The suspect in the fatal shooting attack on an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper has been identified by NBC News as 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos.
Citing “three senior law enforcement officials briefed on the matter,” the network reported that Mr. Ramos had a personal grudge against the Capital Gazette.
Mr. Ramos sued the paper in 2012 for defamation but the case was dismissed by a judge.
It had been reported by the Capital Gazette in 2011 that Ramos had pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and he sued the paper for defamation.
Prince George’s Circuit Court Judge Maureen M. Lamasney dismissed the claim, at which Mr. Ramos represented himself, saying that the article was entirely based on public records and that Mr. Ramos had no factual rebuttal to it.
“A lawyer would almost certainly have told him not to proceed with this case,” the Maryland Court of Special Appeals wrote in a 2015 opinion upholding the dismissal. “It reveals a fundamental failure to understand what defamation law is and, more particularly, what defamation law is not.”
According to Selene San Felice, a reporter with the Capital Gazette who spoke to CNN on Thursday evening, the gunman, whom she did not recognize, targeted the newspaper’s editors.
“That’s what happened here. Editors died. It’s just a fact,” she said.
Mr. Ramos’ Twitter feed boils over with resentment against the Capital Gazette and Maryland officials.
His Twitter handle is “@EricHartleyFrnd,” Eric Hartley being the name of the columnist who had written the initial column under the headline “Jarrod wants to be your friend,” a reference to Mr. Ramos’s stalking conviction, which started with Facebook approaches.
The feed’s header photo included an insert photo of Philip Merrill, noting that the former president and CEO of Capital Gazette died in 2006.
The photo also included former U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski with Tom Marquardt, former publisher and editor at the Capital Gazette.
At the edge of the photo is the caption “Everybody knows the stupid court of appeals are assholes … but at least they’re pleasant assholes.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox wrote on Twitter on Thursday night, based on an interview with Mr. Marquardt that in 2013 “he said of Ramos, ‘I remember telling our attorneys, “This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us.” ‘ Marquardt said he considered a restraining order and asked police to intervene.”
Even when his own Twitter feed broached politics, Mr. Ramos refracted it through his grievances with the Capital Gazette.
A September 2015 tweet warned that “referring to @RealDonaldTrump as unqualified @CapGazNews could end badly (again),” sharing an article about Mr. Trump suing Univision for defamation and breach of contract.
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