The gunman who shot up an Annapolis, Maryland, newsroom and killed five people had a years-long vendetta against the newspaper and intended to hurt employees in a targeted attack for exposing him as a Facebook stalker, reports the Daily Mail.
Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, stormed into Maryland’s Capital Gazette newsroom and carried out a calculated killing on Thursday, armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades. Within 60 seconds, he attacked and targeted the journalists he blamed for exposing his harassment against a woman.
More than 160 people were trapped inside the Gazette building as gunshots erupted and terror and anguish consumed people as they cried out for help and tried desperately to escape. Journalist crawled helplessly under their desks, trying to shield themselves.
Ramos shot through a glass door and opened fire, walking steadily and with intent as he gunned down reporters and editors.
“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,’ tweeted court reporter Phil Davis.
“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad.
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
The five victims were named by police as Wendi Winters, 65, Rebecca Smith, 34, Robert Hiaasen, 59, Gerald Fischman, 61, and John McNamara, 56. According to reports, Winters was the special publications editor, McNamara was a writer, Fischman was editorial page editor, Smith was a sales assistant and Hiaasen was an assistant editor and columnist.
Ramos was still in the building hiding underneath a desk following the aftermath of the newsroom shooting and refused to tell police his identity. Authorities used facial recognition to identify him.
Lawsuit and Threats
Ramos took out his bitter assault against the newspaper and its employees after he unsuccessful tried to sue the paper and reporters for defamation in 2013. The paper published a story called “Jarrod wants to be your friend” about how Ramos harassed a former high school classmate for months. He reportedly sent the woman threatening and vulgar emails and ordered her to kill herself.
The woman told WBAL TV that Ramos was a “f***ing nut job” and said she warned years ago that he would “be the next young mass shooter.”
Ramos’ defamation case was thrown out in 2015.
He took his anger out several employees include Rob Hiaasen who was killed in the attack. He harassed Hiaasen on Twitter in dozens of hateful, angry tweets. In one tweet Ramos said he’d “enjoy” seeing the paper stop publishing, but it would be “nicer” to see two journalists stop breathing.
Ramos even referenced the 2015 Charlie Hebdo newsroom shooting in Paris.
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” said Tom Marquardt, retired publisher and top editor at the paper.
“I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’”
Marquardt said he considered filing a restraining order against him in 2013.
In a press conference on Thursday, the acting police chief said about Ramos:
“’This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”
Ramos has been charged with five counts of firs-degree murder.
This is still a developing story.