of humor.

"She was a very thoughtful person," Padden told the Sun. "She was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business."

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