FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE IDENTIFIED THE SUSPECT SHOOTER
Baltimore: A man being held over the shooting of five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, had a long-running feud with the newspaper, law enforcement sources say.
Police and federal agents gathered late on Thursday, local time, outside the address of 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos.
Rich McLaughlin, chief of the Laurel Police Department, said his officers were there as part of the investigation into the shooting at the newspaper, and other sources identified Ramos as the suspect shooter.
In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and a columnist over a July 2011 article that covered a criminal harassment case against him.
He brought the suit against the columnist, Eric Hartley, naming Capital Gazette Communications and Thomas Marquardt, the paper’s former editor and publisher, as co-defendants.
A Twitter page in Ramos’ name on Thursday featured Hartley’s picture as its avatar, and a banner image included photographs of Marquardt and the Capital’s former owner Philip Merrill.
The page’s profile read: “Dear reader: I created this page to defend myself. Now I’m suing the s— out of half of AA County and making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.”
The account regularly commented on Anne Arundel County news and referred to a deadly shooting at a French newspaper in 2015.
The account had been dormant since January 2016. Then at 2.37pm on Thursday – just moments before the Capital Gazette shooting – the account posted a message that read: “F— you, leave me alone.”
Five people were killed and others were injured after the gunman opened fire on the newspaper office. Police described the two injuries as superficial.
Police say the Capital Gazette newspaper had received threats on social media before the deadly shooting and it was a “targeted attack”.
At a news conference, Anne Arundel County acting police chief William Krampf said “general threats” had been made against the newspaper.
He said investigators were trying to determine whether the threats were connected to the suspect whom he had not named.
The suspect was arrested at the scene and has been identified using face recognition software. His mutilated fingertips prevented identification via fingerprint, police said. www.policesearch.net
He is reportedly not co-operating with investigators. Krampf said the gunman used canisters of smoke grenades when he entered.
Police have responded to an active shooter at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland after a reporter allegedly told them of the shooting.
“We’re still talking to the suspect shooter, we’re engaging the individual, we’re trying to establish a motive,” Anne Arundel County police spokesman Lieutenant Ryan Frashure said.
Emergency services swarmed the Capital Gazette office amid reports of an “active” shooter on Thursday afternoon local time.
The paper’s crime and courts reporter Phil Davis tweeted that a gunman “shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees”.
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people getting shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he said.
“Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad.”
He later tweeted that he was safe and speaking to police.
Anthony Messenger, a summer intern at the newspaper, wrote on Twitter at 2.43pm: “Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.”
The Gazette is owned by the Baltimore Sun, where police were also present, the Sun stated.
People were seen carefully walking from the Gazette offices with their hands raised above their heads as police cleared buildings in the area.
“Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted. “Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community.”
The newspaper is located in a four-level office building in the capital.
Karen Burd, 27, was on her fourth day at work in the tax litigation firm located in the building.
“It’s crazy. You see these things on the news or the movies, but you never think it’s going to happen to you,” she said.
A co-worker told her there was an active shooter in the building.
Her first thought was to find a lockable room in which to barricade themselves. Five of the workers crammed into the room. They called 911 to say they were there and stayed there until police arrived, banging on the door.
“I started praying,” she said, tears filling her eyes. “You just think, ‘Is this going to be my last day?’ ”
A GoFundMe account set up for the newspaper raised more than $US20,000 ($27,000) within just only three hours.
The account fund was set up by a fellow journalist, Bloomberg government reporter Madi Alexander. The goal is to raise $US30,000 with the posting urging people to give what they can to help the newspaper’s journalists pay for medical bills, funeral costs, newsroom repairs and other sundry expenses.
Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, agencies