The mass shooting at The Capital Gazette newspaper : Embedded Part 1: Five colleagues are shot dead. Everyone is traumatized. On that day, June 28, 2018, what can the remaining staff of the Capital Gazette do that might make a difference? Publish "a damn paper."
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Capital Gazette: "A Damn Paper"

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Capital Gazette: "A Damn Paper"

Capital Gazette: "A Damn Paper"

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Hey. I'm Kelly McEvers. And this is EMBEDDED from NPR. There's this thing that happens in our country, this uniquely awful American thing. It's become so common, I don't even have to say what it is for you to know what I'm talking about. I can just say where it happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: In Denver, a suburb of Aurora...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: ...A Sikh temple in Wisconsin...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #3: ...The historic Mother Emanuel AME Church...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #4: ...Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #5: ...The Pulse nightclub in...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #6: ...At a Las Vegas country music...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #7: ...A high school in Parkland, Fla., became...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #8: ...Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #9: ...Only 13 hours after El Paso, another massacre, this one in Dayton, Ohio.

MCEVERS: After one of these mass shootings, we all know what happens next - breaking news...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #10: A lone gunman from a 32nd floor hotel window shooting at thousands of helpless concert goers below.

MCEVERS: ...Then...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #11: ...We're standing by for a vigil tonight...

MCEVERS: ...Candlelight vigils...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #12: ...Two thousand singing hymns while trying to console each other....

MCEVERS: ...Thoughts and prayers from politicians. And sometimes on the news, a survivor stands out - like Selene San Felice. She's 22, and she survived a shooting on June 28, 2018. Hours later, she's on CNN, and she tells her story.

(SOUNDBITE OF CNN BROADCAST)

ANDERSON COOPER: Selene, where were you and what did you first hear?

SELENE SAN FELICE: I mean, I remember I was working at my desk when I heard the shots.

MCEVERS: The shooting Selene survived happened at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md. Five people Selene works with were killed. Selene talks about how she hid under that desk. And at one point, she just kind of interrupts her own story and says this terrible truth about mass shootings.

(SOUNDBITE OF CNN BROADCAST)

SAN FELICE: I honestly didn't even expect to be talking with Anderson Cooper today. I thought people would get, like, a Apple News notification, and they would just blow it off like what happens to everybody. This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week - people will forget about us after a week.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: People will forget about us - the final step of the news cycle.

(SOUNDBITE OF CNN BROADCAST)

SAN FELICE: And I just don't know what I want right now, right? But I'm going to need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers because it's - our whole lives have been shattered. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers, but I want something else.

COOPER: Selene, I - again, I'm sorry it's under these circumstances, but I appreciate the strength of you talking. Thank you.

SAN FELICE: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: So what does happen after the news coverage ends? To answer that, we spent two years reporting on the survivors at the Capital Gazette because sadly, they're now part of a club; a grim club of survivors all over the country that just keeps getting bigger as mass shootings become almost normal. We wanted to know, how do you live with something that's not normal at all?

And because in this shooting, people were targeted for the job they do. They work at a newspaper at a time when local newspapers are in crisis and at a time when the president of the United States called reporters the enemies of the people. So that's our show for the next several episodes - surviving, then getting back up and doing your job. We'll be back after this break.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: OK, we're back. And before we get to everything that happened after the shooting, we do need to talk about what happened that day. And to do all that, I'm going to hand this over to our colleague Chris Benderev. He's the one who spent a lot of time with the staff at the Capital Gazette. And just so you know, we are not going to get into graphic detail, but this episode still might be disturbing to some listeners. OK. Here's Chris.

CHRIS BENDEREV, BYLINE: For just a moment, let's talk about what things were like before June 28, 2018. For one thing, people in town didn't always like The Capital and its coverage. They'd call it The Crapital (ph) or, in a very Maryland insult, the Crab Wrapper. Like, you'd only use the paper as a disposable tablecloth for a dinner of steamed crabs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: But the truth is, the paper had been a fixture in Annapolis. It'd been around in one form or another since before the American Revolution. And yes, the Capital Gazette occasionally got big scoops, like scandals at the nearby Naval Academy, but its bread and butter was less flashy stuff. Think lacrosse rivalries between high schools. And if you want to know what happened at the city council meeting last night, you'd check the Capital Gazette. Their reporter was probably the only reporter there and definitely the only one who stayed until after midnight to hear debate over whether commercial vehicles should be allowed to double-park downtown.

