Police: Gunman in Maryland newspaper shooting had intent 'to cause harm'

The gunman who killed five people and left two others injured was armed with a shotgun and threw smoke grenades when he entered a building that houses the Capital Gazette newspaper, according to police.

Officials have not officially identified the suspect, but he has been described as a white male in his late 30s and a resident of Maryland, officials said.

"He entered the building with a shotgun and he looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level," said Anne Arundel County Deputy Chief William Krampf.

The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette, reported the suspect is 38-year-old Jarrod W. Ramos, according to law enforcement sources. He filed a defamation lawsuit against Capital Gazette and a columnist in 2012.

Police called the shooting a "targeted attack."

"This person was prepared today to come in. This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm," said Krampf.

Phil Davis, a crime reporter for the Capital Gazette, posted on Twitter, "Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can't say much more and don't want to declare anyone dead, but it's bad."

He added, "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload."

Police said when the gunman was apprehended by officers, there was no exchange of gunfire when he was taken into custody.

The motive behind the shooting remains under investigation, but police said threats were made to the Capital Gazette on social media. Police were working to confirm who sent the threats and if the threats are connected to the suspect.

"The shooter has not been very forthcoming, so we don't have any information yet on motive," Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said. "To my knowledge, there was no verbal aspect to the incident where he declared his motives or anything else, so at this point we just don't know."

A U.S. official told the Associated Press that the suspect damaged his fingers in what is believed to be an effort prevent investigators from quickly identifying him through his fingerprints. He was eventually identified through facial recognition technology.

Police said SWAT team members secured the building and authorities evacuated more than 170 people from the building following the shooting.