By Prudence Arobani
New York – No fewer than five people were killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire inside the building that houses the Capital Gazette.
Police confirmed there were five fatalities in the shooting and that the suspect was armed with a shotgun.
According to police, first shots were reported at 2:40 p.m. after the shooter entered the building, which houses the Capital Gazette and several other businesses.
The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com, and is part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.
Police have secured the building and are transitioning it into a crime scene while the building was immediately evacuated when police arrived on scene, and officers searched the building to secure the scene.
Police authorities said they were on the scene between 60 and 90 seconds after receiving the report.
Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said they did not believe this to be a “mass casualty” incident, but would not give further details on numbers until the scene has been secured.
“One of the main messages we want to give the public is avoid the area. We have a lot of police officers here from our jurisdiction.
“Everyone has came here to make sure we get as many people safe as quickly as possible. So we’re asking family and friends to meet at the Annapolis Mall.
“If you need to meet up with a friend or a loved one who was inside that building, our reunification center has been set up inside the Lord & Taylor inside Annapolis Mall,” Frashure said.
The Anne Arundel County Medical Center confirmed they had two patients related to the incident admitted, but they were suffering from “lacerations” not gunshot wounds.
President Donald Trump said he had been briefed on the shooting and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he was “absolutely devastated” at the tragedy.
Trump said in a tweet: “Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
“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”.
Hogan said he was aware of the shooting, and arrived on scene immediately to stay updated on the situation.
“Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis,” he said adding: “Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community”.