Annapolis shooter came 'to kill as many people as he could'

Police reveal details about the lethal shooting attack at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Annapolis shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos
Annapolis shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos

Jarrod W. Ramos, the gunman accused of killing five people in a vendetta against a Maryland newspaper on Thursday, barricaded the rear exit to prevent anyone from escaping and blasted his way through the newsroom with a pump-action shotgun, authorities said Friday, according to The Associated Press.

“The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could,” said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said after Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of murder in connection with the shooting at the Capital Gazette.

Ramos’ long-held grudge against the Capital Gazette included a string of angry online messages and a failed defamation lawsuit over a column about him pleading guilty to harassing a woman, according to the report. Police looked into the online threats in 2013, but the paper declined to press charges for fear of inflaming the situation, Atltomare said.

“There’s clearly a history there,” the police chief said.

Ramos was denied bail Friday after a brief court hearing in which he appeared by video, watching attentively but not speaking. Authorities said he was “uncooperative” with interrogators.

Reports on Thursday said Ramos had damaged the tips of his fingers in an apparent attempt to thwart efforts by police to identify him by his fingerprints, though police denied this. CNN subsequently reported that the suspect was identified using facial recognition software.

Prosecutor Wes Adams said Ramos carefully planned the attack, barricading the back door and using “a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent people.”

Adams said the gunman, who was captured hiding under a desk and did not exchange fire with police, also had an escape plan, but the prosecutor would not elaborate.

The chief said the weapon was a 12-gauge shotgun, legally purchased about a year ago despite the harassment case against Ramos. Authorities said he also carried smoke grenades.

Investigators were reviewing Ramos’ social media postings and searching his apartment in Laurel, Maryland. Altomare said authorities found evidence at the apartment of the planning Ramos put into the attack, but gave no details.

The victims of the attack have been identified as 61-year-old Gerald Fischman, who reportedly was Jewish, sales assistant Rebecca Smith, 34, editor Rob Hiassen, 59, reporter and editor John McNamara, 56, reporter Wendi Winters, 65.

The newspaper said two other employees were treated for minor injuries.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)