"I have heard that President Trump sent his prayers ... but we need more than prayers," said Selene San Felice, a writer at the Annapolis, Maryland, paper

By Adam Carlson
June 29, 2018 11:17 AM
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Speaking out hours after surviving a massacre in their newsroom that killed five people, two Maryland newspaper writers bemoaned what they described as America’s reflexive complacency in response to ongoing mass shootings.

“I have heard that President Trump sent his prayers — I’m not trying to make this political, right? — but we need more than prayers,” Selene San Felice told Anderson Cooper on CNN on Thursday night, some six hours after a gunman attacked the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

“I appreciate the prayers, I was praying the entire time I was under that desk,” she said. “I want your prayers, but I want something else. I need more than that.”

Alongside Felice on CNN, fellow Gazette writer Phil Davis sounded a similar note — frustration mixed with shock.

“If we’re in a position in our society where all we can offer each other is prayers, then where are we?” he said. “Where are we as a society where people die and that’s the end of that story?”

“This is going to be a story for how many days, less than a week?” Felice said, adding, “I just don’t know what I want right now, right, but I’m going to need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers, because our whole lives have been shattered.”

She continued, “So thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a f— about them if there’s nothing else.”

According to authorities, 38-year-old Jarrod Warren Ramos opened fire on the newspaper’s offices around 2:40 p.m., killing five and wounding two others. Ramos reportedly had a long-standing grudge against the Gazette, having once sued them for defamation. He was taken into custody at the scene and has since been charged with murder.

Police described his as a “targeted attack.”

“This person was prepared to shoot people,” said William Krampf, acting chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. “His intent was to cause harm.”

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Approximately an hour after the shooting began, President Donald Trump — who has made vitriolic denigrations of the press, including specific reporters, a key political tactic since before taking office — tweeted his condolences in general terms.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” he wrote, in part. “Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”

Trump’s press secretary later tweeted that “a violent attack on innocent journalists doing their job is an attack on every American.”

Shooting reported at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis - Maryland
The scene outside the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, after a mass shooting there on Thursday
| Credit: Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS/ABACA PRESS
At Least 5 Killed In Shooting At Annapolis Capital-Gazette Newspaper
Lynne Griffin pays her respects at a makeshift memorial near the Capital Gazette in Maryland, where five people were shot and killed by a gunman on Thursday
| Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty

Speaking to Cooper on Thursday, Felice recalled being in the offices when the shooting began. She said she watched colleague John McNamara be killed.

“It’s hard for me to think past the next 30 minutes right now, in my life,” Felice said. “Thirty minutes is a long time. … But I’m here and I’m talking to you and I know that a lot of people are listening.”

With a shaking voice, she told Cooper she had covered the massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando in 2016 and her experience there was a harrowing portent of what she experienced in her own workplace.

“I remember being so upset hearing about the [Pulse] victims who were texting their families,” she said, “and there I was, sitting under a desk, texting my parents, telling them that I loved them.”