Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor newsroom shooting victims

President Trump ordered US flags flown at half-staff Tuesday in honor of five journalists killed in Annapolis, Maryland, after the town's mayor said the president initially declined his request.

The alleged Capital Gazette killer, Jarrod Ramos, sent letters ahead of the shooting, including one to the newspaper's former attorney threatening to head to the newsroom "with the objective of killing every person present".

The Mayor of Annapolis says he is upset that his request was turned down by the President.

"This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette", stated Anne Arundel County Police Chief Bill Krampf.

That document reportedly appeared like a court filing styled as a "Motion for Reconsideration" relating to Ramos' failed attempt to sue the Capital for defamation after it accurately reported his harassment case in 2011.

"As soon as the president directly heard about the request made by the mayor, he asked that we reach out and verify that their mayor had made the request", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, according to ABC News.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said it's in accordance with a presidential proclamation that was also issued on Tuesday.

Buckley had said Monday that the White House had declined the initial request the mayor submitted through Maryland's congressional delegation. Jarrod W. Ramos faces five counts of first-degree murder in their deaths. The letter was dated 28 June - the day of the deadly attack.

The letters were sent to the Baltimore City courthouse, the Maryland court of special appeals and to a law firm, Davis said.

Sanders, for her part, said Tuesday that "we have a great deal of respect for the press". "Is there a cutoff for tragedy?" the paper reported Buckley saying. Meanwhile, people began returning to work Monday at the Annapolis building that includes the Capital Gazette's offices.

Trump had ordered flags lowered for recent mass-shootings at Florida and Texas high schools and Buckley said the newspaper massacre "was an attack on freedom of speech".

Attendees at the "celebration of life" on Monday said they would remember Hiaasen for how he lived, rather than the way he died senselessly at the hands of a gunman. They sought solace with laughter and amusing memories, but sobs occasionally punctuated the ceremony. He says she called him at 7:16 a.m. Tuesday to say the request had been granted.

"At this point in time, it would start to polarize people and I don't want to make people angry", he said.

  • Rogelio Becker