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Newspaper Shooting Suspect's Ire Started With Classmate

Police say they found Jarrod Ramos hiding under a desk
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2018 7:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police on Friday revealed several new grim details about the deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday, among them that the gunman barricaded the building's rear doors. Officials speculate that was either to prevent would-be victims a path out or to prevent police from getting in; one victim was apparently shot while trying to exit that way. Police aren't getting clarification from the man charged with the five murders; CBS News reports Jarrod Ramos is not cooperating. Anne Arundel County Police Department Chief Tim Altomare says Ramos used a pump-action shotgun that was purchased legally roughly a year ago, per NPR, and that evidence found at Ramos' apartment indicated the attack was planned. More:

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  • Altomare says Ramos was found hiding under a desk and did not shoot at police. "I think fight or flight kicks in," Altomare said regarding Ramos, per NPR. "I don't know why, but flight won."
  • The AP reports on a 2013 police report that gives more context to Ramos' beef with the paper. He was investigated five years ago after making a slew of threatening tweets about Gazette staffers; in them he "makes mention of blood in the water, journalist hell, hit man, open season, glad there won't be murderous rampage, murder career."
  • "The one (post) that tipped us over the edge was one that suggested I should die, I would be better off dead," retired publisher Tom Marquardt tells USA Today. He says all employees were shown a photo of Ramos so they would be familiar with him.
  • A detective determined Ramos did not pose a threat, in part as he had not tried to enter the building or made any direct contact. The paper chose not to press charges so as not to "[put] a stick in a beehive." In 2015 Ramos tweeted that he'd like to see the Gazette stop publishing, but seeing two of its journalists "cease breathing" would be even better. Then he essentially went silent, Marquardt says, leading the paper "to believe that he had moved on."

  • The AP reports on what little has been said about Ramos' background: He is single; lives in an apartment in Laurel, Md.; and worked as an IT contractor with the US Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics up until 2014.
  • The AP also digs deep into the story behind article that birthed his ire. It reports Ramos graduated from Arundel High School in 2007, and that roughly three years later, he emailed a female classmate thanking her for "being the only person that was ever nice, or said hello to him in high school." She responded by telling him she did not remember him. His emails to her turned vicious. She went to police, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, and the paper's coverage of that plea enraged him.
  • He filed an unsuccessful defamation suit against the paper. A transcript from a hearing shows Ramos as upset the article quoted him as saying "f--- you, leave me alone" to the classmate. "That carries a clear implication that something is wrong inside my head, that I'm insane," Ramos told the judge.
(Read more Capital Gazette shooting stories.)

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