The man behind the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette now faces five counts of first-degree murder. Jarrod Ramos will face arraignment later this morning in a Maryland court, so far without an attorney. After police finally made an identification of the suspect, the rest of the story fell into place
Court records filed Friday show Jarrod W. Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the killings inside Maryland’s Capital Gazette office.
The online records do not list an attorney for Ramos, who is scheduled for a bail hearing 10:30 a.m. Friday in Annapolis.
Authorities say Ramos opened fire inside the newspaper office Thursday, killing five and injuring two others. He had a long, acrimonious history with the newspaper, including a lawsuit and years of harassment of its journalists.
It went beyond harassment, and the newspaper wasn’t Ramos’ only target. The Baltimore Sun reports that Ramos’ beef with the Capital Gazette began in 2011, when the newspaper covered his trial for criminal harassment. After losing a defamation lawsuit, Ramos began escalating his actions against the newspaper and against Anne Arundel County. And yet, the paper mostly ignored it despite warnings from at least one of its employees:
Marquardt said he wasn’t surprised to hear Ramos identified as the alleged gunman, saying he started harassing the paper and its staff shortly after the 2011 article. The harassment escalated for years with online threats, Marquardt said.
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said from his retirement home in Florida. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’ ”
Marquardt said he called the Anne Arundel County police about Ramos in 2013, but nothing came of it. He consulted the paper’s lawyers about filing a restraining order, but decided against it.
“I remember telling our attorneys, ‘This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’ ” he said.
The harassment case in 2011 involved his attempt to get an old high-school classmate interested in a romantic relationship via Facebook. WBAL reporter Jayne Miller caught up with the woman, who said she tried to warn police at the time:
"He's a f***** nut job" –woman who says she was stalked by suspect in fatal shooting of 5 people at Capital Gazette in Annapolis…says she warned former police official years ago.."he will be your next mass shooter"
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) June 29, 2018
Woman who was stalked, harassed, sued, and scared away to another state by suspect in fatal shooting of 5 at Capital Gazette in Annapolis told me he became, for no obvious reason, "fixated" with her..caused her to move 3x, changed her name, and now sleeps with a gun.
— Jayne Miller (@jemillerwbal) June 29, 2018
In other words, this wasn’t just some guy with an unreasonable beef with one or more people in the building. This was a man who clearly constituted a threat, one that had already been addressed in the legal system — and clearly unsatisfactorily — years before the shooting. Why didn’t the newspaper pursue tougher enforcement? They may have been reluctant to become the story, or more likely didn’t want to provoke Ramos with more legal action. That may be understandable, but that kind of calculation only works with rational people. There was enough information to know that Ramos wasn’t rational and was not easily discouraged. Marquardt, who was named in the original suit that began this cycle, apparently understood that. For some reason, though, the newspaper and the county didn’t pursue it.
This Fox panel had an interesting discussion this morning on security preparation and processes, but the lesson here (so far, understanding that it’s still early) seems to be that a lack of enforcement encouraged escalating responses. The same was certainly true in Parkland, where the school district and Broward County passed up literally dozens of opportunities to prosecute the shooter and at least keep him from being able to legally purchase the weapons he used to slaughter the people in the building. You can build all the layered security and hallway procedures you like, but if you’re not prosecuting a dangerous person for the gateway crimes, don’t expect a physical gateway to stop him once he has his mind set on the ultimate crime.
In the meantime, pray for the lost souls at the Capital Gazette, who died because they wanted to provide the local community with the local news, and for their co-workers, families, and friends. They put out their newspaper this morning even after the tragic mass murder that took place, even while being the news. That’s dedication.
What do you think? pic.twitter.com/lajE7Rbegj
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) June 29, 2018