Capital Gazette suspected gunman charged with 5 counts of 1st-degree murder, bond denied

- The man suspected in an attack at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland that left four journalists and a staffer dead has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder. A judge denied bond for Jarrod Warren Ramos, who was arrested shortly after the shooting at the Capital Gazette Thursday afternoon.

In a news conference held late Friday morning, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare said that the suspect isn't cooperating with authorities. A request for a gag order by the attorney representing the suspect was denied by the judge.

Altomare also confirmed that investigators used facial recognition technology to identify the suspect, but said previous reports that Ramos had mutilated his own fingertips to make identification more difficult were not true.

Throughout the news conference, Altomare refused to say the suspect's name. 

“He doesn’t deserve us to talk about him one more second," Altomare said. 

Altomare also released the names of two other Capital Gazette employees who were injured in the shooting, Rachael Pacella and Janet Coley, both of whom suffered non-life threatening injuries and have been released from the hospital. Police have identified the five people killed in the shooting as the paper's assistant managing editor Rob Hiaasen; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman; features reporter Wendi Winters; reporter John McNamara, and sales assistant Rebecca Smith. 

Prosecutors said Friday that the suspect barricaded the back door so that the victims could not get out and that one victim who tried to escape through a back door was shot.

Police recovered the suspect's car and searched his apartment where they discovered evidence showing of his planning, but no other details were given about what was found. Altomare said the suspect used a pump-action shotgun that was legally purchased about a year ago to carry out the targeted attack. The chief also said that no one else was involved in the attack.

About 170 people were evacuated from the building, which houses other offices, many leaving with their hands up as police and other emergency vehicles arrived. Charging documents released on Friday say Ramos tried to hide under a desk after the attack.

About 300 officers from state and local jurisdictions responded to the scene of Thursday's shooting. Altomare said every officer was part of the effort to save lives. It only took police 60 seconds to respond to the incident, and within two minutes, Altomare said, they were cornering the suspect.

"The fella was there to kill as many people as he could," Altomare explained.

The suspect had what was apparently a long-standing feud with the paper and a history with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. Altomare said Ramos had previously made threats against employees, but the newspaper had chosen not to pursue criminal charges out of fear it would make the situation worse. Altomare said the department would be releasing a redacted version of that incident report sometime Friday. 

The suspect had also previously been convicted of stalking a woman, but was not legally barred from buying a gun. The attorney who represented the woman Ramos stalked and harassed said the case was so bad that the victim moved out of state to get away from him.

"He then wrote to her employer and had her terminated from her job at a bank and basically destroyed this woman's life," attorney Brennan McCarthy explained.

McCarthy said it was a 2012 report by the Capital Gazette about Ramos' conviction that would fuel the suspect's hatred for the newspaper.

"When I saw that there was a shooting at the paper, I told my wife it was Jarred Ramos, there was no doubt in my mind it was Jarrod Ramos," McCarthy said.

Present Donald Trump mentioned the shooting before delivering a speech on the economy Friday.

"This attack shocked the conscious of our nation and filled out hearts with grief," he said to a crowd at the White House. "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job. To the families of the victims, there are no words to express our sorrow for your loss."

Trump called the attack "horrific" and pledged support to the families.

"My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life," the president said. "We will not ever leave your side."

"It's a terrible day and probably the saddest day in Annapolis since I can remember," said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. "We're all still reeling from it and none of us expected something like this to happen."

Gov. Larry Hogan ordered Maryland flags lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the shooting.

Despite the tragedy, the staff at the Capital Gazette published a Friday edition. The Opinion section of the paper was left blank on Friday with the exception of a few words and the names of the victims. It read:

"Today, we are speechless. This page is internationally left black today to commemorate the victims of Thursday’s shootings at our office: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters. Tomorrow this page will return to its steady purpose of offering our readers informed opinion about the world around them, that they might be better citizens."

The newspaper is part of Capital Gazette Communications, which also publishes the Maryland Gazette and CapitalGazette.com. It is owned by The Baltimore Sun.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

More Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories