Five people have been shot dead at the offices of "The Capital Gazette" newspaper in the US state of Maryland near Washington. Police have arrested an adult white male in connection with the shooting.
Five people were killed and two injured in what police said was a "targeted" shooting at the offices of The Capital Gazette newspaper in the US state of Maryland on Thursday.
A police spokesman said an adult white male in his late 30s who had been armed with a "long gun" ― a type of shotgun or rifle ― was taken into custody.
Police Chief William Krampf added that the suspect had used smoke grenades when he entered the building and that police later recovered an explosive device from the offices.
The Capital Gazette identified all five people who were killed in the shooting.
Veteran editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, editorial writer Gerald Fischman, veteran sports reporter John McNamara, columnist and local news reporter Wendi Winters, and Rebecca Smith, who had been recently hired as a sales assistant, all died at the scene.
The paper's Friday front page carried pictures of the victims and the headline: "5 shot dead at The Capital."
A reporter for the newspaper, Phil Davis, described the shooting on Twitter.
Suspect threatened newspaper
"The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don't have any information yet on motive," Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said.
But police said they were investigating threats made against the newspaper on social media. "They were general threats toward the newspaper," Krampf said. "They indicated violence."
The Capital Gazette wrote on Twitter that the suspect was 38-year-old Jarrod Warren Ramos, a local man who had filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper and a columnist in 2012.
The lawsuit stemmed from an article by Thomas Hartley, a former columnist for the Annapolis daily paper The Capital, a sister publication to the Gazette.
Hartley's column described the suspect's interactions with an unnamed woman, whom Ramos had contacted over Facebook, where he is said to have repeatedly messaged her, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself. The court ultimately dismissed the suit in 2013.
In 2014, a Twitter user called Jarrod W. Ramos posted a tweet in which he called on Hartley to "kill yourself already before I do (legally in court)."
White House responds
The Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, wrote on Twitter he was "devastated" upon hearing about the incident.
US President Donald Trump also expressed his condolences on Twitter. "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," he wrote.
Gazette editor Jimmy DeButts wrote an emotional message on Twitter. Saying he was "devastated and heartbroken" over the shooting, he added that reporters and editors "give all they have every day" and were passionate about the work that they do.
A police spokesman in New York City said security had been bolstered at New York-based news organizations as a precaution. "There is no active threat at this time," he said.
The Capital Gazette owns one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States and is owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.
jcg, amp/msh (EFE, AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)