Witnesses describe the terrifying scene at the Capital Gazette shooting

  • A gunman opened fire in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five people on Thursday.
  • Witnesses, including employees of the Gazette and others who worked in the building, described the terrifying scene. 
  • A single suspect was taken into custody but has not yet been identified.

Tragedy struck the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon when a gunman opened fire in the office, killing at least five people and injuring several others. 

Witnesses quickly began sharing their accounts of the incident and what was going through their minds. 

One of the first employees to do that was Anthony Messenger, an intern at the newspaper, who tweeted the address of the building as the shooting unfolded on Thursday: "Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us."

Reporters from local TV news stations quickly responded asking to talk to Messenger about the situation. Another Capital Gazette employee later confirmed Messenger was safe. 

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Deadly shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland
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Deadly shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - Several people were feared killed Thursday in a shooting at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. A reporter for the Capital Gazette, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.' He said several people were killed.'There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Jarrod Ramos, suspected of killing five people at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018 is seen in this Anne Arundel Police Department booking photo provided June 29, 2018. Anne Arundel Police/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Police gather after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook (R) and photographer Joshua McKerrow (L) work on the next days newspaper while awaiting news from their colleagues in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by Ivan Couronne / AFP) (Photo credit should read IVAN COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police gather near the Capitol Gazette newspaper office where a shooting occurred in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
ANNAPOLIS, MD - JUNE 28: Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Photo by Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us
A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead.
There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload
Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can't say much more and don… https://t.co/i1RmtpXmO9
Police officers respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Greg Savoy
Journalist E.B Furgurson (R) takes notes with two other people as police officers respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Greg Savoy
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - JUNE 28, 2018: Gavin Buckley, Mayor of Annapolis, comments on the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
A New York Police officer is seen deployed outside the New York Times building following a fatal shooting at a Maryland newspaper, in New York City, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A member of the FBI responds to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials secure a crime scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook (R) and photographer Joshua McKerrow (L) work on the next days newspaper while awaiting news from their colleagues in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by Ivan Couronne / AFP) (Photo credit should read IVAN COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
New York Police officers are seen deployed outside the New York Times building, following a fatal shooting at a Maryland newspaper, in New York City, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - Several people were feared killed Thursday in a shooting at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. A reporter for the Capital Gazette, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.' He said several people were killed.'There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (C) speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials secure a crime scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
FBI SWAT team members confer near a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A newspaper stand selling the Capital Gazette is pictured in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by ZACH GIBSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others, in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Police officers talk to a man as they respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018.

(REUTERS/Greg Savoy)

Police gather after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Sheriff's department members outside 888 Bestgate Road after a shooting in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28: A member of the NYPD stands guard in front of ABC headquarters as they increase security in Manhattan at major media companies following a shooting today at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland on June 28, 2018 in New York City. One suspect is in custody after up to five people were reported killed in the shooting at the local newspaper. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS, MD - JUNE 28: Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Photo by Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
The scene outside 888 Bestgate, where an active shooter was in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom, with heavy police, fire, and rescue presence on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
BPD at @baltimoresun for precautionary sweep in light of Capital-Gazette incident https://t.co/ZduDQAcoDS
Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis. I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and… https://t.co/UmUc8MhuF2
Emergency response vehicles drive near a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others, in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police stage behind the Westfield Annapolis Mall after a shooting in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
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Soon after, Phil Davis, a local crime and courts reporter who survived the shooting, described his experience in a series of tweets after he made it to safety. 

"A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead," he wrote. "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload." 

In a later interview with the Baltimore Sun, Davis described the newsroom as a "war zone," saying the gunman had shot through the glass door.

"I'm a police reporter. I write about this stuff - not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death - all the time. 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. 

Jimmy DeButts, an editor of the Capital Gazette, wrote in a series of tweets that he was "devastated and heartbroken" by the events. He praised the newspaper's staff for being dedicated and hardworking. 

The employees of the Capital Gazette were not the only people affected. Their office is located on the first floor of a larger office complex with about 30 tenants. 

Two people who work in a law office on the fourth floor of the complex described flipping a desk and using to the block the door to their unit until the SWAT team arrived. Helicopter footage from the local Fox affiliate, WTTG showed law-enforcement escorting people out of the building with their hands over their heads. 

Another woman whose office was located on the second floor of the complex recalled hearing a gunshot and then an officer yelling at her to "get down." According to her account, she saw a sheriff's deputy patting someone down outside her door. The deputy initially told her and others in her office to stay inside. 

But, in a terrifying twist, "literally a second later, they told us to put our hands up and sprint," the woman, Bethany Clasing, recounted. “That was the scariest part.”

A single suspect was taken into custody in connection with the deadly shooting, police said. 

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