Tags: Mass Shootings | newsroom shooting | rob hiaasen | capital gazette | journalism

Victim Rob Hiaasen Had Deep Florida Ties

Victim Rob Hiaasen Had Deep Florida Ties
(Jose Luis Magana/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 28 June 2018 10:20 PM

Rob Hiaasen, one of the five killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette in Maryland, was a writer, editor, and columnist with deep ties to South Florida.

"He had a zeal for writing and finding good stories," Jon Morgan, a former editor at The Baltimore Sun who worked with Hiaasen, told The Miami Herald. "On the darkest days of cutbacks and layoffs in journalism, Rob was an inspiration."

Hiaasen, 59, had been at the Gazette in Annapolis since 2010.

He grew up with his brother, Carl Hiaasen, an author and Herald columnist, in the Fort Lauderdale area and worked at The Palm Beach Post in the 1990s.

"He was a beautiful writer," Tom O'Hara, the Post's former managing editor, told the Herald. "People liked to talk to him.

"He was so nice and funny and smart and self-deprecating," O'Hara added. "I just loved editing his stories."

Anne Arundel County Acting Police Chief William Krampf said the gunman, described as a white male in his 30s who was a Maryland resident, opened fire in at the newspaper shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

Four staff journalists and one sales assistant employed at the Capital Gazette were killed and two others were injured in what Krampf described as a "targeted attack" before the man was arrested without gunfire.

"This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people," Krampf said. "His intent was to cause harm."

The rampage followed social media threats directed at the Gazette, authorities said.

The man entered the building and "looked for his victims," police said. He threw smoke grenades and fired a shotgun at his victims.

According to the Herald, Hiaasen was the Gazette's assistant managing editor and he wrote a weekly features column.

He joined the Post in the 1990s, later meeting his future wife, Maria, there before serving at The Baltimore Sun for 15 years.

Hiaasen also worked briefly as a substitute teacher between journalism jobs.

In 2004, he won a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and later taught journalism at the University of Maryland.

Nancy Ancrum, the head of the Herald's editorial board, likened the Maryland deaths to losing family members.

"We are devastated at the loss of Rob Hiaasen," she said. "Carl is family.

"And when family is in pain and grief, so are we.

"We also mourn the four other victims because journalists are family, too," Ancrum added. "We wish Carl and his loved ones a measure of peace in the face of such senselessness."

Hiaasen and his wife have three children.

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One of the five killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire at The Capital Gazette in Maryland, was Rob Hiaasen, a writer, editor, and columnist with deep ties to South Florida.
newsroom shooting, rob hiaasen, capital gazette, journalism
Thursday, 28 June 2018 10:20 PM
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