One of the most popular features in the Capital Gazette was something more charming - Home of the Week. Every week, this one reporter, Wendi Winters, would profile a different home. Sometimes they were expensive and remarkable, but often they weren't. They were just local.

So relative to all that, June 28, 2018, a Thursday, started off as a big news day. A well-known local Army veteran, a double amputee, had drowned while paddleboarding in the Chesapeake Bay. A lot of people at the paper were out on assignment or on vacation that day, so the Army vet story fell to Phil Davis, a reporter in his late 20s. His editor, Rob Hiaasen, assigned Phil the story. Call up this guy's friends and family, Rob said. Get a picture of his life.

PHIL DAVIS: Rob was like, report this to the best of your ability. Don't make this just like this guy died. Like, find more. It was always just kind of his mindset that we needed to find out as much about the person's life as we could if we were going to report on their death.

BENDEREV: The paddleboarder death would be the main front-page story tomorrow, maybe even the day after, too.

A few cubicles away from Rob and Phil, towards the back of the newsroom, was Selene San Felice, who you heard on CNN. She was writing an annual guide to government agencies. And then near Selene was an older reporter, John McNamara, who was helping with coverage of Maryland's primary election. John knew Maryland well, mostly because he'd written about Maryland sports for decades, which he loved. But now he'd been assigned to cover politics, which he did not love as much. But still, he was there - early - to get the work done because someone had to and it mattered.

And finally, the last big story was the Naval Academy's Induction Day, the day every year when freshmen officially enter the Navy. Even though it happens every year, people in Annapolis like seeing photos of Induction Day, so the Capital Gazette had sent one of its photographers out to the Naval Academy, a guy who'd been at the paper for 14 years - Josh McKerrow. Josh had woken up super early. He wanted to be there at dawn so that the sunlight would be streaming in just right when he took his pictures of this new Naval Academy class.

JOSH MCKERROW: I've done it many times, and it's one of my favorite assignments of the year because at the very beginning, they're with their parents and hugging and, you know, and tearful. And then an hour and a half later, they're standing rigidly at attention, you know, getting shouted out at by by Marines for, you know, not holding their hands in the proper way, not, you know, not reading their "Reef Points" the proper way. And then they get their heads shaved, and they get very overwhelmed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: And, Josh says, his shoot of Induction Day, it went kind of perfectly.

MCKERROW: Some days the light isn't falling right; you don't have the magic camera. But on that day, I was just in it. I was getting moments. I was just - I was really pleased with the work I was doing.

BENDEREV: Unlike the others, Josh did not go into the Capital Gazette's newsroom that day. He knew he had to sift through a lot of photos of young naval recruits getting their hair buzzed off. And he knew that if he went into the office, he'd start talking, gossiping with his co-workers, which he really enjoyed. But today, he was in a hurry because it was also his daughter's birthday.

Josh is a divorced dad of three, and he was going to stop by his ex-wife's house with a gift and take his daughter out for snowballs, the shaved ice dessert that's famous in this part of Maryland. So he went home, picked out his best Naval Academy photos, sent them in, then hopped in his Jeep and drove off to see his daughter. It was about 2:30 p.m.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCKERROW: So I'm driving north on 97, and I see my phone ring. And I see that it's Rick.

BENDEREV: Rick Hutzell is Josh's boss, basically the editor-in-chief of the Capital Gazette. Rick was on vacation, but Rick never truly stops working. So it wasn't weird to get a call from him.

MCKERROW: And I almost let it just go to voicemail to be honest. I was like, you could just let it go.

BENDEREV: If Josh was in trouble or Rick wanted him to cover some local crime story - and these were the typical reasons Rick would be calling - Josh didn't want to deal with that right now. Remember daughter, birthday, snowballs.

MCKERROW: But I picked it up. And I said, hey, Rick, you know, kind of in that friendly like, you know, wasn't-me kind of voice. And he's like, are you in the office?

BENDEREV: Josh said, no, he hadn't gone into the office.

MCKERROW: And he's like, OK, it's probably not true, but I'm hearing word that there was a shooting at Bestgate...

BENDEREV: Bestgate Road, where the newsroom was.

MCKERROW: ...And I can't get a hold of anyone in the office.

