Sunday, June 28, marks the second anniversary of the deadly attacks at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, a massacre that took the lives of five employees and left a community speechless.
Victims Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters were honored Thursday by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on the U.S. Senate floor.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of these five wonderful people,” he said, taking a moment to read the names of each victim.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a proclamation marking June 28 as “Freedom of the Press Day.”
On the afternoon of Thursday, June 28, 2018, Jarrod Ramos entered the Capital Gazette offices on Bestgate Road and opened fire.
The state has since approved $300,000 to build a memorial called Guardians of Free Speech in Newman Park, which will also be a tribute to the First Amendment.
The project is set to be unveiled in 2021, on the third anniversary of the shooting.
The victims’ names will be carved in stone.
In 2019, Senators Cardin and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced a bipartisan bill to establish the Fallen Journalists Memorial in D.C.
“As Walter Cronkite remarked, freedom of the press is not just important to democracy. It is democracy,” Cardin said.
There have been at least 107 attacks on journalists across the U.S. so far in 2020, said Cardin.
Ramos pleaded guilty in 2019 to the 2018 killings. The guilty plea came days before he was set to go on trial, but now Ramos is planning to argue that he was not criminally responsible because of mental illness.
He is currently being held without bond on several charges, including five counts of first degree murder.
His trial has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Like you, we’re waiting for justice to be done upon the man who cruelly took Rebecca, John, Gerald, Wendi and Rob from us and their families,” The Capital Gazette Editorial Board wrote in the paper on Sunday.
Like you, we’re waiting for justice to be done upon the man who cruelly took Rebecca, John, Gerald, Wendi and Rob from us and their families. We’re waiting patiently because we want the outcome to be fair and final. https://t.co/PRHCv4ItRW
— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 28, 2020
“We’re waiting patiently because we want the outcome to be fair and final. The coronavirus pandemic has delayed a resolution in court, just as the complexity of this case has drawn it out.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.