ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The grieving and the reporting sort of jumbled together for staffers at The Capital Gazette on Thursday night, but they were determined to put out the next day's edition.
Journalists with the Annapolis-based daily huddled under a covered parking deck of the Annapolis Mall, not far from where scores of other media outlets were clumped together awaiting further details of the shooting that left five people dead, including colleagues, and others injured.
Editor Rick Hutzell called a few of his journalists over to talk, a discussion punctuated with hugs and staggered expressions.
"We're trying to do our job and deal with five people" who lost their lives, said reporter Pat Furgurson, whose wife and adult son were with him at the mall.
Furgurson said his colleagues were "just people trying to do their job for the public."
"You think something like this might happen in Afghanistan, not in a newsroom a block away from the mall," he said, reflecting on what appeared to be one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history. Police later said the gunman explicitly targeted the newspaper.
The paper's staffers were resolute that they would publish despite the tragedy. Capital reporter Chase Cook wrote on Twitter: "I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow."
Reporters brushed aside any logistical difficulties putting out a newspaper when the newsroom is an off-limits crime scene.
High school sports editor Bob Hough told The Associated Press he and a colleague were working on the sports section from his home Thursday evening.
"I don't know that there was ever any thought to not putting something together," said Hough, who wasn't at the office when the shooting broke out. Hough said they were doing a full five-page section in collaboration with the design team based at the Baltimore Sun that always lays out the pages.
He noted that some of his colleagues were out reporting on the shooting story as it continued to unfold late Thursday and said he expected the next day's paper would include that coverage and whatever else would be in a typical Friday paper.
Photographer Josh McKerrow edited photos on a laptop in the garage deck.
"It's what our instinct was — to go back to work," McKerrow said. "It's what our colleagues would have done."
Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin contributed to this report from Richmond, Virginia.