What we know about the Annapolis newspaper shooting

What we know about the Annapolis newspaper shooting
Jose Luis Magana/AP via CNN

Five people were killed in a shooting inside the newsroom at the Capital Gazette, one of America’s oldest newspapers, in Annapolis, Maryland.

Here’s what we know so far about Thursday’s attack.

The victims

The five victims were employees of the Capital Gazette, authorities said:

• Wendi Winters, special publications editor

• Rebecca Smith, sales assistant

• Rob Hiaasen, assistant editor

• Gerald Fischman, editorial page editor

• John McNamara, staff writer

Hiaasen, 59, an editor and columnist, was the first victim publicly identified. The brother of best-selling author and journalist Carl Hiaasen, he was a feature writer at The Baltimore Sun for 15 years before moving to the Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor.

At a press conference Friday, officials identified two people who were injured as Rachel Pacella and Janet Cooley. Both are Capital Gazette employees and have been released from the hospital, said Anne Arundel County police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure.

Loren Farquhar, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, told CNN on Thursday that two individuals with minor injuries were taken to the hospital. Neither suffered gunshot wounds.

A third person was transported to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, according to Lisa Clough, a hospital spokeswoman.

The suspect

Jarrod Warren Ramos, 38, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to court records.

At a Friday hearing, a judge ordered that Ramos be held without bail, according to Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams.

Adams said at a press conference there was evidence that Ramos took a tactical approach to the shooting and barricaded a rear entrance in the building before opening fire.

Ramos worked his way through the office, hunting and shooting victims, Adams said, including one person who tried to escape through a back door.

“I’ll say this,” Altomare said, “the fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill.”

Police found Ramos hiding under a desk in the building, Anne Arundel County Executive Steven Schuh said.

Police Chief Timothy Altomare said Friday the suspect used a pump-action shotgun that he legally purchased about a year ago.

Ramos was identified using facial recognition technology, Altomare said. A picture of Ramos was run through the Maryland Image Repository System, he said, and authorities were subsequently able to identify him.

Altomare said reports that Ramos had altered his fingerprints were incorrect. CNN previously reported information from two law enforcement sources who said that the suspect’s fingerprints appeared to have been altered, making it difficult to identify him that way.

Court documents revealed that Ramos was terminated in July 2014 by his employer, Enterprise Information Services, where he worked as a help desk specialist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC.

Ramos filed a lawsuit claiming in part that they didn’t provide him an explanation for his firing outside of “suitability concern.”

In a response, Enterprise Information Services said the federal government demanded Ramos’ termination “citing security suitability concerns resulting from an Investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General,” but the company never learned the “exact nature of the investigation.”

Neither Enterprise Information Services nor the Bureau of Labor Statistics immediately responded to request for comment.

Possible motive

Police said the shooting was a “targeted attack” on the Capital Gazette.

“We can’t fathom why that person chose to do this,” Altomare said Friday.

Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit in 2012 against the paper and a staff writer, according to court records, but the case was eventually dismissed.

Altomare said Ramos allegedly made online threats to the Capital Gazette in 2013.

At the time, a detective spoke with legal counsel for the paper, Altomare said.

Anne Arundel County Police released a 2013 police report on Friday that said the threats were investigated for “harassment” and “future possibility of violent criminal act.”

According to the report, threatening tweets to Capital Gazette employees included “mention of blood in the water, journalist hell, hit man, open season,” “murderous rampage,” and “murder career and paper.”

But the officer wrote in the report that during a conference call with Capital Gazette personnel, he “indicated that I did not believe Mr. Ramos was a threat to employees for the Capital,” because they’d only been contacted by him over Twitter and in civil court filings and he had not attempted to enter the building.

The paper ultimately decided it didn’t want to pursue charges against Ramos, according to Altomare.

“There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation,” he added.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Loren Farquhar. This story also has been updated to reflect new reporting from police regarding the suspect’s fingerprints.