Flags at Half-Staff for Newspaper Shooting Victims

Carol Geithner left and Yasemin Jamison gather for a candlelight vigil

Carol Geithner left and Yasemin Jamison gather for a candlelight vigil

President Trump has ordered US flags to be lowered to half-staff as "a mark of solemn respect" for the four journalists and a newspaper sales representative killed last week at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md.

The decision follows a request over the weekend by Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley (D), which he said was initially not granted.

The White House says Trump ordered the flags be lowered as soon as he learned of the Annapolis mayor's request.

"Our Nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland", Trump said in the proclamation. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders Tuesday said that the initial rejection of the request didn't come from the president himself.

Buckley said he was "obviously" disappointed about the White House's initial decision not to lower the flags.

The proclamation ordered the flag at half-staff at the White House and all other federal buildings and grounds until sunset Tuesday. "It's just as important as any other tragedy", said Buckley.

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"At this point in time, it would start to polarize people and I don't want to make people angry."

Neither Trump nor Sanders has commented on why the original request from Buckley was denied, but many critics on Twitter believe it's due to Trump's lack of respect toward the press.

"It's not as noticeable when a state flag is down but you still have your main flags at full mast", Buckley told the Baltimore Sun after the making the request, adding he thought the tragedy merited national attention.

"At this point in time, it would start to polarise people and I don't want to make people angry", Mr Buckley, 55, who moved to the USA in 1992 and has become a successful restaurant owner in Annapolis, said.

Ramos is charged in the killings of editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who led special publications; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a recently hired sales assistant.

The American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors issued a statement calling for the moment of silence, saying the shooting "tears at our hearts, tugs at our compassion and calls forth our fears for the safety of all those on the front lines of truth, accountability and journalistic pursuit".

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