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Patriots coach Bill Belichick: 'My heart goes out to the victims' at the Capital Gazette

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis and returns whenever possible, offered his condolences to the victims of Thursday’s shootings at the Capital Gazette.

“For my entire life, The Capital has been my hometown newspaper. My family and I have enjoyed special relationships with many great people who have worked for the newspaper,” Belichick said in a statement released by the Patriots Friday night. “My heart goes out to the victims, their families and the entire Annapolis community for this terrible and senseless tragedy.”

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Killed Thursday were editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34, and Wendi Winters, 65, a community reporter who oversaw special publications.

Belichick graduated in 1970 from Annapolis High, where he played football and lacrosse. He frequently visits his old high school and the Naval Academy when the comes back to Annapolis. He spoke to the Navy football team last fall.

Belichick’s father, Steve, spent 33 years as a Navy assistant coach and scout, and worked as an instructor in the physical education department. After retiring in 1989, the elder Belichick frequently visited the press box at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium until his death in 2005 at age 86.

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