Just hours after they survived the deadly mass shooting in their newsroom, Capital Gazette staff writers Phil Davis and Selene San Felice joined Anderson Cooper by phone on CNN Thursday night to talk about what happened. And they made it clear that thoughts and prayers from the president are not enough.
Davis, who has reported on shootings like this one before and was one of the first reporters to tweet details about the incident, retold his story in excruciating detail for CNN, including the moment he heard the gunman reload while he was hiding under his desk. Ill tell you when it first started to happen, I mean, you just immediately go into panic mode, he added. He remembered thinking, Are we all going to die? and Is he not going to leave until everyone in here is dead?
I have to say that what happened here was very calculated, San Felice added later, indicating that the shooter may have been targeting editors specifically. When Cooper asked her how shes holding up, she answered, I mean, I watched someone die, so not super great.
I could be definitely, obviously, doing worse, but its hard for me to think past the next 30 minutes right now in my life. Thirty minutes is a long time, and I justthe answer is not good, right? she continued. But Im here and Im talking to you. And I know that a lot of people are listening. I have heard that President Trump sent his prayers. Im not trying to make this political, all right? But we need more than prayers. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers, but I want something else.
President Trump sent his thoughts and prayers via Twitter on Thursday afternoon before departing on Air Force One for Wisconsin.
Maybe people that dont know what its like and certainly I would never hope anyone to go through a situation like we just went through, it makes you feel powerless. It makes you feel helpless, Davis said. It removes all control from every facet of your life within only a few seconds once you understand whats happening.
Going back to San Felices point about thoughts and prayers, he added, I was praying when he started reloading that shotgun that there werent going to be more bodies. And you know what? If were at a position in our society where all we offer each other is prayers, then where are we? Where are we as a society where people die and thats the end of that story.
This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week? San Felice asked.
Recalling her experience reporting on the Pulse nightclub shooting, she said: Im going to need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers, because its our whole lives have been shattered. And so thanks for your prayers, but I couldnt give a fuck about them if theres nothing else.