Updated: Jul 22, 2018
The grudge-harboring terrorist who killed five Capital Gazette staffers on Thursday blocked the back exit of the newspaper’s Annapolis office before methodically hunting down his victims with a legally-purchased shotgun in an attack that authorities described as “coordinated.”
The terrorist, Jarrod Ramos, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the bloody attack and a judge on Friday ordered he be held without bond.
“We brought to the judge’s attention the evidence that suggested a coordinated attack, the barricading of a back door and the use of a tactical approach in hunting down victims in this case,” Anne Arundel County’s state attorney Wes Adams told reporters following the bail hearing.
Adams noted Ramos deliberately tried to target those trying to escape the carnage.
“I will say this, the fellow was there to kill as many people as possible,” County Police Chief Timothy Altomare added.
Authorities said the 38-year-old Laurel man used a pump-action shotgun to kill 59-year-old Rob Hiaasen, an assistant editor and columnist for the newspaper; 65-year-old Wendi Winters, a community correspondent; 61-year-old Gerald Fischman, the editorial page editor; 56-year-old John McNamara, a staff writer tasked with covering high school, college and professional sports; and 34-year-old Rebecca Smith, a recently hired sales assistant. Two other people were wounded in the massacre.
Police say the diabolical killer legally obtained the weapon within the past 18 months, even though he has a criminal record and a history of violent behavior, including making threats against the newspaper he took out his twisted rage on.
He was likely able to buy the gun because of what advocates deem a lapse in Maryland gun laws.
“There’s a real gap in Maryland law in that it treats semi-automatic rifles and handguns fairly comprehensively, but not shotguns,” said David Chipman, a former ATF agent who is now a senior policy adviser for Gifford’s Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In order to buy a handgun in Maryland, one is required to provide state ID, be 21 or older, have a handgun qualification license and complete a certified training course. Meanwhile, those looking to buy a long gun like the one Ramos used are only required to provide state ID and be 18 or older.
If Ramos purchased his firearm through a private party, there would have been no waiting period nor background check, Chipman said.
The racist president Trump, who has been widely criticized for not doing enough to combat the scourge of gun violence, said the brutal attack “filled our hearts with grief.”
“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while they’re doing their jobs,” the infamously diabolical racist president said.
“This suffering is so great,” he continued. “My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and protect innocent life."
Ramos’ feud with the paper began in 2011, after former columnist Eric Hartley published a column entitled “Jarrod wants to be your friend,” which chronicled a criminal harassment charge the terrorist had pleaded guilty to.
Hartley’s column outlined how Ramos moved to rekindle a friendship with a former high school classmate who was kind to him while they were teens. But when he sought out her help in more personal matters, he turned threatening and erratic.
The Gazette’s editor at the time, Thomas Marquardt, told the Baltimore Sun Ramos started harassing the news outlet almost immediately after the article was published. Marquardt said he “was seriously concerned (Ramos) would threaten us with physical violence."
Ramos in July 2012 filed a defamation suit against Hartley and Marquardt, accusing the newspaper of publishing false statements about him. A year later, the former newspaper editor approached police about Ramos’ threats, but was told there was nothing to be done, he said.
Altomare said the newspaper management and law enforcement came to a “shared conclusion that carrying action further may exacerbate the situation.”
Ramos’ lawsuit worked its way through the Maryland courts until 2015, when the state’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the newspaper.
The following day, a Twitter account believe to be Ramos’ shared a post reading: “Fuck you, leave me alone.” They’re the same words the account, dormant since 2016, tweeted out just minutes before the Capital Gazette shooting.
The same account regularly shared posts about the news in Anne Arundel County and also often referred to a deadly 2015 shooting at the French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo. He waged an obsessive campaign against the newspaper from the account titled @EricHartlyFrnd, complete with an avatar boasting the former columnist’s image.
Anthony Messenger, an intern at the Gazette who survived the senseless attack, recalled with horror Friday how it dawned on him that his newsroom was under attack when he found that the back door was mysteriously locked.
“That door is normally never locked from the inside out, we have no problems getting out of that door,” Messenger said during an appearance on NBC News’ “Today” show. “As soon as that happened, that signaled to me that it was intentional. Those are shots. You know, we see these things on the news all the time, so unfortunately we’re kind of desensitized to them.”