A man who had a long-running feud with an Annapolis newspaper blasted his way through its newsroom with a shotgun on Thursday, killing at least five people in one of the deadliest attacks recorded on a U.S. media outlet, according to Reuters.
The suspect fired through a glass door, looked for victims and then sprayed the newsroom of The Capital Gazette newspaper group in Annapolis with gunfire, police and a witness said.
Acting police chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department William Krampf told a news conference that Capital Gazette assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, 59, was among the victims.
Wendi Winters, 65, Rebecca Smith, 34, Gerald Fischman, 61, and John McNamara were also killed, he said. Smith was a sales assistant and the others were journalists.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” Krampf said. “This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”
In 2012, Ramos brought a defamation lawsuit against Eric Hartley, formerly a staff writer and columnist with publication The Capital, and Thomas Marquardt, then editor and publisher of The Capital, according to a court filing.
In 2015, Maryland’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the Capital Gazette and a former reporter who were accused by Ramos of defamation.
According to a legal document, the article contended that Ramos had harassed a woman on Facebook and that he had pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. The court agreed that the contents of the article were accurate and based on public records, the document showed.
Ramos said on Twitter that he had set up an account to defend himself, and wrote in his bio that he was suing people in Anne Arundel County and “making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.”
Police are treating the shooting as a local incident, with no links to terrorism, a law enforcement source told Reuters.
Politico reports the frist report of yesterday's shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, which killed five and injured two, was a tweet from an intern: "Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us," Anthony Messenger said, listing the paper's address.
As tragedy unfolded, the Capital Gazette reporters relayed information in real time. Crime and courts reporter Phil Davis described the scene as a "war zone" in a story that posted on the paper's site shortly after the shooting.
He also tweeted, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."
The Capital is owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group, which is owned by Tronc. CEO Justin Dearborn said in an internal memo that Tronc execs are on the way to MD. He also reminded employees that counseling and support services are available. The company's papers in Maryland will have counselors on site in the coming days.
"We are focused on providing support to our colleagues and their families," Dearborn wrote...