The gunman who stormed into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Maryland in June 2018 and killed five employees was sentenced Tuesday to more than five life sentences without parole.
The five victims were Wendi Winters, an award-winning reporter who covered community news; Robert Hiaasen, an editor known for his humor; Gerald Fischman, an editorial writer; Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant; and John McNamara, a sports lover who worked at the newspaper for more than 20 years. They were all shot in what police described at the time as a "targeted attack."
Two other staffers were injured in the shooting.
The gunman, Jarrod Ramos, was found criminally responsible by a jury in July. He appeared to hold a yearslong vendetta against the newspaper after it published a column about him pleading guilty to harassing a former high school classmate in 2011.
On Tuesday, Anne Arundel County Judge Michael Wachs sentenced him to at least five life sentences without parole.
“To say that the defendant exhibited a callous and complete disregard for the sanctity of human life is simply a huge understatement," Wachs said during his sentencing.
The American Public Health Association says gun violence in the US is a public health crisis. It is the leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of Sept. 28, at least 33,142 people have died from gun violence this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
"It doesn’t bring my friends back to us or their families — nothing can — but I’m hoping once I process it, this will give me at least a sense of justice," tweeted Erin Hardy, an editor who had worked at the Capital before the shooting.
Andrea Chamblee, the wife of McNamara, read a victim impact statement during Tuesday's sentencing, which was republished by the Capital.
In it, she describes how white supremacists and gun rights supporters broke into her home and have threatened her life since her husband was killed.
She also writes about how she and her husband were counting down the days until they could retire and spend all their time together.
"John worked hard," Chamblee writes. "He saved his money. He cared for his family. He helped people learn about sports, about music, about kindness. The real victim impact is that he’s gone when he deserved to be here. He deserved to enjoy seeing his recognition, to enjoy this time in his life, and I was so hoping to see it and experience it with him, and pay him back for all the kindnesses that he gave to me. Now I never will."