Janel Cooley, an advertising representative for the Capital Gazette newspaper who was injured in last year's shooting at the newsroom, stands with others who survived the attack, including Phil Davis, far right, Rachael Pacella and Selene San Felice, left, during a memorial at a park in Annapolis, Md., on Friday, June 28, 2019. Credit: Brian Witte | AP

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Survivors and loved ones of those killed in the Capital Gazette shooting gathered Friday morning at a small waterfront park in Annapolis, Maryland, where one of the victims – assistant editor Rob Hiaasen – would often retreat to think.

Editor Rick Hutzell told the crowd who assembled on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that he hoped many would return to Acton’s Cove in the future, as well, “think about what these five lives meant” and remember their dedication to journalism.

“I’m far richer for having known them and far poorer for having lost them,” Hutzell said, his voice full of emotion, before heading back to his seat across from the small garden memorial, where five pink rose bushes were planted.

He shook hands with each of the reporters on his staff, many of whom survived the shooting or were outside the newsroom at the time and worked to put out the paper the next day. Rachael Pacella, who was in the room when the shooting occurred, wiped tears from her sunglassed-covered eyes during much of the speech. She gave Hutzell a high five.

The memorial dedication was part of a day of activities, including a moment of silence across newsroom around the country, to mark the deaths and remember the lives of the five victims: Hiaasen, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, sportswriter, reporter and editor John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, and reporter Wendi Winters.

They were killed in a targeted attack against the Capital Gazette, Annapolis’ daily newspaper, waged by a man armed with smoke grenades and a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. Policy say the accused killer, Jarrod Ramos, barricaded the rear exit to keep the 11 people in the newsroom from exiting. Ramos was acting out a grudge against the paper, according to police.

David Dreier, chairman of the board of Tribune Publishing, on Friday called the attack “the most brutal form of attempted censorship.”

The mass shooting – one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history -immediately became a symbol of threats against the First Amendment and the dedication of journalists around the world in an era when President Donald Trump and others have brandedthe media as the “enemy of the people.”

Reporters from media outlets across the country assembled on a grassy knoll across the street in the parking lot of the Annapolis Mall as they gathered details about the shooting. Among them were Capital Gazette reporters Pat Furgurson and Chase Cook and photographer Josh McKerrow, who along with other staffers produced stories online and a new print edition of the Gazette the next day.

“As we honor those we lost and all who have lost their lives in the pursuit of informing our citizens, we recognize the vital role that the freedom of the press has in our democracy and our duty to honor and protect this constitutional right,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in astatement declaring June 28 as “Freedom of the Press Day.”

The slain journalists and the staff of The Capital were among those named “Person of the Year” by Time magazine and the Pulitzer board awarded the newspaper with a special citation. Thousands donated money to help the victims’ families and to support journalism scholarships.

“Everyone just wanted to help in any way they could,” said Amy Francis, the director of development at the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, which is administering the funds. Contributions as small as a dollar and as large as $1 million poured in from around the world.

Gazette staffers are trying to move forward as best as they can.

Photographer Paul Gillespie, who dove under his desk when the gunfire began and ran out the door when the newsroom went silent, has been photographing other survivors and the families of the victims, partly to pay tribute and partly to help him work through his own post-traumatic stress.

On a GoFundMe page that has raised over $14,000, he describes the photographs – which he hopes to produce as an exhibit and possibly a book – as “something I could control in a life that feels out of control.”

Reporter Selene San Felice, who survived the shooting, has become a voice in the debate over gun violence, a topic she addressed at the dedication.

“This was preventable. The way that they died was preventable,” she said, moving to the microphone at close of the ceremony. “Gun violence is a disease that can be eradicated. And so when you come here I’d also invite you to think about any ways big or small that you can help prevent that so you don’t end up like us and like them.”