A Maryland man with a shotgun killed five people after blasting his way into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis on Thursday afternoon.
The victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, a former feature writer for The Baltimore Sun who joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 as an assistant editor and columnist; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer who had covered high school, college and professional sports for decades; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant hired in November.
Two others were injured in the attack that began at about 2:40 p.m. at the Capital Gazette offices at 888 Bestgate Road in Annapolis.
Police took the suspect into custody soon after the shootings. He was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against the paper.
According to Reuters, Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. He did not have an attorney listed; a bail review hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday in Annapolis.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”
Local, state and federal law enforcement officials cordoned off the Laurel apartment complex listed as the address for Ramos Thursday evening.
Ramos’ dispute with the Capital Gazette began in July 2011 when a columnist wrote about a criminal harassment case against him. He brought a defamation suit against the columnist and the organization’s editor and publisher. A court ruled in the Capital Gazette favor, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.
Neither the columnist, Eric Hartley, nor the editor and publisher, Thomas Marquardt, are still employed by the Capital Gazette. They were not present during the shootings.