A lone gunman opened fire at the offices of the Capital Gazette Newspaper on Thursday afternoon, killing at least five people including one of the paper’s editors, and injuring more. Though law enforcement dubbed the incident an “active shooter” situation for much of the afternoon, they did apprehend the suspect inside the building. He has been identified as Jarrod W. Ramos.
According to reports from journalists who were inside the building at the time of the shooting, the gunman shot through the glass door of the office with a shotgun and fired at multiple employees. Others quickly took cover under their desks until police arrived.
Evidence including homemade “smoke grenades” brought into the building by Ramos, various social media threats that were made to the newspaper leading up to the shooting and on the day of, as well as an anonymous report from a law enforcement enforcer stating that Ramos had mutilated his fingers in order to alter his fingerprints, indicate that the shooting was planned.
The 38-year-old suspect committed what is being considered a “targeted attack.” In 2012 Ramos sued the newspaper for defamation after a journalist covered a criminal harassment case against him. However, the defamation case was dismissed in 2015. It appears that Ramos had even dedicated his Twitter account to bringing down the newspaper and discrediting the journalist involved in the 2012 defamation suit.
The July 2011 article that was published on Ramos was titled “Jarrod Wants to Be Your Friend.” It claimed that Ramos had sent a friend request to an old high school classmate and started harassing her for months and “alternatively asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself.” This went on for a year and he wound up pleading guilty in July 2011 to harassment and was then sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation. He was also ordered to attend counseling but Ramos was really angry about the way he was portrayed in the piece and had wanted revenge against the paper for a while.
“Jarrod Ramos has a long history of being angry and taking action against The Capital newspaper,” Tom Marquardt, a former executive editor and publisher at The Capital told the New York Times. “I said at one time to my attorney that this was a guy that was going to come and shoot us. I was concerned on my behalf and on behalf of my staff that he was going to take more than legal action.”
“This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm,” said Anne Arundel County deputy police chief Bill Krampf in a press conference on Thursday.
Journalists and other employees of the Capital Gazette were outspoken on social media as well as to news sources during and after the incident. Many expressing the traumatic, devastating nature of the shooting, but insisting that the newspaper and its employees would continue on with their work.
Devastated & heartbroken. Numb. Please stop asking for information/interviews. I’m in no position to speak, just know @capgaznews reporters & editors give all they have every day. There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays – just a passion for telling stories from our communty.
— Jimmy DeButts (@jd3217) June 28, 2018
The five journalist that were shot were identified as Gerald Fischman, 61, who worked as the newsroom’s editorial page editor; Rob Hiaasen, 59, the editor and features columnist; John McNamara, 56, was a sports reporter and also one of the editors for the local weekly papers; Wendi Winters, 65, was a community columnist and local news reporter, and Rebecca Smith, a recent Capital Gazette hire and sales assistant.
— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
Law enforcement officials maintain that the investigation is ongoing and that it will take some time. Politicians including President Trump and Paul Ryan have expressed their condolences to the families and friends of the victims of what marks the 154th mass shooting in the United States so far in 2018.
Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2018
The senseless attack on a Maryland newspaper today is sickening. God bless these journalists. We pray for them and their families tonight.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 28, 2018