ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland will go down as one of the worst days in the history of Anne Arundel County, and it is a day Paul Gillespie will never forget.
Gillespie is a was in the newsroom that day.
"I'm gonna die right here. He's coming through here and shooting people right next to me. I mean three people got shot within 10 feet of me."
Those were thoughts going through the head of Gillespie the day of the shooting, a veteran of 18 years shooting news for the Capital Gazette. As he took cover under his desk, Gillespie had a conversation with himself none of us ever want to have.
"I can't believe this guy is going to come around and shoot me and I'm gonna die and my wife is going to be left alone," he said. "You know, is she going to be able to take care of herself. I'm sure she would be but, you know."
As he heard a break in the shooting, Gillespie made a run for it. He made it out safe and the police found the accused killer under the same desk he just ran from. As we talked to him he was wearing the same cross he wore that dreadful day, a cross his father gave him.
"I'm the surviving member or my family," the photographer said. "My brother, my dad and a lot of other people have passed away before me and I like to think that they were all their watching over me and getting me out of this jam."
As his family watches over Gillespie, the community has an eye on all the Capital Gazette workers. There have been fundraisers, the Stanley Cup from the recent victorious Washington Capitals made a visit, and on Thursday the town had a tribute.
Gillespie has covered literally a hundred parades in his career and on July 4 he, with his co-workers, were featured in the Fourth of July parade.
"It was like a rolling standing ovation going down West Street and Main Street," he said. "The people as we just passed were standing up and applauding and I've never seen that before. I've never seen that before in all the parades I've covered."
All this outpouring of support won't erase the dark memories Gillespie has from that day but, it certainly does help.
"It helps to fill that little bit of that huge hole left in our hearts from losing our family members...our Capital Gazette family members," he said.
Gillespie is forever grateful for the support and after witnessing such evil. He is encouraged by the show of love.
"Too bad it has to be for a tragedy like this," Gillespie said. "Why can't we, you know, be nicer to each other and help people when they need help?"