And at about the exact same moment, I'm going north on the highway. And in the left breakdown lane, roaring south, is dozens of emergency vehicles. They must have been going 100 miles an hour, like a armada of cars. And I've been doing this enough that - like, I see a fire truck passing me with their lights on, I look at their body posture and I can tell whether this is for real or not. You know, and I can tell just by the set of their shoulders whether they're going to a report of a chimney fire or they're going to, you know, a three-alarm dwelling. And I could just - I could see instantly that this was the real thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: Josh is seeing all this as he's still on the line with his boss, Rick. He now realizes that the thing Rick said probably wasn't true - that there'd been a shooting - must be true. But he doesn't tell Rick.

JOSHUA MCKERROW: I couldn't tell him. I couldn't tell him because I knew. I knew. I knew. I knew. I just couldn't - I couldn't be the one. And so I think I said, OK, I'm coming up on Benfield. I'll turn around. I'll stay in touch.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: They hung up, and Josh began driving toward the Capital Gazette's newsroom. He called his ex-wife and asked her to tell their daughter that he was really sorry he couldn't make it. When he was at a stoplight, he posted on Twitter, I'm safe, I wasn't there, I'm on my way.

Twitter was starting to fill with little scraps of information. One of the reporters inside the newsroom tweeted, active shooter - 888 Bestgate - please help us. And the person who wrote that tweet?

SAN FELICE: I mean, I remember I was working at my desk when I heard the shots.

BENDEREV: Selene San Felice, from the CNN interview. Here's what happened. Around 2:30 in the afternoon, a man with a shotgun fired into and exploded a huge glass door at the entrance of the Capital Gazette newsroom. And then, he stepped inside.

DAVIS: I immediately knew something once I heard that first loud crash, and I just immediately hit the deck.

BENDEREV: Phil Davis, who'd written the paddleboarder story, hid under his desk. He heard the gunman make his way through the reception area and down the main hallway that ran through the middle of the office, shooting over and over. At one point, the gunman was so close that Phil could hear him reload. But then, he kept walking past Phil's desk towards the back of the newsroom where Selene was. She'd been trying to figure out what to do.

SAN FELICE: I said, I'm getting out of here. And I grabbed my purse, and I went to the back door, which I was only a couple steps away from. It was locked. And I said, it's locked.

BENDEREV: The back door, which was the only other way out of the office, wouldn't open because the gunman had already barricaded it. So Selene got under a desk next to the intern. They huddled together and tried to keep quiet. Another colleague, Rachael, started running, tripped and fell and then hid behind a filing cabinet. Then, another colleague was shot right in front of Selene. But soon after that, the shooting just stopped. Everything got quiet. Selene texted her parents that she loved them, and then she tweeted, active shooter - 888 Bestgate - please help us.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: After the police arrived, they escorted Selene and the others out and told them, keep your eyes on the deputy in front of you, do not look around. Nineteen minutes after the shooting started, the cops finally found the gunman and arrested him. He'd been hiding under a desk in the middle of the newsroom.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: We'll be back after this break.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: OK, we're back. And it's June 28, 2018. Police have arrested the gunman at the Capital Gazette. Photographer Josh McKerrow is on his way to the newsroom. Here's Chris Benderev again.

BENDEREV: When Josh arrived on the scene, he couldn't actually get to the newsroom. The building it was part of had been walled off by ambulances and caution tape and police - so many police.

MCKERROW: There are people in tactical vests with, like, assault rifles, but also in T-shirts and sweatpants, which, you know, is like - is telling me that, like, they just responded from wherever the hell they were.

BENDEREV: Josh did what he does when he arrives for any crime story - started snapping photos. He tweeted them out, some of the first pictures of the story anyone sent out to the world. Then Josh walked across the street to where the media were starting to set up shop, in the parking lot of a shopping mall with a J.C. Penney, near an Ann Taylor, near a Sbarro Pizza. And it was in that mall parking lot that Josh, without knowing it, became part of this thing that has ended up defining the Capital Gazette ever since.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: Because Josh ran into two other reporters from the paper who hadn't been in the newsroom during the shooting but had also instinctively rushed there as soon as they'd heard - Chase Cook and Pat Furgurson. Chase had had the day off when he'd heard. Pat had been eating a late lunch in the mall's food court. There were some hugs, and then without any fanfare, they all started working, reporting, trying to figure out what was going on.

