A mass shooting at Maryland’s Capital Gazette newsroom by a gunman with a shotgun on Thursday afternoon, reportedly left 5 people dead and 20 others injured.
Police took a 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.
“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.”
Though the Local, state and federal law enforcement officials cordoned off the Laurel apartment complex listed as the address for Ramos Thursday evening, it was gathered that 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’s favor, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.
Police said the suspect used “smoke grenades” in the attack which had 170 people inside the building at that time, even though 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.
Phil Davis, a Capital crime reporter who was in the building at the time of the shooting, said multiple people were shot as he and others hid under their desks. He said there was a single male gunman.
“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees,” he wrote on Twitter. “Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad.”
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”
Davis later told The Sun said it “was like a war zone” — a scene that would be “hard to describe for a while.”
“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he said. “But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”
President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” he wrote. “Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”