Speed Reads

In Memoriam

Capital Gazette shooting victims remembered as dedicated journalists, mentors

The five Capital Gazette employees killed Thursday in a shooting inside their Annapolis, Maryland, newsroom have been identified as Robert Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, Rebecca Smith, and John McNamara.

Hiaasen, 59, was a father of three, who celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary last week. "He was a tall man, 6-foot-5, but he was a giant not just in stature but in character," his wife, Maria, told The Baltimore Sun. "He was just the best husband. He loves words, he loves humor. He loved journalism, he loved helping those young writers at the Gazette." Hiaasen joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor, and also wrote a Sunday column.

McNamara was a copy editor at the Capital Gazette before leaving the paper to become a sports writer at a rival publication. He returned to the Capital Gazette nearly 24 years ago, and in addition to writing about sports, enjoyed participating, playing basketball every Thursday at the Annapolis Recreation Center. Former editor Gerry Jackson told the Sun McNamara "could write. He could edit. He could design pages. He was just a jack of all trades and a fantastic person."

Fischman, 61, was remembered for his editorials and wearing a V-neck cardigan all year long. "He was the consummate newspaper professional," former features editor Kathy Flynn said. "He took ultimate care, he made sure that every sentence was exactly what he wanted to say."

Smith, 34, was a sales assistant at the newspaper, and known for being a "very kind person," her boss, Marty Padden, told the Sun. "She was very likable, and she had a good sense of humor." Smith was engaged to be married.

Winters, a 65-year-old mother of four, was a freelancer for a decade before becoming a full-time Capital Gazette writer in 2013. She described herself as a "proud Navy mom," a Red Cross volunteer, a church youth adviser, and a Girl Scout leader, who wrote about local news. "My mother was a wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter," daughter Winters Geimer said. "Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her and the world will not be the same without her."