Jewish journalist Gerald Fischman is among five Capital Gazette staff killed in shooting

Editorial writer is described as 'the conscience and voice' of the Maryland newspaper


A Jewish journalist was one of five people killed in an attack on the office of a newspaper in the US, police have confirmed.

Staff at Capital Gazette said an attacker, armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades, shot through a glass door into the Annapolis, Maryland newsroom on Thursday afternoon.

Among the dead was editorial writer Gerald Fischman, 61, whom the Capital Gazette described as the paper's “conscience and voice”.

Long-time editor and publisher Tom Marquardt said: “He had ability that, I thought, deserved a higher calling than the Capital. He was a great writer. He was a really smart guy.”

He was also described as having a “brilliant mind, wry wit and wicked pen”.

He graduated from the University of Maryland’s journalism school in 1979, and was regularly honoured with regional writing awards.

Mr Fischman, who worked on the paper since 1992, was known for his annual editorial on Christmas, despite the fact that he was Jewish.

The newsaper also said that he married late in life, to a Mongolian opera singer he had met online.

At an awards event shortly after he wed, he was asked him how he met his wife.

“I typed ‘Mongolian opera singer’ into a dating site,” he replied.

Brian Henley, a retired editor, said Mr Fischman had “an encyclopedia knowledge of everything from the philosophy to who knows what".

Local political figures also paid tribute to the journalist, with Annapolis house speaker saying: “He was extraordinarily knowledgeable about the political dynamics of the community.

"He was a bit of a loner, but was very, very intelligent. He was a respected writer and captured, for the most part, the feelings within the community.”

The other victims were editor Rob Hiassen, 59, reporter Wendi Winters, 65, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34, and John McNamara, 56, a reporter and editor.

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