Annapolis shooting suspect previously filed defamation lawsuit against Capital Gazette

The man suspected of killing five people in a shooting at the Capital Gazette on Thursday had a long standing grudge against the Annapolis newspaper that included a defamation lawsuit he filed against them in 2012.

Jarrod Warren Ramos sued the paper and then-columnist Eric Hartley over an article Hartley wrote about a criminal harassment complaint against Ramos. Ramos had been accused of stalking a former high school classmate and sending her vulgar emails. He eventually pleaded guilty to that harassment charge.

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A judge threw out the defamation lawsuit ruling the Capital Gazette had not reported anything that wasn't already public record.

The Associated Press reported that Ramos so routinely sent profanity-laced tweets about the paper and its writers that retired publisher Tom Marquardt said he called police in 2013, telling his wife at the time that "this guy could really hurt us."

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In 2015, Ramos tweeted that he'd like to see the paper stop publishing, but "it would be nicer" to see two of its journalists "cease breathing."

Investigators were reviewing his postings and searching his apartment in Laurel, Maryland, for evidence on what prompted him to escalate from words into deadly action.

"The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don't have any information yet on motive," Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said.

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Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Anne Arundel County police have identified the five people killed in the shooting at the newpaper's Annapolis offices. Those killed were identified 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. The newspaper said two other employees had non-life threatening injuries and were later released from a hospital.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article