Memorial held for 5 slain Capital Gazette employees

Candles memorializing Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiassen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters flicker during a candlelight vigil on June 29, 2018 in Annapolis, Md.
(Karl Merton Ferron / TNS)

Journalists honored the five Capital Gazette employees who were shot to death in their newsroom last year by unveiling a plaque Friday with the names of the dead in a garden next to five rosebushes.

The plaque in the waterside park acknowledges Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith as “our cherished colleagues.”

“This community is very lucky,” said Rick Hutzell, the newspaper’s editor. “It has what a lot of communities have lost and that is a newsroom. A newsroom is a room full of people who turn up every day to celebrate our successes, to point out what is wrong and to ask what could be better. That is what journalism is about, so it is extremely fitting that this is where this garden is ... it’s a place where people come for a quiet moment to think about things.”


Hutzell spoke of all five of his slain colleagues. He remembered that Hiaasen used to come to the park to think about his work, and he said the garden was a fitting place for people to remember his colleagues.

“Come here and think about what these five lives meant,” Hutzell said. “I am far richer for having known them, and I am far poorer for having lost them.”

David Dreier, chairman of the board of Tribune Publishing, said the attack has inspired plans for a memorial in Washington for fallen journalists.

“There’s a lot of attention that has been focused on journalists who have paid the ultimate price, but I want every member of the families to know that it was this tragedy that has sparked the plan that we hope within the next seven-plus years — this will be a long journey — we will see on or near our National Mall in Washington, D.C., a memorial for fallen journalists,” Dreier said.

Staff from the newspaper, including several who escaped the newsroom on the day of the shooting, as well as family of the dead, gathered for the memorial.

Tribune Publishing, which owns the newspaper, also held a moment of silence around the nation at 2:33 p.m. That is the time the shooting happened last June 28.

Local residents also attended the memorial.

“This is an important day. It’s a sad day. I’m so proud of my hometown paper,” said Stephanie Kalinich.

A separate community gathering also was scheduled at a local theater Friday evening.