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Family Members, Annapolis Residents Mark Fourth Anniversary Of Capital Gazette Shooting

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Four years have passed since Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara were killed during an attack on the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis.

A wreath was laid Tuesday in the middle of the Guardians of the First Amendment Memorial in Annapolis, and flowers were placed at each pillar representing the five Capital Gazette employees killed June 28, 2018.

"Every year does get a little easier," said Maria Hiaasen, Rob's widow.

June 28 also happens to be Maria Hiaasen's birthday.

"Now, this is what this is about. This is the tradition," she said. "And, there are tears, but there is also a batch of happy memories for this lovely spot."

This day, in 2018, a gunman forced his way into the newspaper's offices, opening fire and killing five staffers. It's the largest mass shooting of journalists in the nation's history.

The Guardians of the First Amendment Memorial was dedicated on this day last year. In September, the shooter was sentenced to multiple life sentences.

"The tragedy that happened in our town that we never thought could happen to us, but it can happen anywhere," said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley

Art honoring the five victims was unveiled at City Hall on Tuesday, as Annapolis continues to mark the dark day.

"This was one of his favorite areas, so they could not have picked a better spot as far as he's concerned," said Maria Hiaasen.

Four employees remain who were on staff in 2018, including three survivors of the attack, according to Jennifer Donatelli, the wife of Capital photojournalist Paul Gillespie.

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