Shooting suspect charged with five counts of murder
by Daniel James Devine, Onize Ohikere & Lynde Langdon
Posted 6/29/18, 12:48 pm
UPDATE: Authorities charged suspected shooter Jarrod W. Ramos with five counts of first-degree murder in Thursday’s gun rampage at a Maryland newspaper office. Prosecutor Wes Adams said the attacker barricaded an exit in the newspaper office so victims couldn’t escape. Ramos allegedly used a pump-action shotgun that was purchased legally about a year ago. Police said Ramos, who appeared in court Friday via video and was denied bail, was “uncooperative” with interrogators, and court papers filed by authorities described him as “recalcitrant.”
President Donald Trump reacted to the attack, saying, “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.”
More details have also emerged about Ramos’ longstanding feud with the Capital Gazette, which stemmed from a 2011 story about his conviction in a criminal harassment case. The newspaper reported that Ramos tried to contact a high school classmate and told her she was the only person who was nice to him in school, The Baltimore Sun reported. The paper said the experience turned into a “yearlong nightmare” that ended with Ramos pleading guilty to misdemeanor harassment.
UPDATE (10:39 a.m.): The attacker who killed five people in a shooting at a Maryland newspaper office Thursday had a long-running dispute with the paper, according to police and staff members. Authorities identified 38-year-old Jarrod W. Ramos as the suspect in the shooting inside the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis. Acting Police Chief William Krampf of Anne Arundel County said the shooter targeted particular individuals. “This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people,” Krampf said. In 2012, Ramos sued the paper, accusing it of defaming him in a story about his convictions in a criminal harassment case. He used his Twitter account to post regular tweets harassing the paper’s journalists. In one tweet, Ramos said he would enjoy seeing the paper stop publication, but it would be nicer to see two journalists “cease breathing.” One of the journalists he harassed online was Rob Hiaasen, an assistant managing editor who was among the dead. The other victims were editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, reporter John McNamara, features reporter Wendi Winters, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.
OUR EARLIER REPORT (6/28/18, 5:22 p.m.): A person fired a gun inside the offices of a Maryland newspaper Thursday afternoon, killing five persons and injuring others, according to authorities. Police said they had taken a suspect into custody. The shooting occurred at the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper in Annapolis. A crime reporter at the paper, Phil Davis, described himself and others as huddled under desks during the attack, and tweeted that the shooter had fired through the office’s glass doors. “I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff—not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death—all the time,” he said in an interview posted on the Capital Gazette website. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.