Identities of newsroom shooting victims released

Rob Hiaasen, who is the brother of novelist Carl Hiaasen, was among five dead in the newsroom shooting at The Capital Gazette in Maryland on Thursday.

Rob Hiaasen was a columnist and assistant editor at the Gazette and previously worked at The Palm Beach Post. He was 59 years old.

“There was no finer human being, there just wasn’t,” Rob Hiaasen’s widow, Maria, told South Florida’s Sun Sentinel.

“And certainly no finer father, and he was a damn fine journalist too.”

Carl Hiaasen said on his Facebook page he is “devastated and heartsick” to confirm the loss of his brother in the shooting at The Capital Gazette.

He recalls his brother as “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known” who had a “gifted career as a journalist.”

The other deaths were confirmed as John McNamara, staff writer; Wendi Winters, editor; Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant; and Gerald Fischman, an editor.

A shooter, identified as Jarrod Ramos, opened fire with a shotgun inside the newsroom killing Hiaasen and four others, authorities said.

Fischman, 61, worked at the paper since 1992 and was known for his “quirky, low-key demeanor.”

“He was a great writer. He was a really smart guy, so smart that he tried out for Jeopardy twice,” the paper’s editor and publisher, Tom Marquardt, told The Baltimore Sun.

“But he couldn’t get accepted because they didn’t like his personality. That was Gerald’s spin, anyway.”

Winters covered all local news at the Capital Gazette and was described by her daughter as a “wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter.”

McNamara had been a copy editor at the paper before taking on sports reporting.

Smith, a sales assistant, was a recent hire and described herself on Facebook as a survivor of endometriosis.

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