Fatal shooting of 5 at Capital Gazette is rare attack on U.S. journalists

Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis was a rare fatal attack against journalists in the U.S. — all the more shocking for the number of victims involved.

The only other incident since 1992 in which more than one journalist has been killed happened in 2015, when two television journalists were fatally shot during a live broadcast, according to data compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Five people were killed and several others were injured in the shooting at the Capital, police said. Sources identified the gunman as Jarrod Ramos, a Laurel man in a long-standing feud with the newspaper.

Violence against reporters and editors is rare in the United States — especially compared with other nations — but press freedom groups have been warning in recent years of mounting hostility and threats to journalists.

In the 2015 incident, a TV reporter and a photographer were fatally shot on air by a former colleague. Adam Ward and Alison Parker of WDBJ7 were reporting live from a mall in Virginia when the gunman approached them and opened fire.

In 2007, a newspaper reporter was killed in Oakland over his reporting on the financial ties of a bakery that was a hub for community activism. Chauncey Bailey was the editor of several weekly newspapers.

In 2001, Robert Stevens, a photo editor at the tabloid newspaper The Sun in Boca Raton, Fla., was killed by anthrax. It was the same strain that the FBI believes researcher Bruce Ivins sent through the mail.

William Biggart, a free-lance photographer, was killed after dashing to the scene of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

In 1993, Dona St. Plite, a Haitian-born reporter at WKAT in Miami, was killed at a benefit for the family of another reporter who had been murdered.

In 1992, Manuel de Dios Unanue, a Cuban-American editor, was killed as part of what police believe was a conspiracy to silence his reporting on drug dealing and money laundering.

The Committee to Protect Journalists found that between 1976 and 1993, 12 reporters had been killed in the United States — most immigrants working in languages other than English.

Local media outlets in Baltimore have also been the scenes of violence in recent years.

In 2014, a man claiming to be God drove a stolen truck in the offices of the WMAR television station in Baltimore. The man barricaded himself inside the building, shutting the station down, and was eventually taken into custody.

In 2016, a man wearing an animal costume and what appeared to be an explosive belt, but was actually chocolate bars, got into a standoff at the newsroom of Fox45. He was shot by police but survived.

iduncan@baltsun.com

twitter.com/iduncan

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
64°