Trump honors Capital Gazette victims by ordering flags to be flown at half-staff

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President Trump issued a proclamation today (June 3) ordering flags be flown at half-staff on federal buildings to honor the five victims of the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, the White House said.

The mass shooting occurred on June 28, 2018, at the offices of newspaper publisher Capital Gazette Communications in Annapolis at Maryland. The perpetrator killed five Capital Gazette employees and gravely wounded several in the attack on the newsroom.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department reported that the shooting began around 2:34 p.m. (EDT), resulting in five fatalities and the wounding of several other victims. The gunman barricaded the rear exit of the office to prevent people from escaping.

Sources reported that the weapon was a “long gun” which would later be described as a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. Several injured victims were sent to the Anne Arundel Medical Center for treatment.

Phil Davis, a courts and crime reporter at the site of the shooting for The Capital, tweeted that the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees”. Davis also described the newspaper’s offices as a “warzone” after the shooting and described hearing the gunman reload. He said there was a lone male gunman.

The County police evacuated 170 people from the building to a re-unification center set up at the nearby Westfield Annapolis shopping center.

The suspect Jarrod Warren Ramos was captured by police and is in custody as a suspect, but he refused to identify himself. The suspect was also carrying a backpack with smoke bombs, flashbang devices, and grenades. The police later announced that the attack had been targeted specifically at Capital Gazette Communications.

In 2012, Ramos sued The Capital in a defamation case he brought over a 2011 newspaper article reporting on his guilty plea for criminal harassment. After multiple appeals from Ramos, the defamation case against the newspaper was dismissed in 2015. Former Capital editor and publisher Thomas Marquardt said Ramos began harassing the staff of the newspaper after the article on him was published in 2011.

The decision for flags be flown at half-staff on federal buildings follows a request over the weekend by Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the decision was made Monday night “as soon as the president heard about the request from the mayor.”

The Presidential Proclamation reads:

“Our Nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. Americans across the country are united in calling upon God to be with the victims and to bring aid and comfort to their families and friends. As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on June 28, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 3, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.”