5 killed in Maryland newspaper attack, suspected explosive device found at scene
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It was 'like a war zone,' reporter says

5 killed in Maryland newspaper attack, suspected explosive device found at scene

Officials say suspect mutilated his fingers, presumably to delay identification; armed police deployed outside New York media outlets

Maryland police officers block the intersection at the building entrance, after multiple people were shot at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md., June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Maryland police officers block the intersection at the building entrance, after multiple people were shot at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md., June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A gunman killed five people and wounded several others Thursday at a Maryland newspaper. Police confirmed the suspect in the deadly rampage was a white male armed with a long gun.

Bill Kampf, acting police chief for Anne Arundel County, told a news conference that police recovered what they believe to be an explosive device from the building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis.

He said the device “was taken care of,” but didn’t elaborate.

A law enforcement official said the suspect mutilated his fingers in what investigators think was an effort to prevent him from being easily identified.

Authorities stage at the office building entrance after multiple people were shot at The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The New York Police Department on Thursday deployed counterterrorism teams to news organizations in the city in response to the shooting.

Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism and Intelligence John Miller said the deployments were not based on any specific threat information, but out of an abundance of caution.

A police officer stands guard outside The New York Times building, June 28, 2018, in New York. The New York Police Department has sent patrols to major news media organizations in response to a fatal shooting at a newspaper in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A reporter at The Capital Gazette tweeted that a single gunman fired into The Capital Gazette newsroom and shot multiple employees. Phil Davis, who covers courts and crime for the newspaper, tweeted that the shooter fired through the glass door to the office.

“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,” he tweeted. Officials later confirmed that five people were killed.

Davis added, “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

Authorities stage at the building entrance after multiple people were shot at The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., June 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief William Krampf confirmed the five deaths Thursday at a news conference.

Anne Arundel police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said officers had raced to the scene, arriving in 60 seconds, and engaged the shooter.

Arminta Plater, a spokeswoman for a hospital near the newspaper, said two patients had arrived there but she did not know their conditions.

People could be seen leaving the building with their hands up, as police urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged.

In an interview with The Capital Gazette’s online site, Davis said it “was like a war zone” inside the newspaper’s offices — a situation that would be “hard to describe for a while.”

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

Davis told the paper he and others were still hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing. “I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” he said.

A gas station employee near the shooting scene described a flood of police activity in the area as he sat tight inside his still-open workplace.

In a phone interview, Carlos Wallace, who works just down the street from the newspaper’s offices, said law enforcement vehicles and ambulances had raced toward the scene with sirens blaring.

“The road is blocked off real good. It’s like dozens of dozens of emergency vehicles, police cars of all types, explosive vehicles, battering ram vehicles, all kinds of stuff,” Wallace said at about 3:50 p.m. Thursday.

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was “absolutely devastated” at the tragedy. President Donald Trump tweeted in the wake of the shooting that his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

A recent study found that Americans own 40 percent of the world’s firearms despite accounting for only four percent of the global population.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.

Advocates of tougher gun laws have stepped up their efforts in the wake of numerous school shootings this year, including the killing of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school in February and the killing of 10 people at a Texas high school in May.

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