Journalists at a US newspaper where a gunman killed five of their colleagues have shown their defiance by reporting on the murders – just hours after the shooting.
The killer, who was armed with smoke grenades and a shotgun, opened fire in their newsroom in Maryland on Thursday.
Suspect Jarrod W Ramos has been charged with five counts of murder, according to reports.
The 38-year-old man is said to have had a long-standing feud with the newspaper.
“Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” tweeted The Capital Gazette, announcing the release of an edition as normal on Friday.
The paper also said it had “intentionally left blank” its opinion page to commemorate the victims of the attack and also because “today, we are speechless”.
“We are heartbroken, devastated. Our colleagues and friends are gone,” said editor Rick Hutzell.
“No matter how deep our loss, is nothing compared to the grief our friends’ families are feeling.”
The Maryland newspaper, based in Annapolis, also tweeted links to stories on the “five bright, wonderful … members of our family” killed in the shooting, paying tribute to editor Rob Hiaasen, 59, community news reporter Wendi Winters, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, and staff writer John McNamara.
The incident comes amid months of verbal and online attacks on the “fake news media” from politicians and others, including President Donald Trump, who earlier this year declared the press “the enemy of the American people”.
He refused to respond to journalists’ questions about the shooting as he left for an official visit to Wisconsin, but later tweeted: “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.”
The shooting has prompted New York City police – plus forces across other states – to immediately tighten security at news organisations.
Acting police chief Bill Krampf said Ramos “looked for his victims”.
The newspaper had received threats on social media before the shooting and investigators are working to confirm any connection to Ramos, who they said had “prepared” for the attack.
Other staff crawled under desks and hid anywhere they could as the gunman used smoke grenades as he entered the building and then opened fire.
The paper’s crime reporter Phil Davis tweeted: “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
Even as they reacted to the tragedy later, surviving staff vowed to continue doing their job.
There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload
— Phil Davis (@PhilDavis_CG) June 28, 2018
“There will be a Capital Friday,” tweeted photojournalist Joshua McKerrow.
Jimmy DeButts, an editor at the paper, defended his profession: “We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records and bring to light the inner workings of government despite major hurdles put in our way. The reporters and editors put their all into finding the truth. That is our mission. Will always be.”