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Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen Reacts To Newspaper Shooting

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And we're going to hear next from Senator Chris Van Hollen. He is a Democrat from Maryland. And he is on the line with us now from Washington. Hi, Senator.

CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Hey.

KELLY: My condolence on what's under way in Annapolis this afternoon. Let me start by asking how and when did you find out about the shooting?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I found out about this awful situation really the same time the world did, when it started being covered. That was the first I heard about it and immediately got on the phone with the local law enforcement and public safety officials to try to get up-to-date information. You've been reporting on a lot of that information.

I just spoke just a few minutes ago with the head of the Office of Emergency Management for the city of Annapolis who also went over some of the reporting you've already confirmed - five people dead, others evacuated to different hospitals, including a shock trauma hospital, which is in Baltimore City and which is a hospital where very severely injured people are taken. They're working now of course to identify those who died so that they can first inform family and loved ones about the terrible, tragic circumstances.

KELLY: And I will stress, as I always do in these situations, it's a developing story. There are many facts we don't know. We don't want to speculate. I'm curious whether you have gotten any briefing or information from authorities that may shed light on what the motive may have been here, who this shooter is.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I asked about that, and the information I got back was that they do not yet know. I was told that the shooter has not been talking to authorities. Again, I can't confirm that, but that does come from the Office of Emergency Management folks in Annapolis. And no information yet as to motive. I asked whether we'd begun a search of, you know, social media that the shooter might have been on. So as of right now, we do not know the motives.

KELLY: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: You were talking earlier about this, you know, Capital Gazette newspaper. It is a really great local community newspaper.

KELLY: You must know the staff there well.

VAN HOLLEN: I know some of the reporters, including Phil Davis, who was the crime reporter who really provided a lot of the initial information we all got through his tweets.

KELLY: Tweeting out from the newsroom as this was underway.

VAN HOLLEN: Exactly. So he is obviously on the front lines not just reporting in general but today. It's a local newspaper. It's sort of open-bullpen atmosphere. I've been out there before. And just really a local treasure in terms of providing information that, you know, everyone in the community wants to know about.

KELLY: Senator, thanks so much.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

KELLY: Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.