A mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper raised questions about comments made in recent days threatening journalists. Anne Arundel County police were called to the newsroom of the Annapolis-based Capital Gazette, a more-than-a-century-old newspaper at 888 Bestgate Road. Authorities took Jarrod Ramos, 38 — the lone suspect — into custody for allegedly killing five people and wounding several others in a 28 June 2018 shooting spree. Capital crime reporter Phil Davis reported the gunman shot through the newspaper’s glass door and “opened fire on multiple employees Martin, Nick R. “Milo Yiannopoulos Reacts to Maryland Newspaper Killings: ‘I Wasn’t Serious’ About Hoping Journalists Would Be Shot.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 27 June 2018.
Susan Walsh, AP ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A gunman with a grudge against the Capital Gazette opened fire in the newsroom here on Thursday, killing five people in what police are calling a "targeted attack" on the newspaper.
Armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades, the shooter "was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm," William Krampf, acting police chief of Anne Arundel County, said at a news conference. Police had not named the suspect Thursday evening, but a law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to discuss the case publicly, identified the suspect as Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, Maryland. Court documents show Ramos filed a defamation suit against the newspaper in 2012, but a judge threw out the lawsuit, saying Ramos "fails to come close to alleging a case of defamation." A Maryland appeals court upheld the ruling.
Authorities surrounded an apartment complex connected to Ramos on Thursday evening in a small neighborhood in Laurel, Maryland. Police taped off the area near Ramos' small side street Thursday evening as helicopters flew overhead. Krampf acknowledged threats had been made as recently as Thursday to the newspaper via social media that "indicated violence," but it was not clear whether they came from the suspect.
Crime reporter Phil Davis, who took cover under a desk at the height of the melee, described the scene to The Baltimore Sun, which which owns the newspaper, as "like a war zone." The five victims, all employees of the newspaper, were assistant editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, special publications editor Wendi Winters, writer John McNamara, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.
Officers arrived on the scene within 60 seconds of initial report, Anne Arundel police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said. County Executive Steve Schuh said the suspect had put his weapon down and was hiding in the building under a desk when police found him. He described the suspect as "not being particularly forthcoming" with police. Some media reported the suspect was identified through facial recognition software and that he mutilated his fingers to obscure his identification.
Krampf said police had "no information about facial recognition or his fingerprints" and added that it was an ongoing investigation. Frashure denied reports the suspect altered his fingerprints. "We spoke with our detectives. They had no idea where that information came from. It's not true." Krampf added that the gunman used canisters of smoke grenades when he entered the building.
About 170 people were evacuated from the site. Two people suffered superficial wounds, police said. More: Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis: What we know now More: Accused Capital Gazette shooter had sued paper, held grudge More: Newsrooms across the country upping security after shooting at Capital Gazette Ramos pleaded guilty in July 2011 on a charge of criminal harassment and got a 90-day suspended jail sentence.
Five days later, the Capital ran a story by staff writer Eric Thomas Hartley under the headline "Jarrod wants to be your friend." The story described a harrowing situation of a woman who was continually harassed by Ramos after he contacted her on Facebook. A Maryland appeals court concluded that everything printed in the newspaper story about Ramos appeared to be true.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley was in a meeting when a receptionist came in and informed him about the shooting, he told USA TODAY. More than 100 emergency responders rushed to the scene in what he called "a very collective effort." "This thing for us is very personal because the journalists who work there, a lot of them are friends of ours.
It's a thankless job and they don’t make a lot of money. It's not like the publication is some right-wing or left-wing thing. It's a publication that reports good local news from stories on local sports teams to cats stuck up a tree," Buckley said. "I hope this is not an attack on journalism." Buckley also praised the professionalism of the police.
"They had to step over bodies to find the shooter," he added. The Capital Gazette's Davis described the horror in a series of tweets, saying that a gunman "shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees." "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," Davis tweeted.
