Annapolis shooter sued newspaper over criminal report about himself

It has been learned the man accused of murdering five people at a Maryland newspaper Thursday had an ongoing aversion with the publication’s journalists since the early 2010s.

Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, brought smoke grenades and a 12-gauge shotgun in what looks to be a “targeted attack” meant to kill people, has been charged with first degree murder.

Ramos was captured soon after the shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. Federal and local agents searched Ramos’ home later the same day in Laurel, Md., which reportedly produced incriminating evidence.

Social media posts and court records from 2011 have uncovered Ramos began a long and bothersome campaign against the Gazette after it published a column describing how he was convicted of harassing a former high school classmate who turned down his sexual advances.

The publication’s story, entitled “Jarrod wants to be your friend,” explained how Ramos sent months’ worth of harassing emails and told the woman to kill herself, even emailing the company with defamatory accusations to get her fired.  The female victim ultimately blocked Ramos on all of her social media accounts but Ramos created fake personas and used others’ platforms to continue harassing her.

Ramos sued the paper in 2012 for defamation representing himself in court, but to no avail. The judge explained the Gazette had reported the story accurately and explained to Ramos such was the nature of journalism.

“I think people who are the subject of newspaper articles, whoever they may be, feel that there is a requirement that they be placed in the best light, or they have an opportunity to have the story reported to their satisfaction, or have the opportunity to have however much input they believe is appropriate,” the judge told Ramos, according to a court transcript.

A year later, Anne Arundel County police began investigating a series of threats Ramos made against the Gazette via Twitter, which mentioned “mention of blood in the water, journalist hell, hit man (and) open season,” according to an law enforcement officer. Despite the thinly veiled threats, no charges were filed.

Blocking a back entrance before shooting five people with approximately 10 shotgun blasts, police say Ramos inexplicably stopped his assault and surrendered to police when confronted.  County executive Steve Schuh said the suspect had put his gun down and was hiding under a desk when police found him.

Despite Ramos’ cowardice, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he was told the shooter “wasn’t a very a cooperative witness when they took him into custody.”

 

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publication.

 

[NBC News] [CNN] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Capital Gazette via BBC]