Police have identified Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, as the suspected gunman who opened fire Thursday at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland — shooting five dead and wounding others, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Ramos, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, sued the newspaper in 2012, accusing a former reporter of defamation following a piece about criminal harassment charges Ramos pleaded guilty to, the Capital Gazette reported in 2015.
The article Ramos sued over ran under the headline “Jarrod wants to be your friend,” according to court records. The piece covered how Ramos was accused of reconnecting with an old high school classmate on Facebook and then harassing her with “months of emails in which Ramos alternately asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself,” according to excerpts from the article cited in court documents.
That article was published in July 2011, about a week after Ramos had pleaded guilty to criminal harassment charges, court records said. He was put on probation, required to attend therapy and couldn’t reach out to the victim and her relatives.
Ramos’ lawsuit accused the newspaper of defaming him and “exposing him to public scorn, hatred, contempt, and ridicule.” But the complaint didn’t come with any supporting documents, court records said.
Months later, Ramos filed another complaint — this one 22 pages long and alleging invasion of privacy, according to court records.
In court, a judge asked Ramos to point out a single false statement in the story, court records said.
“He could not do so,” according to court records.
At a press conference Thursday, Maryland authorities called the newsroom shooting a “targeted attack.”
“He was prepared to shoot people,” Acting Anne Arundel County Police Chief William Krampf said. “His intent was to cause harm.”
Law enforcement had cordoned off an apartment building in Laurel associated with Ramos on Thursday night, the Baltimore Sun reports.
A former leader of the Capital Gazette described the intensity with which Ramos fought the newspaper in court.
“He waged a one-person attack on anything he could muster in court against the Capital,” Tom Marquardt, a former editor and publisher of the Capital Gazette, told the Los Angeles Times. “I said during that time, ‘This guy is crazy enough to come in and blow us all away.’”
Social media posts from an account in Ramos’ name indicate that — even after the lawsuit was dismissed — he held a years-long grudge against the newspaper, the Times reports.