Police said a 38-year-old man has been identified as the suspected gunman who opened fire at the Capital Gazette Newspaper office in Maryland Thursday (Jun. 28), killing at least five people and injuring several others in a “targeted attack” on the news organization.
The suspected gunman, identified by NBC News as Jarrod Ramos, is in police custody, but has not yet been charged. Police were executing search warrants at his home in Laurel, Maryland.
According to NBC News, Ramos had a history with the paper, and had previously filed a defamation lawsuit against it in 2012. The suit was dismissed the following year and was upheld in 2015 by a Maryland appellate court.
Acting Anne Arundel County Police Chief William Krampf said at a press briefing that Ramos “was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.” Krampf said it would take time to determine Ramos’ motive and to complete the investigation.
Prior to the shooting, Threats were made to the Capital Gazette via social media, but police are working to find out if they were sent by Ramos, Krampf said, adding that authorities don’t believe Ramos was specifically targeting anyone at the newspaper, just the newsroom itself.
Authorities said the suspect has not been “forthcoming” with interrogators. “The investigation has just started,” Krampf said. “We’re going to be quite a while in determining what occurred, why it occurred, how it occurred.”
The shooting occurred around 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Capital Gazette newsroom just outside of Annapolis in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Officials declined to provide details about the weapon that was used, other than saying it was a “long gun.”
Law enforcement also identified that they believed was an explosive device on the scene. More than 170 people were evacuated from the building after the shooting, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh told reporters at a briefing following the shooting.
According to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, law enforcement responded to the incident within 60 seconds. A crime reporter at the Gazette provided horrific details about the shooting via his Twitter account in the moments after it occurred.
“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,” crime reporter Phil Davis tweeted. “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
President Donald Trump tweeted that he had briefed on the shooting and that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.
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 Capital Gazette has been around since 1884 and is a daily newspaper that serves the city of Annapolis Maryland. Its sister newspaper, the Maryland Gazette, which was founded in 1727, is one of the newspapers in the United States.
The Capital Gazette building is home to several publications, including The Capital, the Maryland Gazette, the Bowie Blade-News, the Crofton-West County Gazette and Capital Style Magazine, along with CapitalGazette.com. Other businesses, including a medical office, are also located in the building.
The Capital Gazette and the Maryland Gazette are both owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group, which is owned by Tribune Publishing. Police also responded to check the Baltimore Sun newsrooms as a precautionary measure in the wake of the shooting.
Capital reporter Chase Cook tweeted after the shooting: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”
I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.
— Chase Cook (@chaseacook) June 28, 2018
Here’s what you need to know about Jarrod Ramos and the Capital Gazette Newspaper shooting:
Witnesses said the gunman shot through a glass door and opened fire on people inside the newsroom.
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.
— Phil Davis (@PhilDavis_CG) June 28, 2018
Police said the suspected gunman, Jarrod Ramos, used smoke grenades when he entered the building armed with a shotgun.
Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us
— Anthony Messenger (@amesscapgaz) June 28, 2018
Around 2:40 p.m. Thursday, an intern at the newspaper, Anthony Messenger, tweeted: “Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.” Messenger is okay, according to a co-worker, who also said that John McNamara, a writer for the Capital Gazette, had been shot. McNamara’s condition wasn’t immediately known.
Reporter Phil Davis confirmed to the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette, that there was a shooting and multiple people had been shot.
Davis told the Baltimore Sun it was “like a war zone,” and the situation is something that will be “hard to describe for awhile.” He added, “I”’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff—not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death—all the time … 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.”
Davis told the newspaper the shooter stopped on his own and police then arrived and surrounded him. “I don’t know why. I don’t know why he stopped,” he said.
Joshua McKerrow, a photojournalist for the Baltimore Sun and the Capital Gazette tweeted along with photos from the scene: “Massive police response to shooting in my newsroom in Annapolis.”
— Joshua McKerrow (@joshuamckerrow) June 28, 2018
According to Ann Arundel County radio traffic scanner audio, the suspect was described as a “white male with a ponytail.” CBS News added that the suspect wasn’t carrying an ID at the time of the shooting, and initially refused to identify himself to officials. He was reportedly ID’d via facial recognition software.
SCANNER AUDIO: Anne Arundel County radio traffic during Capital Gazette shooting – approx. 2:50pm:
Officer 1: "All units, all units, limit your transmissions. Do we have any kind of intel on our shooter?”
Officer 2: "White male with a ponytail.”
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) June 28, 2018
AUDIO: Emergency scanner traffic shows quick response, confusion in responding to mass shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland (audio edited for brevity) pic.twitter.com/3DtRoM6RJH
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) June 28, 2018
Anne Arundel Police Lieutenant Ryan Frashure told reporters, “This is going to be a long, long, long investigation.” Frashure said that officers responded to active shooter reports very quickly, in about 60 to 90 seconds of the first call. He said they engaged the suspected shooter and took him into custody. “At this point he’s the only suspect, we have one suspect,” Frashure said.
Jarrod Ramon sued the Capital Gazette in 2012 over a column written by a now-former staffer about him pleading guilty to criminal harassment.
And surprise, surprise, the terrorist who murdered and wounded several journalists at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis today also has quite a record of abusing and harassing women. pic.twitter.com/vcZYIPBgjQ
— Madeline Marsanne (@MadelineOnMars) June 29, 2018
According to court records, Jarrod Ramos was convicted of harassment in January 2011 in a case that stemmed from a March 2nd, 2012 incident. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and supervised probation.
In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against Capital-Gazette Communications, its then-staff-writer Eric Hartley and the paper’s publisher at the time, Thomas Marquardt. Ramos sued the paper, Hartley, and Marquardt over a column written by Hartley in 2011 about Ramos’ guilty plea to criminal harassment.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 2013 by Prince George Circuit Judge Maureen M. Lamasney because the article was based on public records and Ramos had no evidence that it contained inaccurate information.
“A lawyer would almost certainly have told him not to proceed with this case,” the court wrote in the opinion, according to The Capital. “It reveals a fundamental failure to understand what defamation law is and, more particularly, what defamation law is not.”
In September 2015, the second-highest court in Maryland upheld a 2013 ruling in favor of Capital-Gazette Communications dismissing Ramos’ defamation lawsuit.