Carrying candles, white flowers, and copies of the Capital Gazette newspaper, hundreds of people gathered in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday to honor and remember the victims of the shooting. Photos of Annapolis mourning the Capital Gazette shooting victims show the town paid tribute to those lost in the attack with songs, a somber march, and a candlelight vigil.
"We are not the enemy," Capital Gazette reporter Pat Furgurson said to a crowd of roughly 300 people who'd gathered to take part in a candlelight vigil just before sunset. "We're you."
Furgurson's words seemed to be more a message for President Donald Trump than for those who'd gathered to remember the five Capital Gazette employees killed in Thursday's shooting. The president has repeatedly attempted to paint the media as an "enemy" of the United States.
"Our Country's biggest enemy is the Fake News," he tweeted in June, just a little more than two weeks ago following his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The year prior, Trump had claimed "the FAKE NEWS media... is not my enemy, it's the enemy of the American People," in a tweet that singled out The New York times, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, and CNN.
But mourners in Annapolis gathered Friday not to talk about Trump, but to remember the five people who were killed Thursday in an attack on the Capital Gazette offices: editor Rob Hiaasen, community correspondent Wendi Winters, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, sports writer John McNamara, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.
"These people were husbands, wives, mothers and fathers," the Baltimore Sun reported Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, who said he knew Winters through PTA meetings and because their daughters' had played soccer together, told the crowd at Friday's vigil. "They didn't come from someplace else. They were dedicated to our community. They did not deserve to die under these circumstances."
According to the New York Times, the gunman who'd opened fire at the Capital Gazette offices had a history of conflict with the paper, having once brought a lawsuit against the company. The gunmen was also known for berating Capital reporters on social media, the Times reported.
As part of the day's activities, a number of mourners walked solemnly down Annapolis' Main Street before gathering in a parking lot across from the building that housed the Capital Gazette offices. Others gathered for prayers and lifted their voices in song, singing Amazing Grace, according to the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette. Capital reporters and employees remembered their coworkers aloud at the vigil, sharing stories with the crowd.
As evening fell and the sky began to darken, Rev. Ryan P. Sirmons of the United Church of Christ of Annapolis read each of the five victims' name aloud as a bell rang out once for each victim. Sirmons then instructed vigil-goers to light their candles and hold them to the sky, the Sun reported. Five candles — each one baring the name and face of one of the Capital Gazette shooting victims — stood nearby, flames flickering.
But while much of Friday's focus was on those who'd been killed, many mourners also expressed appreciation and support for journalism and journalists overall. "Nothing is quite as united as a newspaper office," the Sun reported Sirmons told gathered mourners. "We must have free speech. We must have journalists and journalism."
Capital reporters echoed a similar message of resilience and dedication. "For a moment yesterday, the sword was mightier," the Times reported Furgurson said. "But this morning, we put out a newspaper. And we'll put out a newspaper tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. We'll continue to do our bit to provide real news to better inform citizens in this republic."