(FOX 11) - “It was shocking and devastating and really hit home to be honest,” said Phil Willon.
LA Times reporter Phil Willon describes what it was like when he learned the newsroom where he first started his reporting career was now being reported on.
Willon said one of the first notifications he saw was from an intern tweeting for help.
“Some young kid - probably still in college, as the shooting was going on - begging for help, and it was my first job. I started working when I was 22 and I can't even imagine being in that situation - that's what hit me. It could have been me,” said Willon.
Willon says—as a journalist-- he's always had a fear of being a target – and thought he almost once was when he worked at the Times Riverside bureau
“He walked in the front door with an ax and everyone freaked out and we didn't know what was going on. He came into my office. It ended up not being a violent episode but it really scared me a lot,” said Willon.
Security expert Pat Conley says – regardless of the motive in Maryland-- ALL work place managers have a huge responsibility of balancing workplace environments with threat level.
“There's a whole level of things you can do obviously - it's layering your security to make your workplace safe. It's educating your staff to be aware. It's educating your staff to make them aware of red flags. It could be a domestic issues if you hear of staff talking about a boyfriend of husband causing issues be aware of that. Be aware of when you're terminating someone how they're going to handle that,” said Conley.
One Gazette reporter tweeted a gunman shot through a glass door and opened fire.
Conley says all workplaces need to be aware of high-risk environments.
“The evolution of security fights against what people want to maintain and you can have glass environment but to gain access to a work environment particularly higher risk environment then you need to have more security,” said Conley.
“What’s certain is the paper known for covering so much history has now secured its place in it....in a way no employee could have ever wanted.
“The fact that I worked at this place really brought that home this kind of violence touches all and when it's some place that you worked or where a relative worked, it really lays you flat,” said Willon.