The suspect in Thursday's deadly newsroom shooting had been reported to the police on at least two occasions by journalists at the paper, and that a restraining order had been taken out against him, according to a former Capital Gazette employee.
Jarrod Ramos, 38, sued The Gazette and two of its journalists in 2012 for defamation over a July 2011 article about Ramos harassing and threatening a former High School classmate on Facebook.
“He seems to think there’s some sort of relationship here that does not exist,” said the woman in a harassment case she filed against Ramos. “I tried to back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop.”
After his case against The Gazette was thrown out, a Twitter account associated with Ramos was used to send hostile, threatening tweets at Gazette employees and the judge in his case. The account had remained dormant from January 2016 until Thursday - minutes before the shooting, when he wrote "Fuck you, leave me alone @judgemoylanfrnd" - to an unused Twitter account which appears to have been created by Ramos in 2016.
Former Gazette employee Joshua Stewart tweeted Thursday night "I can say with complete certainty that a @capgaznews employee had previously told @AACOPD [Anne Arundel Police] about concerns regarding the suspect in today’s shooting on #Annapolis," and that "in addition to warning the @AACOPD about the suspect, another @capgaznews employee warned the @AnnapolisPD [Annapolis Police] as well."
In another tweet, Stewart says that another reporter at The Gazette was granted a restraining order:
Five people after Ramos allegedly stormed The Gazette on Thursday. Despite having damaged his fingertips, making fingerprint identification impossible, he was identified after Thursday's shooting using facial recognition software according to AP. Ramos was found hiding under a desk after the attack, in which he was reportedly armed with a shotgun and a backpack containing fake grenades, smoke bombs and flash bang devices.
Acting Police Chief William Krampf of Anne Arundel County called it a targeted attack in which the gunman “looked for his victims.”
“This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people,” Krampf said.
Journalists crawled under desks and sought other hiding places in what they described as minutes of terror as they heard the gunman’s footsteps and the repeated blasts of the shotgun as he moved about the newsroom. -AP
Circling the wagons
After Gazette employee Chase Cook took to Twitter to say "I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow," Several journalists from other outlets offered to help the Gazette during the disarray - from phone calls to emails to help on reporting. Those offering to help include Katie Rosman of the New York Times, journalist Jonathan Katz and Jonathan Schieber of TechCrunch.
I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.— Chase Cook (@chaseacook) June 28, 2018
I’m available all night tonight to make calls, send emails, I’ll help on any story you need— katie rosman (@katierosman) June 28, 2018
Same offer from me. Email on website in bio.— Jonathan M. Katz 🐱 (@KatzOnEarth) June 28, 2018
Same from me. Email's in the bio.— (((Shiebelieber))) (@jshieber) June 29, 2018
Meanwhile, Bloomberg employee Madi Alexander set up a GoFundMe account for the Capital Gazette with a goal of $30,000.
After getting in contact with someone who worked for the Gazette, Alexander decided to organize a fundraiser through GoFundMe. As of Thursday evening, the page had raised $14,290 toward a $30,000 goal. Alexander, who doesn’t know anyone on staff at the newspaper outside Annapolis, started with a $10,000 goal and increased it at the urging of GoFundMe. -Capital Gazette
“I can’t stop shaking because I cant’t stop thinking about how this could be any one of us,” said Alexander, 26, a Bloomberg Government data reporter. “There’s nothing to keep this from happening to any newsroom or newspaper across the country.”
“Our hearts break for our colleagues in Annapolis and we want to do whatever we possibly can to help them pay for medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs, and any other unforeseen expenses that might arise as a result of this terrible shooting,” the page says.
Hours after the shooting, The Gazette managed to publish lengthy tributes to each of the five employees who were slain in Thursday's attack:
Gerald Fischman’s personality was so quiet and withdrawn that it hid the brilliant mind, wry wit and “wicked pen” that his colleagues would treasure. https://t.co/mGrc90BNMV— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
Rob Hiaasen’s wryly observant writing style and his generous mentoring of young journalists assured him of roles in several newsrooms, including the Capital Gazette. https://t.co/ZLZWHtp8nQ— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
John McNamara was remembered by his colleagues for his flexibility, concise writing and extensive knowledge of regional sports. https://t.co/YRBlOyDX6E— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
Rebecca Smith was a recent hire at the Capital Gazette but had already proved herself a valuable asset. https://t.co/OdHehI3lQY— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
After a career in fashion and public relations in New York City, Wendi Winters built a reputation as a prolific freelance reporter and well-known community resource at the Capital Gazette. https://t.co/IHfo7ZIkWd— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) June 29, 2018
The Associated Press Media Editors also promised to help the Gazette, while AP also put out a call to newspapers nationwide to help the paper continue its coverage.