They couldn't go back to their newsroom, but they did have the back of Pat's Toyota pickup truck in the mall's parking garage. It had a cigarette lighter where Chase, who didn't even have a laptop on him, could charge his phone, and there was some plastic crates where Josh could prop up his computer to go through photos. The whole setup made for this incredible image - three local journalists reporting on an attack on their own newsroom from the back of a pickup truck in a mall parking lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCKERROW: At first, it was - the issue was to figure out who was safe. We were making phone calls and would be checking Twitter and - like, oh, you know, Phil's on Twitter, so Phil's OK. And, you know, somebody sent me a text - I saw Paul here, so, OK, Paul's OK.

BENDEREV: Josh tweeted out the names of some of the co-workers they'd confirmed were alive. But some of their co-workers hadn't been heard from and had not tweeted. At first, Josh found himself trying to explain it away. Gerald Fischman, the cardigan-wearing editor in his 60s who liked to communicate with his colleagues by leaving sticky notes on their desks, he had eight followers on Twitter. He wasn't going to tweet about this, Josh told himself. And the same went for three other older staffers - Rob Hiaasen, the editor who was working with Phil on the paddleboarder story; and Wendi Winters, who wrote Home of the Week; and John McNamara, the editor who missed writing about sports. They wouldn't be rushing to Twitter, Josh thought.

But then one of the other reporters working with Josh in that parking lot, Chase Cook, took Josh to the side.

MCKERROW: And he's like, I talked to Rick. Rick has some names of who's gone. Do you want me to tell you?

BENDEREV: Rick, the editor in chief, had gotten confirmation from the police.

MCKERROW: I had one of those moments - and it wasn't the first time I'd had it that day - where I could see the demarking line between my old life and my new life. I said, yeah - yeah, tell me. And he told me, you know, John and Rob and Gerald and Wendi are gone. And I didn't break down or anything. I just - I mean, I knew it was bad. I didn't really have time to, like, process it at all because we were - you know, we still had stuff to do.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: And the stuff they had to do was help out with obituaries about their colleagues, their friends. Josh began scouring his hard drive, trying to pull candid photos that he'd taken over the years of John, Rob, Gerald and Wendi. He didn't want their obits to have those canned picture-day photos you can find in the staff section of the company website. Meanwhile, Chase learned something else. In fact, a fifth person had been shot and later died - Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant, the friendly face at the front desk. She'd been the first one that the shooter turned his gun on.

And more was slowly coming out about the suspected gunman, the man police had arrested. I'm not going to tell you his name in this episode. It's become more common in coverage of mass shootings to not give the gunman any more notoriety than they already get. Plus, it can be upsetting to victims' families and survivors. But I will tell you, he was in his 30s, he lived nearby, and he'd had a vendetta against the paper for years, ever since it had reported on the fact that he was convicted for harassing a woman. He'd sued the Capital Gazette for defamation, then lost the case. In other words, this attack was not random. This was targeted.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #13: Chief, can you provide any information on the type of shotgun?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #13: Was it a sporting shotgun? Was it a tactical shotgun?

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: I don't have that information. I will find out...

(CROSSTALK)

BENDEREV: The police held press conferences throughout the afternoon in the mall parking lot. Dozens of reporters would pack in. All the big national news outlets had arrived by now.

MCKERROW: Pat and Chase and I covered the press conference like we would cover any press conference.

BENDEREV: Pat Furgurson, who was used to covering local crime stories, asked a question about the crime scene.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PAT FURGURSON: Can you tell us anything about the broken windows on the fourth floor?

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: The broken windows on the fourth floor, as...

MCKERROW: And they both managed to fight and got questions in. I was proud of them for that.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: After the press conference, once Josh and Pat and Chase had all retreated to the pickup truck, they noticed that a few reporters from other news outlets had followed them back, reporters who'd figured out who they were and who were now politely observing them. One, Josh says, was with The New York Times.

MCKERROW: I became aware that she was covering us. She was standing there watching us. I could see, like, you know, kind of the camera behind her eyes noting all the details and all that stuff.

BENDEREV: How did it feel to be - being covered and recognize that fact?