The Sun subsequently interviewed Davis who described the scene. "I'm a police reporter. I write about this stuff – not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death all the time," Davis told The Sun. "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." The newspaper is in the middle of a busy stretch of Annapolis, where the Annapolis Plaza, the Westgate Annapolis mall and the Anne Arundel Medical Center meet.
Mary Feeley called it a "Sept. 11 feeling" when a person from a nearby store came into her bridal boutique and told her to lock her doors. Two doors down from the bridal store, Home Goods employees hardly noticed but were taken by the fatal attack just yards away. “Crazy usually escapes Annapolis,” said Dorothy Harbold Klipper, a Home Goods employee and a Capital Gazette subscriber since the 1960s.
Journalists across the country rushed to show their support, launching fundraisers and offering encouragement, and applauding when Capital Gazette reporters insisted on staying on the job despite the tragedy.
Chase Cook, a Capital Gazette reporter who wasn’t in the building when the shooting occurred, tweeted, "I can tell you this. We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow." Photojournalist Joshua McKerrow also struck a defiant note: "There will be a Capital Friday," he tweeted.
The Capital Gazette offices house two newspapers, one of which is the oldest in the country. The Maryland Gazette was founded by a British journalist in 1727. The Capital was founded in Annapolis in 1884 by a former judge of the Anne Arundel County orphans court.
The shooting also sent newsrooms around the country on high alert over security concerns. New York City police dispatched units to media outlets across the city to guard against potential copycat or coordinated attacks. New York Police Department spokesman Peter Donald said Thursday dozens of locations were getting extra cover.
Police in Chicago, Los Angeles and Nashville also took additional security precautions. Buckley, who took office just seven months ago, told USA TODAY this is the last thing he imagined he would have to confront as the mayor of a small town. "I can't imagine what the families are going through, he said.
"We feel for them. We grieve for them." Gov. Larry Hogan sent condolences via Twitter: "Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis." President Donald Trump did as well, tweeting his "thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families." Tom Marquardt, the former executive editor of The Capital, posted on Facebook that the shooting is "impossible to grasp." "I can't even fathom with any degree of understanding what happened at my old newspaper today," Marquardt said.
"The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it's through the barrel of a gun." He said occasional threats on newspapers are inevitable.
But the deadly consequences of Thursday's attack bring a new dimension to such risks. "Sure, I had death threats and the paper had bomb threats," Marquardt said. "But we shrugged them off as part of the business we were in. We prided ourselves in being an open newsroom, available to anyone to visit. What happened today could have happened in any newsroom. Now, I'm getting calls from reporters asking for background for obits of people who I hired and worked beside." Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Trevor Hughes, Caroline Simon, Mike James, Susan Miller, Joel Shannon and WUSA-TV, Washington.
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Police in Annapolis, Maryland were on the scene after reports of an active shooter inside a building that houses the Capital Gazette newspaper.
The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Annapolis newspaper, says a reporter told them of the shooting Thursday afternoon. On TV reports, people could be seen leaving the building with their hands up as police officers urged them to depart through a parking lot and officers converged on the building •
Binghui Huang, a former staff writer at the Capital Gazette, recalled on Friday how her former colleagues touched her life when she worked there. "I didn't sleep much last night, she told CNN. "I don't think my friends did either and we have been sharing memories of each one of them and sometimes they're memories make us laugh, I guess those are the good moments that we have." Huang remembered how nervous she was about telling victim Rob Hiaasen, an editor for the paper, that she was moving on from the newspaper.
"The paper meant a lot to me, it gave me a chance," she said. "When I told him, I started to cry a little bit. I felt so bad about leaving," she said. "And he looked at me and he said you know what, I don't think I want to see you here in another year or two because he knew that I was ready to leave, and he wanted me to achieve in my career whatever I can." She recalled Gerald Fischman's sharp eye for editing their "sometimes convoluted" stories.
