Suspect in Maryland newspaper to appear on 5 murder charges

Jarrod Warren Ramos | Photo: MGN Online

A man with a long grudge against Maryland's capital newspaper was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree murder after police said he shot his way into the newsroom, killing four journalists and a staffer and wounding two others.

Posted: Jun 29, 2018 10:07 AM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A man with a long grudge against Maryland's capital newspaper was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree murder after police said he shot his way into the newsroom, killing four journalists and a staffer and wounding two others.

Jarrod Warren Ramos was swiftly arrested, interrogated and jailed pending a 10:30 a.m. hearing in Annapolis. A court document classified him as "recalcitrant." Investigators said he was uncooperative. A spokeswoman for the public defender's office said she had no comment.

Acting Police Chief William Krampf of Anne Arundel County said the gunman "looked for his victims" Thursday in the newsroom of The Capital Gazette in Annapolis. "This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people," Krampf said.

Ramos, 38, has a well-documented history of harassing the paper's journalists. He filed a defamation suit in 2012 that was thrown out as groundless and often railed against them in profanity-laced tweets.

Police say surveillance video recorded the attack, which began with a shotgun blast that shattered the glass entrance of the open newsroom. Journalists crawled under desks and sought other hiding places, describing agonizing minutes of terror as they heard his footsteps and the repeated blasts of the weapon.

Officers responded in about 60 seconds and arrested him without firing a shot as he too "attempted to conceal himself under a desk," according to his charging documents. They recovered a "long gun firearm" and said he also carried smoke grenades.

Ramos so routinely sent profanity-laced tweets about the paper and its writers that retired publisher Tom Marquardt said he called police in 2013, telling his wife at the time that "this guy could really hurt us."

In 2015, Ramos tweeted that he'd like to see the paper stop publishing, but "it would be nicer" to see two of its journalists "cease breathing."

Investigators were reviewing his postings and searching his apartment in Laurel, Maryland, for evidence on what prompted him to escalate from words into deadly action.

"The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don't have any information yet on motive," Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said.

Those killed included Rob Hiaasen, 59, the paper's assistant managing editor and brother of novelist Carl Hiaasen. Carl Hiaasen said he was "devastated and heartsick" at losing his brother, "one of the most gentle and funny people I've ever known." Also slain were Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor; features reporter Wendi Winters; reporter John McNamara, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith. The newspaper said two other employees were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

"There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," tweeted Phil Davis, the paper's courts and crime reporter. In a later interview appearing on the paper's online site, Davis likened the newspaper office to a "war zone."

"I'm a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time," he said. "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."

Reporter Selene San Felice told CNN she was at her desk but ran after hearing shots, only to find a back door locked. She then watched as a colleague was shot, adding she didn't glimpse the gunman.

"I was breathing really loud and was trying not to, but I couldn't be quiet," she said. "I'm going to need more than 'thoughts and prayers.'"

The reporter recalled a June 2016 mass shooting attack on Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse and how terrified people crouching inside had texted loved ones as dozens were killed. Said San Felice, "And there I was sitting under a desk, texting my parents and telling them I loved them."

Police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said officers arrived very swiftly, and later evacuated about 170 people from the office building, many leaving with their hands up as police and other emergency vehicles arrived.

The attack came amid months of verbal and online attacks on the "fake news media" from politicians and others from President Donald Trump on down. It prompted New York City police to immediately tighten security at news organizations in the nation's media capital.

At the White House, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: "There is no room for violence, and we stick by that. Violence is never tolerated in any form, no matter whom it is against."

The president tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders."

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders added in a tweet: "Strongly condemn the evil act of senseless violence in Annapolis, MD. A violent attack on innocent journalists doing their job is an attack on every American. Our prayers are with the victims and their friends and families."

The city of Annapolis announced a vigil for the victims Friday night at a public square near the Capitol, followed by a march to a dock for a service by the water. The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland announced that the city's houses of worship also planned a prayer vigil at 7 p.m. Friday at a mall across the street from the shooting site.

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the community is grieving.

"These are the guys that come to city council meetings, have to listen to boring politicians and sit there," Buckley said. "They don't make a lot of money. It's just immoral that their lives should be in danger."

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, owned by The Baltimore Sun. The Associated Press Media Editors promised to help its journalists as they recover. An APME statement called on newspapers nationwide to help the paper continue its community coverage and fight for freedom of the press.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 69°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: °
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 68°
A strong incoming front ensures that Monday starts off wet & stormy. In the wake of this cold front, a sizable drop in temperatures will follow during the day.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather