ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Reuters) – A gunman killed at least five people and “gravely injured” at least three others when he sprayed a newsroom in the Maryland capital of Annapolis with gunfire on Thursday, authorities said.
The suspect was arrested soon after the attack at the Capital Gazette’s office, without exchanging gunfire with police. Police said they did not know his motive but believe the suspect, a white male adult who used a long gun, acted alone.
Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that the newsroom looked “like a war zone.”
Davis and others were hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing, the Capital Gazette reported. The company runs multiple newspapers out of its Annapolis office.
“I don’t know why he stopped,” said Davis. “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 said later that he was safe and being interviewed by police.
One law enforcement source told CBS News the suspect was a male in his 20s who had no identification on him. Two law enforcement sources told CBS News the suspect used a shotgun and CNN reported he was not being cooperative with police.
Police recovered something they thought might have been an explosive device. About 170 people were evacuated from the building, which has been secure, police said.
Law enforcement in Baltimore and New York City deployed extra officers to the office of the New York Times and other major media outlets as a precaution, authorities said.
“There is no active threat at this time,” said Officer Andrew Lava, a New York police spokesman.
The Annapolis shooting is being treated as a local incident and not one that involves terrorism, a law enforcement official said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is on the scene assisting local authorities, the official said.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the shooting, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene,” Trump said in a tweet.
Capital Gazette publishes a stable of newspapers in and around Annapolis, home of the U.S. Naval Academy. The oldest of them traces its roots to the early 1700s. The papers have thrived by focusing on local news in the shadows of two much larger competitors, the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun.
Live video images showed people leaving the building, walking through a parking lot with their hands in the air. Scores of police vehicles were on the scene.
Jimmy DeButts, an editor at the Capital Gazette, tweeted that he was devastated, heartbroken and numb.
“I’m in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays – just a passion for telling stories from our community,” he wrote.
Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball and Jeff Mason in Washington, DC, Colleen Jenkins in North Carolina, Diana Kruzman, Frank McGurty and Peter Szekely in New York, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Phil Berlowitz and Richard Chang