Shooting suspect had bitter history with Maryland newspaper

Posted July 03, 2018

A community is reeling hours after a gunman targeted the local Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, looking for victims before he gunned down five unsuspecting employees.

"We were concerned about him at the time, it definitely came up more than once", Shirley said. Mourners carried signs that read "We are heartbroken" and "Annapolis Strong".

In a Facebook post, best-selling author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen said he was "devastated and heartsick" to confirm the death of his brother, Rob Hiaasen, affectionately known as "Big Rob" because he towered over people. The victims were identified Thursday night as Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Robert Hiaason, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara. Ramos had a well-documented history of harassing the paper's journalists, a feud that apparently began over a column about Ramos pleading guilty to harassing a woman. It is styled a "Motion for Reconsideration" by Maryland's top court, which in 2016 refused to hear a defamation case Ramos, now 38, had filed against the newspaper.

The alleged gunman in Thursday's killings at The Capital sent three threatening letters before the shooting rampage at the Annapolis newspaper, Anne Arundel County police said Monday.

Ramos has a connection to the paper, the sources said.

A friendly exchange turned into "months of emails in which Ramos alternately asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself".

The paper received threats via social media ahead of Thursday's shooting, officials said.

Crime scene tape surrounds a building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper's offices, Friday, June 29, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. Altomare said evidence found at the suspect's home showed he had planned the attack, and that the pump-action 12-gauge shotgun used by the shooter was legally purchased. They did not suffer gunshot wounds, and one was released from the hospital, spokeswoman Loren Farquhar said. "His intent was to cause harm".

Trump has called the press the "enemy of the American people" and has called out media outlets and journalists by name on his Twitter and at his rallies.

The gunman fired through the glass door of the newsroom, Phil Davis, a Capital Gazettepolice reporter, tweeted shortly after the shooting.

Ramos unsuccessfully sued the Gazette after it reported the 2015 hearing in which he admitted criminal harassment of his former classmate. In a later interview appearing on the paper's online site, Davis likened the newspaper office to a "war zone". "So during that time we had consulted with our own lawyers in the best steps that we could take, as well as the police, and we had actually contacted the police to pursue one particular comment in which he wished I would be dead and the police looked into it".

"He was six five so it made sense, but also he had a really, really big heart", she said, before reading a poem in her dad's honour. "They don't make a lot of money". According to court documents, the judge said, "There is nothing" to prove "anything that was published" was in fact false.