Australian mayor of Annapolis horrified by massacre at US newspaper

“We are a small community,” Buckley told CNN on Thursday.

“The city of Annapolis is a city of about 38,000 and everybody knows each other in this town.

“They even let Australians be mayor here.”

Buckley, 55, born in South Africa and raised in Perth and who still sports a thick Australian accent, was elected mayor of Annapolis last year.

The historic city is the capital of the US east coast state of Maryland.

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Buckley, after leaving Australia as a 20-year-old on a global backpacking trip, landed in the US in 1992.

He became a central figure in the Annapolis community and owns multiple restaurants in the city.

Political rivals unsuccessfully attempted to derail his campaign for mayor by playing up his Australian background, including releasing a flyer with a photo of Crocodile Dundee and alleging Buckley had “kangaroos loose in the top paddock”.

Thursday’s attack on the Gazette has rocked the city.

“It is a village and we are devastated and we are especially devastated because we know the journalists,” Buckley said.

“The journalists who sit through council meetings, report on us, report on our kids’ sports teams, cats up in trees, all of that local journalism that is really important.”

Police are investigating reports the shooter had an acrimonious history with the newspaper and made threats over social media on Thursday.

Buckley said a reporter in the newsroom tried to alert local police about the shooting by sending a text or message via Twitter.

What greeted the police, who arrived within 60 to 90 seconds of the emergency call, was a horror scene.

“They stepped over bodies, they went to the source of the violence and I think he heard them coming and he threw down his weapon,” Buckley said.

Buckley confirmed the shooter was found cowering under a desk.

“That is exactly what I heard as well,” he said.

The Gazette, one of the oldest newspapers in the US, is owned by The Baltimore Sun and staff were determined to publish Friday’s edition.

The Gazette’s crime reporter, Phil Davis, hid with other reporters under desks when the gunman began shooting.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees,” Davis wrote on Twitter.

AAP

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