Capital Gazette Shooting Suspect Had 'Vendetta' Against the Newspaper

At least five people are dead and several others are seriously injured after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday.

The suspected shooter is 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, three senior law enforcement officers briefed on the case told NBC News.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Ramos has a long-standing dispute with the newspaper.

“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”

Ramos’ dispute with the Capital Gazette began in July 2011 when the newspaper covered a criminal harassment case against him. He then brought a defamation case against the journalist and the newspaper’s former editor and publisher in 2012. The Baltimore Sun reported that in 2015 Maryland’s second-highest court upheld the ruling in favor of the journalist and the newspaper.

During a briefing Thursday night, police department spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said that the suspect had threatened the Capital Gazette on social media.

The suspect is currently in custody and being interrogated, officials said. Officials said they are also checking surveillance footage to see how the suspect arrived at the building, NBC News reports.

The shooting suspect mutilated his fingers in order to avoid being identified. Ramos was later identified using facial recognition technology, authorities told NBC News.

Law enforcement officials were able to obtain a search warrant for Ramos’ home in Laurel, Maryland, and searched the residence on Thursday night.

Phil Davis, a crime reporter for the Capital Gazette, was in the building during the time of the shooting, hiding under his desk, like many of his coworkers.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” Davis said in a later interview. “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.”

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said the Capital Gazette reporters are “our family.”

“We know these reporters very well. We speak with them daily. The Capital is one of the oldest papers in our country and they have been part of the fabric of our city for centuries,” Buckley said in a statement. “Our first responders deal with these journalists too. This is our family and today’s victims were our friends. Today’s tragedy will not be the new normal for our city, county, state or country.”

President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting: “Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”

Officials at Maryland Shock Trauma Center confirmed that at least one victim from the shooting is being treated at their hospital. County Executive Steve Schuh said other victims were being treated at Anne Arundel Medical Center, The Baltimore Sun reports.

But through all of the horror and desperation today, Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook promised this on Thursday night: “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”