Jarrod Ramos is being held without bail after five people were killed in the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday evening.
Capital Gazette shooting ‘I don’t know how you prepare for this’
Some 300 people have taken part in a vigil to remember the victims.
Carrying candles, they walked through the streets of Annapolis, near the Capitol dome, which was lit up and had its flags flown at half mast.
Donald Trump said the nation was shocked by the shooting – one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history – and said all Americans should be free of fear of attack while at work.
Officials described how the gunman blasted his way into the newsroom with a pump-action shotgun that had been legally owned, and tried to kill as many people as he could kill.
Maryland state prosecutor Wes Adams said one of the victims was shot as they tried to escape through the back doors of the office.
Speaking during a hearing, Mr Adams alleged that Ramos executed a brutal series of attacks on innocent victims.
He said the suspect had barricaded a back door and used a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent victims.
Mr Adams added There were two entrances to the offices in which this attack occurred. The rear door was barricaded. Mr Ramos entered into the front door and worked his way through the offices.
There was one victim that had attempted to escape through the back door and was shot at that point.
Ramos was arrested at the scene, and reportedly stopped firing and hid when the police entered the building.
Mr Trump said the attack shocked the conscience of the nation and filled our hearts with grief.
Journalists, like all Americans, should be free of fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs, the president added.
Mr Trump said he pledged eternal support from his government to the families of the victims of what he called a horrible event.
He said My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime.
Police in Annapolis said Ramos used a gun he had purchased legally about a year ago.
Defiant Capital Gazette puts out paper the day after newsroom shooting in Maryland
Police Chief Timothy Altomare said there had been a previous incident between the newspaper and the suspect in 2013, when he made threatening comments online to members of the newsroom.
However, the decision was made by the staff not to press criminal charges as they were concerned it would exacerbate the situation.
Ramos has now been charged with five counts of murder. He has appeared in court and been held without bail, pending a hearing date.
Ramos, 38, appeared via video link and did not speak during his hearing. Mr Altomare said he had been uncooperative.
Victims of Capital Gazette newsroom shooting named
At a news conference in Annapolis, Mr Altomare said police had found evidence that Ramos had planned the attack, and that it appeared he had acted alone.
We have a bad guy and for his own reasons, he chose to do what he did, Mr Altomare said.
The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill.
Ramos had a history of harassing the Capital Gazette’s journalists.
The feud reportedly began over a column about Ramos pleading guilty to harassing a woman. He filed a defamation suit against the paper in 2012, which was thrown out as groundless. He then repeatedly railed against its staff members in profanity-laced tweets.
Addressing whether police should have pressed charges despite the newspaper’s decision not to, Mr Altomare said the investigator made a call based on evidence he had at the time.
Every day we speak with someone who doesn’t want to press charges. For a felony, we would go ahead, but on a misdemeanour, we would not always, he said.
The suspect was caught using facial-recognition software, which has been controversial in Maryland.
Mr Altomare said without the technology, it would have been a much longer process for officers to track and arrest Ramos.
In a show of defiance, the Capital Gazette staff put out the newspaper on Friday.
Images showed journalists working from laptops on a truck as they continued to put the paper together. The opinion page was left blank as the staff said they were speechless.
The five victims are Rob Hiaasen, 59, the paper’s assistant managing editor; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman; special projects editor Wendi Winters; reporter John McNamara; and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.
Two others are being treated for minor injuries.
In a tribute, Mr Hiaasen’s brother Carl, a novelist and columnist at the Miami Herald, said [He was] one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known. He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public’s right to know the news.
We called him Big Rob because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humour that made him larger than all of us.
News Source SkyNews