MCKERROW: It was just kind of one more damn thing. And it was like a dream in a kind of ways, you know, where a dream just kind of gets weirder and weirder as it goes on and just another element keeps happening and just - all right, well, I guess there's a New York Times reporter just kind of standing here. I should make a mental note to check The New York Times tomorrow to see if you're in it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: So Chase and Pat and Josh had gathered up some facts, some quotes, some photos. But that begged the question, where would this stuff go? Would there even be an edition of The Capital Gazette tomorrow and would it include their work? Chase Cook noticed that no one had explicitly answered that question yet.

You had been wondering if there would be a paper tomorrow?

CHASE COOK: I had been - yeah. I wasn't 100% certain on it. Who knows? Nobody's told me we're not, but also, uncharted territories.

BENDEREV: Now, there is a thing you need to know here. The Capital Gazette is actually owned by a bigger paper up the road, The Baltimore Sun. The Sun drops its own stories into The Capital from time to time. And by now, Sun reporters were in Annapolis covering the story, so tomorrow's Capital could easily be filled with Baltimore Sun stories. They didn't need Chase's or Pat's reporting or Josh's photos. Still, all three of them kept working, uploading whatever they got to the shared server with Baltimore, just like they do with any story. At another point that afternoon, Josh called up a photo editor in Baltimore who worked for both The Sun and The Capital.

MCKERROW: I was like, confirm you got the larger sizes for those pictures. And he's like, yeah, we got them. And I think I said, I want them to be my photos in the paper tomorrow because The Baltimore Sun had photographers there. And I was like, I want them to be my photo as lede.

BENDEREV: As lede meaning the big photo on the front page.

MCKERROW: And he was like, absolutely. And I was like, OK. And we hung up the phone. And I kind of realized in the back of my head that we had just confirmed that there was going to be a paper.

BENDEREV: A little later, Chase asked Josh the question outright.

MCKERROW: Chase asked me something like, you know, we are putting out a paper tomorrow, right? And I said, yes, we are. And I remember saying it, like, a little defensively and, like, just a little angrily. I was like, yes, we are putting out a paper tomorrow.

BENDEREV: After this, Chase sent out a tweet, a tweet that would go on to make him momentarily famous. It read, quote, "I can tell you this - we are putting out a damn paper tomorrow."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: Survivors of mass shootings often talk about experiencing a devastating lack of control. And it was the same for The Capital Gazette. People told me they felt helpless in the moment. Doing journalism, documenting what was happening to them, even in small ways, that was the first chance to get a little bit of control back. And it wasn't just Josh and Chase and Pat who were doing it.

Their boss, Rick Hutzell, proofread stories on his phone from the back of a police car being driven to an interview with detectives. Phil Davis, the courts and crime reporter who'd started his day reporting on that paddleboarding death and then survived the shooting, he wanted to report, but he knew he couldn't because he was now a witness to the crime. So he figured he'd do whatever he could to help other reporters. He went to the courthouse's website, which he knew well, and tweeted out details of the bail review for the suspect - tomorrow morning, Annapolis District Court, 10:30 a.m.

And then there was Rachael Pacella. She was another young reporter who'd survived the shooting. She was the one who fell and hit her head while Selene and the intern hid under a desk. Rachael was taken to a nearby hospital. She didn't have her phone. It was still on her desk back at work. And the hospital staff kept the TV off. She'd had a concussion, they told her, and she shouldn't look at screens. She knew she was part of this huge tragedy that must have made the news, but that's all she knew.

So Rachael asked someone for a sheet of paper and a pen. And then, almost like a reflex, she began writing. I had no information, so I gathered my own, she later explained. She wrote down her doctor's name, the first name and the last initial of the police officer whom she'd asked not to leave her alone in that hospital room. She wrote down that she remembered that the office had, quote, "smelled like gunpowder." She jotted down the word shotgun after someone told her what kind of weapon had been used. And when she finally learned the names of her five coworkers who'd been killed, she wrote down their names, too. It was journalism as a coping mechanism.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: Back in the mall parking lot, Josh eventually stopped for a moment.

MCKERROW: The sun was going down. I talked earlier about reading the body postures of, you know, police officers. They were relaxing. It was done. Everyone was really tired. They'd caught him.

BENDEREV: Josh saw the people around him starting to figure out dinner or talking about heading home. Basically, they were figuring out what's next. But Josh had a very different feeling.

