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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Catholics remember, mourn victims killed in Maryland newspaper shooting

While Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore offered prayers and support for the families and loved ones of five people murdered on 28th June at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, a former longtime sports editor for the newspaper mourned his friends as exceptional journalists who also were good human beings.

A 38-year-old gunman using a shotgun blasted his way into the newsroom in what police said was a targeted attack against the publication.

The alleged killer, later identified as 38-year-old Jarrod W. Ramos of Laurel, killed Rob Hiaasen, 59, assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, writer and editor; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, sports writer; and Rebecca Smith, 34, sales associate.

Two others were injured in the attack.

Ramos, in custody and charged with five counts of first-degree murder, had a long-standing dispute with the newspaper after the Capital Gazette wrote about a criminal harassment case against him. He sued for defamation, with courts ruling in the newspaper’s favour.

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said he was “shocked and saddened by the terrible shootings at the Capital Gazette.”

“We pray for the eternal rest of those who died,” he said. “We also pray for their families, friends and colleagues in journalism who mourn their loss.”

Gerry Jackson, the sports editor for the Capital Gazette for more than 20 years who now works for the Baltimore Sun, said he is deeply pained by the deaths of his colleagues. He was a friend of four of the victims and considered McNamara in particular to be as close as a brother.

Picture: Steve Schuh, county executive of Anne Arundel County, Md., holds a copy of the Capital Gazette on 29th June, the day after a gunman killed five people and injured several others at the Annapolis, Md., newspaper. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters).