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New Jersey governor orders flags lowered for Capital Gazette victims

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered U.S. and New Jersey flags to fly at half-staff Tuesday to honor victims of the Capital Gazette shooting.

Murphy issued an executive order instructing the New Jersey’s state government offices and agencies to fly flags at half-staff July 10 to honor the five people killed in a June 28 shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom.

“New Jersey mourns the loss of the five brave reporters and editors who lost their lives in the senseless mass shooting at the Capital Gazette," Murphy said in a statement. “Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy — and any attack on members of the media is an attack on us all. Our condolences are with the Capital Gazette and the loved ones of those lost during this difficult time.”

A gunman with a longstanding grudge against the paper opened fire on the Capital Gazette newsroom June 28, killing editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor Rob Hiaasen, 59; sportswriter John McNamara, 56; sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34; and writer Wendi Winters, 65.

Muphy ordered flags lowered to honor each of the victims. The executive order said the lowering of the flags will serve as a “reminder of the toll of gun violence.”

“This attack underscores the dangers that journalists face on a daily basis and highlights the need for all Americans to stand firmly in support of a free press, which serves as a vital safeguard for our democracy and our liberties,” the order read. “[T]he Capital Gazette’s publication of a newspaper the day after this heartbreaking tragedy was an extraordinary example of resilience and commitment that inspired many around the world.”

President Donald Trump initially declined a request from Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley to lower U.S. flags to half-staff in remembrance of the mass shooting. He later reversed that order, and U.S. flags were lowered July 2.

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