Five people were killed and two others were injured when a lone gunman walked into the Capital Gazette building in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and opened fire. The suspect, identified as Jarrod Ramos, was taken into custody by police.
On Thursday evening, WUSA9 identified the five deceased victims as Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, and John McNamara.
The two injured victims suffered “superficial” wounds and are expected to be okay. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the victims and Capital Gazette staff.
Rob Hiaasen, 59
Rob Hiaasen, a writer for the Capital Gazette, has been identified as one of the deceased victims in Thursday’s shooting. His brother, Carl, took to Facebook to post a tribute to “Big Rob.”
“I am devastated and heartsick to confirm the loss of my wonderful brother Rob. He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public’s right to know the news. We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humor that made him larger than all of us,” Carl wrote in the Facebook post.
Hiaasen began working for The Baltimore Sun in 1993. He wrote features for the outlet for nearly two decades before he became an assistant editor for the Capital Gazette.
“He could be deadly serious about doing investigative reporting, but he also had a soft side. He had a special insight into people’s lives and their character. What Rob really brought to the game was his great writing ability and sense of humor,” former Capital Gazette editor and publisher Tom Marquardt told the Baltimore Sun.
On June 22, Hiaasen shared a picture of his wife, Maria, on a date for their anniversary.
“33 years ago Maria Mills said yes. 33 years later she said yes to the driving range. Now THIS is an anniversary,” he captioned the picture. The comments section is now filled with prayers and well-wishes from people all over the country.
Hiaasen is survived by his wife and their three children.
Gerald Fischman, 61
Gerald Fischman graduated from the University of Maryland in 1979. He was a well-respected editor and writer, who was well-known and well-liked amongst his colleagues.
He worked as the editorial page editor of the Capital Gazette, and his writing earned him awards from the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association.
“It didn’t matter if you were working late at night or early on a Saturday, he was there. I just remember that if we were all having a conversation around him, he might be very quiet and you might even forget he was there and then out of the blue he would have some very funny remark and chime in. He always had the perfect aside,” Fischman’s former colleague Elisha Sauers told the Boston Globe.
Wendi Winters, 65
Wendi Winters started off working in the fashion and public relations, after obtaining a bachelor of fine arts in Fashion Design at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was a journalist for more than a decade before joining the staff at the Capital Gazette.
Below is a bio of sorts, found on Winters’ Facebook page.
“It’s took me a long time to call myself a journalist, but that’s the majority of what I do. Though my “job” is based on a solid foundation of all the skills I’ve built up over the years – retailing, wholesaling, art design, apparel and accessories design, management, public relations, modeling, styling, casting, event planning, motherhood, two college degrees – instead of a 4-year stint at a j-school. I write three weekly columns for The Capital Newspaper of Annapolis, MD: Home of the Week, Around Broadneck and Teen of the Week. I also write a fair number of articles during the week for the paper about current happenings, advances, news, and charitable and social events. A lot of my stories involve children, teens and seniors. I am fascinated with the hidden history of this area. I admit it, I’m fascinated by a lot of things going on. I am the first freelancer in the paper’s history to earn a journalism award for a story I wrote – The Mystery Jogger of College Parkway. Since then, I’ve earned two more awards. Plus, I write for several other area publications/media and handle consulting assignments and projects.”
In addition, Winters was a “proud Navy mom,” who was a church youth group counselor, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, and a Girl Scout leader, according to Facebook.
Winters was very close to her four children, Montana W. Geimer, Phoenix Geimer, Summerleigh Geimer, and Winters Geimer. Her daughter, Winters, spoke with the media following Thursday’s shooting.
“My mother was a wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter. Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her and the world will not be the same without her. We are grieving and trying to make sure all of us can be together to celebrate the life of our mother,” her daughter Winters Geimer told the Baltimore Sun.
Rebecca Smith, 34
Rebecca Smith worked as a sales and advertising coordinator for the Capital Sun Media Group. She was a “recent hire” at the Capital Gazette, according to the Baltimore Sun. According to her Facebook page, she started her job with the company in November 2017.
“She was a very thoughtful person. She was kind and considerate, and willing to help when needed. She seemed to really enjoy to be working in the media business,” Smith’s boss, Capital Gazette advertising director Marty Padden, told the outlet.
Smith lived in eastern Baltimore county with her fiance. According to her Facebook page, she previously battled endometriosis. She described herself as a “dog mom” and was proud to be a “bonus mom” to one child.
John McNamara, 56
John McNamara, who went by “Mac,” was born and raised in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1983, and had a career in the journalism world for several years.
“John McNamara is the editor of the Bowie Blade-News and the Crofton-West County Gazette. He has worked in various capacities for Capital Gazette for more than 20 years,” reads his bio on the Capital Gazette’s website.
According to his LinkedIn page, McNamara was a sports writer. According to his Facebook page, he had been working on his third book.