Here's what we currently know about the Maryland newspaper shooting suspect
Yesterday, Thursday, June 28th, five people were killed in Annapolis, Maryland, after a man with a shotgun opened fire with a shotgun at the Capital Gazette newsroom. Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Robert Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara all lost their lives during the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos.
An immediate investigation into Ramos turned up evidence that he reportedly had a vendetta against the publication. The grudge originated in 2011, at which time the Gazette ran a story about him harassing a former female classmate via Facebook and email. Ramos attempted to sue the publication for defamation but was unsuccessful.
The complaint was dismissed by a judge in 2013, who said, "There is nothing in those complaints that prove that anything that was published about you is, in fact, false. It all came from a public record. It was of the result of a criminal conviction. And it cannot give rise to a defamation suit."
Tom Marquardt, the paper’s editor and publisher at the time of Ramos' original lawsuit, said that he was not surprised to find out that the 38-year-old had been named as a suspect.
"I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence," he said. "I remember telling our attorneys, 'This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us.'"
Indeed, in November of 2011, Ramos reportedly began behaving aggressively online and created a Twitter account to target Marquardt, as well as Eric Hartley - a columnist for the paper. The biography of the account (which used a photoshopped image of Hartley as its display picture) said: "Dear reader: I created this page to defend myself. Now I'm suing the s**t out of half of AA County and making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities."
He tweeted more than 100 threats or criticisms towards the paper until January 2016, at which point the account became dormant. However, shortly before the shooting yesterday, he posted a threatening message aimed at Special Appeals Judge Charles Moylan, who upheld a lower court ruling dismissing Ramos's defamation claim.
Ramos had never got over the article published about him seven years ago, and in 2015 appealed the court's decision that he was not the victim of defamation. Once again, though, he lost, with the appeals court stating that Ramos "never alleges that any basic fact contained in the article about his guilty plea is actually false."
"The appellant was charged with a criminal act," the court said. "The appellant perpetrated a criminal act. The appellant plead guilty to having perpetrated a criminal act. The appellant was punished for his criminal act ... He does not appear to have learned his lesson."
In response to the attack, President Donald Trump tweeted: "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."
Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, and will most likely serve life without parole for his actions.