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White House reverses decision, will allow half-staff American flags in honor of Capital Gazette victims

Danielle Ohl
Contact Reporterdohl@capgaznews.com

The White House will permit Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley to lower U.S. flags to half-staff in remembrance of the mass shooting at The Capital last week after Buckley said it denied his initial request.

President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders called Buckley this morning to inform him of the decision. The president issued a proclamation ordering the flags lowered nationwide until sunset Tuesday.

Buckley said he ordered the city’s American flags lowered immediately.

“It’s a horrible situation, but I think it’s the least respect we could give the journalists,” Buckley said. “It’s a little bit of comfort.”

Buckley had said Monday that the White House had declined the initial request the mayor submitted through Maryland’s congressional delegation. Sanders called Buckley on Monday night to confirm the request and said she’d get back to him Tuesday morning.

Buckley has already ordered the Annapolis flags lowered. Gov. Larry Hogan had ordered Maryland state flags to be lowered to half-staff from Friday through sunset on Monday. Only the governor of a state or the president can order an American flag lowered to half-staff, per the U.S. flag code.

There will be a press conference in Annapolis at 10 a.m. to announce the order.

Five Capital staff members were killed in the shooting at the newspaper Thursday: editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who led special publications; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant. Jarrod W. Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their killings.

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