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In a show of defiance, survivors of the shotgun attack at Annapolis newspaper, The Capital, published an edition on Friday with photographs of each of the victims spread across the front page.

In one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history, a gunman with a shotgun blasted his way through a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon. Authorities have said the alleged killer was in custody on Friday pending charges.

According to police and an unnamed witness, the gunman entered the Capital Gazette newspaper group and opened fired through a glass door, looked for victims and then sprayed the newsroom with gunfire.

In a news conference, acting police chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, William Krampf, named journalists Rob Hiaasen, 59, Wendi Winters, 65, Gerald Fischman, 61, John McNamara, and sales assistant, Rebecca Smith, 34, as the deceased.

Although police have not released the name of the suspect in custody and tweeted that the suspect not been booked, both the Capital Gazette and the Baltimore Sun cited law enforcement in naming the suspect as Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, a city around 40 km west of Annapolis – part of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

According to news reports, Ramos has been uncooperative, even damaging his fingertips so police couldn't identify him. Authorities used facial recognition software to positively identify him.

According to a court filing, Ramos had brought a defamation lawsuit in 2012 against Eric Hartley, formerly a staff writer and columnist with Capital Gazette, and Thomas Marquardt, then its editor and publisher.

The filing contended that Ramos had harassed a woman on Facebook and that he had pleaded guilty to criminal harassment.

The court agreed that the contents of the article were accurate and based on public records, and in 2015, Maryland’s second-highest court upheld the ruling rejecting Ramos’s suit.

Ramos set up a Twitter account to defend himself, where he wrote biographical notes claiming that he was suing people in Anne Arundel County and “making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.”

Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter, told the Baltimore Sun he had been hiding under his desk along with other newspaper employees when the shooter stopped firing, the newsroom looked “like a war zone”.

Capital Gazette runs several newspapers out of its Annapolis office. They include one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, The Gazette, which traces its origins back to 1727.

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