New Details Revealed About Jarrod Ramos, The Suspected Capital Gazette Shooter — Including How He Previously Threatened The Paper's Staff And Harassed A Woman Online

Photo: Anne Arundel Police
Who Is The Capital Gazette Shooter? New Details Jarrod Ramos Mass Shooter Killed Five People, His Lawsuit With Newspaper And Stalking Accusation

He had a vendetta against the newspaper.

A man opened fire in a Maryland newsroom Thursday, killing five and wounding two other in a "targeted attack."

Jarrod Ramos, 38, walked into the Capital Gazette's newsroom armed with a lengthy vendetta, a shotgun and smoke grenades. He barricaded the door to prevent people from exiting the building before he began firing his gun, taking the lives of five employees.

“This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people,” Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf said. “His intent was to cause harm."

Authorities believe the shooting was not random but that Ramos specifically chose to harm the newspaper and its staff.

"This was a targeted attack on the capital Gazette," said Krampf.

The five victims were Robert Hiaasen, 59, assistant editor and Sunday columnist; Gerald Fischman, 61, editorial page editor;  John McNamara, 56, staff writer; Rebecca Smith, 34, sales assistant; and Wendi Winters, 65, editor and community reporter.

According to CNN, they collectively had 75 years of experience at the Maryland newspaper.

The Capital Gazette has been doing what newspapers do best after a tragedy — report on the issues that matter. The news outlet's employees have been grieving by putting their fingers to the keyboard to keep the public updated about a shooting that hit too close to home.

"Yes, we're putting out a damn paper tomorrow," the Capital Gazette tweeted Thursday evening.

Here is everything you need to know about Jarrod Ramos, the suspected shooter who took the lives of five journalists at the Capital Gazette:

1. He was charged with criminal harassment in 2011.

Ramos spent 18 months on supervised probation for harassing a former classmate on Facebook for a year.

The harassment began as a simple message to a woman, who asked not to be named, he thought he attended high school with. Ramos thanked the woman for being nice to him but she had no recollection of him — the two went to different high schools, she later found out.

Still, Ramos continued to message the woman. It started out with Ramos asking for advice but quickly turned to a stream of vulgar name-calling and threats, an article published by the Capital Gazette wrote.

"But when it seemed to me that it was turning into something that gave me a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, that he seems to think there's some sort of relationship here that does not exist ... I tried to slowly back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop," the woman told the judge.

"And he was not OK with that. He would send me things and basically tell me, 'You're going to need restraining order now.' 'You can't make me stop. I know all these things about you.' 'I'm going to tell everyone about your life.'"

He phoned her work and suggested she be fired and the woman claims the end to her job was due to the calls and emails Ramos sent to her boss, although she was unable to prove it.

The messages continually became more violent and the woman eventually decided the police needed to be involved. Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and the messages to the woman finally stopped.

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2. He previously sued the newsroom.

Getty Images

Ramos filed a defamation suit against the Capital Gazette in 2011 after the Maryland newspaper published an article containing details of the criminal harassment case against him mentioned above. 

According to CNN, Ramos pleaded guilty to the harassment charge and was placed on probation for 18 months and ordered to continue therapy.

The Capital Gazette's former staff writer Eric Thomas Hartley wrote an article titled "Jarrod Wants to Be Your Friend," which ran the following Sunday. The article detailed Ramos' misdemeanor harassment case, which prompted him to claim the paper defamed him.

3. The woman he stalked warned police that he would be the "next mass shooter."

The woman Ramos previously stalked and harassed for a year warned police “he will be your next mass shooter,” The New York Post reports.

She also spoke to WBAL 11 about Ramos and claimed he was "a f—ing nut job." She told the local news station that she slept with a gun out of fear of Ramos.

4. He angrily tweeted about the Capital Gazette prior to the shooting.

A Twitter account under Ramos' name with the handle @EricHartleyFrnd had many angry, grudge-filled things to say about the Capital Gazette.  

The account, which police believe belongs to the suspected shooter, tweeted about the newspaper's employees, the paper itself, and local judges.

In one post, Ramos said he wanted the newspaper to stop publishing altogether but that "it would be nicer" to see two journalists "cease breathing," ABC7 reports.

The tweets stopped in 2013 after police got involved in the matter.

The account was suspended by Twitter less than 24 hours after the shooting.

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5. A former editor at the Capital Gazette wasn't surprised Ramos was the suspected gunman.

Thomas Marquardt — the former editor and publisher for the Capital Gazette — had previously expressed concerns for the safety of himself and his fellow staff after Ramos came after him and the newspaper for defamation, The Baltimore Sun reported. 

“I remember telling our attorneys, 'This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’” he said.

When he learned that Ramos was taken into custody for allegedly killing five Capital Gazette employees Marquardt was not surprised.

"I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’”

6. He's been described as a "loner."

Ramos’ aunt, Vielka Ramos, described the alleged shooter as "very intelligent" but not "close to anyone," The Baltimore Sun reports.

“He was very intelligent. He would try to communicate with people but he was a loner,” she said. 

According to his aunt, Ramos has not been seen at family functions since the death of his grandmother several years ago.

7. He intentionally damaged his fingertips. 

The suspected shooter was originally described only as a white male in his late 30s; a demographic that describes many, many people. 

When Ramos was taken into police custody he was not carrying any form of identification, and the fingerprint machine malfunctioned when authorities tried to run his prints.

It was later learned that he had damaged the tips of his fingers on purpose in order to keep police from identifying him. 

Authorities used facial recognition technology to confirm his identity.

8. He has been charged with five count of first-degree murder.

Ramos is being held without bond on five charges of first-degree murder, court records show.

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Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She has a degree in Journalism and writes about all things news and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.