Newspaper shooting suspect "wanted to get revenge"

Clay Curtis
June 30, 2018

Maryland and federal authorities say the man they say is a suspect in connection with the shooting deaths of five people and wounding of three others in a Maryland newspaper was the subject of an Annapolis Capital Gazette article about a stalking incident.

A man brandishing a shotgun walked into the office of a small newspaper in Maryland on Thursday and killed at least five people in a targeted assault, one of the deadliest attacks recorded on a US media outlet, authorities said. "This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette". Having gone to school in Florida, she recalled accounts of a gunman's June 2016 mass shooting attack on Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse and how terrified people crouching inside had texted loved ones.

Whatever the reason behind the latest instance of American gun carnage turns out to be, one tweet by a Capital Gazette reporter made clear that it would not be enough to halt the enterprise of journalism in a free society. Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh told ABC News the suspected gunman was found by police hiding under a desk in the newsroom and was apprehended there.

The motive of the gunman still remains unclear, but police said the newsroom had recently received threats of violence through social media.

A US official told the Associated Press that the suspect damaged his fingers in what is believed to be an effort prevent investigators from quickly identifying him through his fingerprints. Carl Hiaasen said he was "devastated and heartsick" at the loss of his brother, "one of the most gentle and amusing people I've ever known". "His intent was to cause harm".

The victims have all been identified as Capital Gazette employees: editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, editor/reporter John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith and community correspondent Wendi Winters.

A U.S. official said Ramos was identified using facial recognition technology after he damaged his fingerprints in what police believe was an attempt to prevent rapid identification.

Police Chief Timothy Altomare said Friday the suspect used a pump-action shotgun that he legally purchased about a year ago.

McCarthy said on Thursday, when he heard about the shooting at The Capital newspaper, he immediately thought of Ramos.

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Officials also released the names of the five people killed in the shooting at the Capital Gazette.

Ramos filed a defamation claim in 2012 against the paper but the case was dismissed, CNN reports.

Reporter Chase Cook tweeted: "I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow". A picture of Ramos was run through the Maryland Image Repository System, he said, and authorities were subsequently able to identify him. But as much as I'm going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don't know until you're there and you feel helpless. People could be seen leaving the building with their hands up.

Prosecutors said Ramos was ordered held without bond, because he planned the attack, barricaded doors so victims could not escape and shot someone who tried.

Susan O'Brien, a spokesperson for the city of Annapolis, said the publication "is a newspaper we live with every day".

At the time, a detective spoke with legal counsel for the paper, Altomare said.

"I started praying", she said tears filling her eyes.

"They don't make a lot of money - maybe $30,000 a year", Buckley said.

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