Lawsuit fuels Maryland shooting by: Elaijah Gibbs-Jones
Maryland Capital Gazette newspaper, which is own by the Baltimore Sun, was the scene of a targeted shooting late Thursday afternoon.
First responders arrived at the newsroom within 90 seconds of the first call. Police reported that first responders arriving at the scene so soon prevented more casualties by the gunman.
Police took the suspect into custody immediately who refused to cooperate. Initially, law enforcement had a hard time identifying the man since he had no identification on his being and damaged fingerprints.
The only information the police gave to the press was that he was a middle-aged white male with long brown hair. He was later identified as Jarrod Ramos, a 38-year-old Maryland resident.
“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,” Phil Davis, Capital Gazette courts, and crime reporter tweeted.
The Capital Gazette received much praise on social media as reports continued to cover the news whilst hiding under their desk during the shooting.
Five employees were pronounced dead while two have been wounded.
The five employees murdered were later identified by law enforcement as Rob Hiaasen, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters and John McNamara.
The attack on the Capital Gazette was intentional due to to a lawsuit of defamation between the newspaper and Ramos.
The Capital Gazette and Ramos have had a long-standing battle in court over the newspaper’s 2011 article, which included details of Ramos’s guilty plea to criminal harassment claim against an old female classmate on Facebook. The article was titled “Jarrod wants to be your friend” and received much traction and acclaim from local residents.
Ramos attempted to sue the Capital Gazette in July of 2012. He claimed the article subjected him to “public scorn,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
However, his attempts failed through two rulings including the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. The defendants included the former writer and columnist of the article, Capital-Gazette Communications company and the Capital’s former editor and publisher.
Social media also played an important role in this attack. Ramos mentioned the Capital Gazette on Twitter in terms of an article on Donald Trump. Authorities believe this to be suggestive in terms of the Thursday attacks.
Many have been devastated nationwide and throughout Maryland as another instance of gun violence has resulted in the loss of lives. Increased security and protection of journalists have begun. New York authorities have been placed throughout New York newsrooms as a result of this attack for caution, according to the NYPD.
Ramos has been placed in custody and authorities have barricaded his Laurel, MD neighborhood that is 30 miles from the Capital Gazette newsroom.
The investigation is still ongoing.