Rob Hiaasen. Wendi Winters. Gerald Fischman. Rebecca Smith. John McNamara.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it, but it’s been five years.

Five years since a man armed with a shotgun, harboring a grudge against the Capital Gazette shot his way into their newsroom in Annapolis. He killed five people that day: Rob Hiaasen. Wendi Winters. Gerald Fischman. Rebecca Smith. John McNamara.

A woman in the audience grips a newspaper clipping with the names and faces of the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting during a ceremony memorializing them on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

But this isn’t about the shooter, and it never was. That man will endure what’s left of his life in prison while the families, friends, co-workers and loved ones of those taken away that day continue to be there to support each other.

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Today, Annapolis leaders held a ceremony at the Guardians of the First Amendment memorial, which was established June 2021. City and statewide leadership was in attendance, as were many of the family members and friends of the victims.

Maria Hiaasen, Rob’s widow, and Andrea Chamblee, John’s widow, both spoke during the ceremony, to thank the community for continuing to remember and honor our departed friends, and to advocate against gun violence.

Andrea Chamblee, left, the widow of reporter John McNamara, and Maria Hiaasen, widow of editor Rob Hiaasen, sit together at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

At 2:33 p.m. Wednesday — the time that the attack started back in 2018 — The Baltimore Banner newsroom observed a moment of silence. Others who knew the victims — including those who have since moved away from the region — and those who didn’t were invited to participate as well.

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“You cannot silence a free press. We survived. We endure.”

Banner columnist Rick Hutzell, the former editor of The Capital, wrote these words just a few days ago as he reflected on the various changes our community has gone through over the last five years. And he’s right. Time passes, and you don’t ever really move on, but you do have to move forward.

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Former Capital editor, and current Baltimore Banner columnist, Rick Hutzell, center, listens to a musical performance during a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Back in 2019, then Gov. Larry Hogan declared June 28 to be Freedom of the Press Day in Maryland. So here’s what I’m gonna do.

Today, I’ll celebrate the pen, and the resilience it summons whenever the sword shows up. I’ll celebrate the camera, and the thousand words we try to produce with every frame. And I’ll remember our absent friends, whom I miss very much.

Rob Hiaasen. Wendi Winters. Gerald Fischman. Rebecca Smith. John McNamara.

Ulysses Muñoz is a Baltimore Banner photojournalist and worked at The Capital from 2015 to 2017.

More from today:

A woman in the audience wears a photo pinned to her shirt of Wendi Winters, one of the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting victims, during a ceremony memorializing her and the other victims on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Wreaths at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
To the right, former Capital Gazette staffers watch as the audience reacts to Andrea Chamblee, widow of reporter John McNamara, speaking at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole.
To the right, former Capital Gazette staffers watch as the audience reacts to Andrea Chamblee, widow of reporter John McNamara, speaking at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Gov. Wes Moore, right, his Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and wife, Dawn Flythe Moore, place a wreath during a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Alex Mann, a current Baltimore Sun reporter and former Capital staffer, displays his Capital hat following a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Gator, a therapy dog, poses for a portrait by the Guardians of the First Amendment memorial following a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Andrea Chamblee, the widow of reporter John McNamara, wears a number of bracelets supporting The Capital and anti-gun violence groups at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
From left: former Capital staffers E.B. “Pat” Furgurson, Rachael Pacella, and current staff photographer Paul Gillespie watch as the audience reacts to Andrea Chamblee, widow of reporter John McNamara, speaking at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole.
From left: Former Capital staffers E.B. “Pat” Furgurson, Rachael Pacella, and current staff photographer Paul Gillespie watch as the audience reacts to Andrea Chamblee, widow of reporter John McNamara, speaking at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)
Five wreaths at a ceremony memorializing the victims in the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 in downtown Annapolis. On this day five years ago, a gunman with a grudge against the Annapolis newspaper blasted his way into their newsroom, killing five staffers inside. He is serving numerous life sentences with no chance of parole. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Ulysses Muñoz is a photojournalist at the Baltimore Banner, sharing Charm City's stories through his camera. He previously spent 7 years as a visual storyteller, first at The Capital Gazette and later at the Baltimore Sun. Born and raised in Columbia, MD, he's a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. 

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