"Gerald is kind of quiet, but he's so smart, he has such a sharp eye and at night his job was to clean up everyone's copy," she said. "We were a small paper, a lot of us were young. Stories were sometimes convoluted. He would try to make sense of it and crack jokes about how it made no sense. And coming from Gerald, this quiet, sweet dude was hilarious." Shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos was terminated for “security suitability concerns” in July 2014 by his previous employer, Enterprise Information Services, where he worked as a help desk specialist within the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC, according to court documents.
Ramos filed a lawsuit against his former employer, saying it still owed him money. As part of the suit, he included a letter he wrote to the company. “No misconduct was ever cited to me and I received no explanation beyond ‘suitability concern,’” according to the letter. Ramos said he had a conversation with his supervisor who told him “something has come to light,” but the supervisor did not explain what the issue was. Enterprise Information Services filed a response to Ramos’ complaint, saying the federal government demanded that Ramos be terminated “citing security suitability concerns resulting from an Investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General.” The company said it was “never informed of the exact nature of the investigation." Also in the court file was an email from a Bureau of Labor Statistics employee who, at the time of Ramos’ termination, informed her co-workers Ramos would not be allowed back on BLS premises “in order to mitigate potential security risk.” Ramos argued in court filings that Enterprise Information Services owed him $1,200 in unpaid wages plus interest and court costs.
A judge granted him the $1,200 but denied his motion for additional damages. Neither Enterprise Information Services nor the Bureau of Labor Statistics immediately responded to request for comment on the nature of Ramos’ termination. A fundraiser for the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting in Maryland had already on philanthropy-minded GoFundMe.com, and the donations keep pouring in. "Please give what you can to help the Capital Gazette newsroom and their journalists," the fundraising page reads.
"Our hearts break for our colleagues in Annapolis and we want to do whatever we possibly can to help them pay for medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs, and any other unforeseen expenses that might arise as a result of this terrible shooting." was started by Madi Alexander, a Washington, DC-based data journalist for Bloomberg Government.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne confirmed the page's authenticity and told CNN in an email, "we guarantee the funds will only be transferred to help those impacted by the shooting in the Gazette newsroom." Annapolis shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos Annapolis shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos Bill Hennessy A courtroom sketch artist captured the scene inside the Anne Arundel District Court in Maryland during suspected Capital Gazette shooter Jarrod Ramos' bail hearing.
Judge Thomas J. Pryal ordered Ramos to be held in detention without bond, and cited a likelihood that he was a danger to others and the community. Ramos stood silently through the 10-minute hearing.
He appeared via videoconference from a nearby Anne Arundel County detention center. President Trump, speaking at an event touting his tax cut plan, took a moment to at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. “This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.
To the families of the victims, there are no words to express our sorrow for your loss. Horrible, horrible event, horrible thing happened.” Trump said his administration would continue working to prevent violence, saying, "My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life." Watch more: Wes Adams, a prosecutor for Anne Arundel County, said the suspected Capital Gazette shooter executed a "coordinated attack" on the newsroom, which included barricading a back entrance so people inside the building could not escape.
"We brought to the judge’s attention the evidence that suggested a coordinated attack: The barricading of a back door and the use of a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent victims in this case," he told reporters at a press conference moments ago.
A judge ordered Ramos be held without bail. Suspected Capital Gazette shooter Jarrod Ramos will be held without bond, a judge has ruled. Ramos stood silently through a 10-minute hearing at the Anne Arundel District Court in Maryland Friday as the county’s top prosecutor revealed grizzly details of the shooting. Judge Thomas J. Pryal, who ordered Ramos to be held in detention without bond, cited a likelihood that he was a danger to others and the community.
Ramos, who had long dark hair and wore a dark shirt, appeared via videoconference from a nearby Anne Arundel County detention center.
Annapolis Shooting Suspect Had Prior Conflicts With Capital Gazette, Court Documents Show