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Friday Marks 1 Year Since The Capital Gazette Shooting. A Memorial To The Lives Lost Is In The Works

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Friday marked one year since the shooting in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, that claimed five lives on June 28, 2018.

Two memorials are in their beginning stages: one that could be built in Annapolis and one that could be built on or near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., wrote the Capital Gazette Editorial Board on Thursday.

The memorials would honor victims Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Rob Hiaasen and John McNamara. They were killed when Jarrod Ramos opened fire after unsuccessfully suing the paper for defamation. (RELATED: Why Is This Lone GOP Rep Supporting A Democratic Drug Price Bill?)

The Capital Gazette’s community is working to commemorate the five lives lost. Four members of Congress introduced a bill to create The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation on Tuesday. Two Democrats, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Grace Napolitano of California, and two Republicans, Rob Portman of Ohio and Tom Cole of Oklahoma, are behind the legislation.

Lynne Griffin pays her respects at a makeshift memorial near the Capital Gazette where 5 people were shot and killed by a gunman on Thursday, on June 29, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Lynne Griffin pays her respects at a makeshift memorial near the Capital Gazette where 5 people were shot and killed by a gunman. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The Capital Gazette of June 29, 2018, is seen in a newspaper vending box in Annapolis, Maryland. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Capital Gazette of June 29, 2018, is seen in a newspaper vending box in Annapolis, Maryland. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Foundation would authorize a memorial inspired by the Capital Gazette tragedy. Former Republican California congressman and Tribune Publishing Chairman David Dreier is also behind the push (Tribune is the Capital Gazette’s parent company).

“It will not be an easy task. Federal legislation has to be passed before work on the memorial can begin. Once that happens it could take seven years to fund, plan and build the memorial. It also will take millions of dollars of private funding. No taxpayer money will be used in the project,” the paper’s editorial board wrote Thursday.

Anne Arundel County and Annapolis are also pursuing a Press Freedom Memorial at Newman Park near City Dock.

“Two memorials are now planned to honor journalists who died in the pursuit of their profession, the pursuit of truth. Both are noble ideas that deserve public support,” the Capital Gazette Editorial Board wrote. “Journalism and the Freedom of the Press that make it possible are vital to our national character. It is vital to the success of our community and our democracy.”

Ramos, who is in his late 30s, will have a two-phase trial, according to Judge Laura Ripken’s orders Tuesday. The first phase will determine his guilt or innocence, and the second, his mental state as pertains to his criminal responsibility, reported The Associated Press.

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