MCKERROW: I just didn't want it to end. I just did not want it to end. I did not want to walk away from there. But you have to.

BENDEREV: Why didn't you want it to end?

MCKERROW: I didn't want the rest of my life to start. I didn't know - I didn't have the conscious thought, but I just was like, this is going to change everything. Everything is different now. And I don't want everything to be different. You know what I mean? Like, I can't - if I leave here, then I have to deal with everything else that's going to happen after.

And already, you know, someone had said, we're going to have to go to five funerals next week, aren't we? And who wants to go to one funeral? And just suddenly you're thinking, five funerals next week. And already there was talks about a memorial and a gathering and a candle-lit thing. You know, it's already like their plans are being made, and the world is moving to the next step. And I don't want to move to the next step. I don't want to go to Wendi's funeral. I don't want to - but it was time. I mean, there was nothing else to do. And I was so tired. You know, I'd been working since since 6.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: News outlets were already beginning to talk about the heroism of putting out the paper from the back of a pickup truck. Chase's tweet - we are putting out a damn paper tomorrow - was going viral. It'd go on to be retweeted more than 14,000 times. It ended up being printed on T-shirts as a symbol of press freedom. Months later, the Capital Gazette was recognized by the Pulitzer board with a special citation that commended the paper's courageous response and its unflagging commitment at a time of unspeakable grief.

But in the parking lot that evening, things didn't exactly feel heroic. Chase, for instance, didn't think that he'd done enough. Yes, his story would run on the front page, but The Baltimore Sun wrote 11 other articles that would fill the next morning's Capital Gazette. Plus, yeah, it was nice that a lot of people found the whole pickup truck thing inspiring. But was that really doing anything to help the people they were the most worried about? Their friends, their co-workers who survived - would those people even care about the next day's paper?

SAN FELICE: I mean, when we got taken out of the office, I was like, the paper is dead.

BENDEREV: This is Selene San Felice again.

SAN FELICE: I thought the whole operation was dead. I mean, all the f****** editors are dead. So how are we going to do it? I didn't know that Chase and Josh and Pat were, like, out just in the parking lot of the mall reporting. I thought at that moment we were all going to give up. So then when I saw Pat on TV and I realized we were still reporting and then I got the call that, like, they were writing a story and that they had been reporting, then - it was amazing. And I knew that we were going to have a paper and that if we were going to paper the next day, we were going to keep having a paper. So I wanted to be part of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BENDEREV: On the next episode, it's one thing to put out a damn paper, as Chase called it. But then, how do you keep putting out that paper over and over with a staff that's been through a mass shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The people who were in the newsroom and survived all gravitated to seats in the back of the room where they could see the door and their backs were up against the farthest wall.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Like, people make fun of triggers. It's like this meme now to be triggered. But it happens. And it sucks because you want to be able to do your job.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I think that a lot of it was about looking each other in the eye and saying, it's OK that we're alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MCEVERS: Before we get to the credits, I just want to say this series will mainly be focusing on the staff at the Capital Gazette. We do want to take a minute to thank the family members of the five people who died. Many of them also generously shared memories of the worst day of their lives with us - Cindy Rittenour, who looked up to her big sister, sales assistant Rebecca Smith; Erica Fischman, the widow of editor Gerald Fischman, and her daughter Uka Saran, who called him Dad; Wendi Winters' four children, including Phoenix Geimer and Winters Larca; the family of Rob Hiaasen and his widow Maria Hiaasen. Rob's posthumously published novel is called "Float Plan." And finally, Andrea Chamblee - after the death of her husband John McNamara, she finished writing the book about the history of basketball in Washington, D.C., that he had spent more than a decade writing on nights and weekends. It is called "The Capital Of Basketball."

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MCEVERS: This episode was reported by Chris Benderev and produced by Rhaina Cohen. It was edited by Alison MacAdam. Big thanks to Karen Duffin, Kia Miakka Natisse, Jenny Schmidt, Yowei Shaw, Chris Turpin and Justine Yan. Our senior supervising producer is Nicole Beemsterboer. Our lawyer is Kimberly Sullivan, fact-checking by Susie Cummings. This episode was mastered by Isaac Rodrigues. Our big bosses are Nancy Barnes, Neal Carruth and Anya Grundmann.

If you want to reach out, we are on Twitter @NPREmbedded. We'll be back next week with more. Thanks.

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