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.

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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