The man who stands accused of shooting up a Maryland newsroom, killing five people, made his first court appearance Friday. Jarrod Ramos, 38, who was there via video link, said nothing as his attempt to make bail was denied, reports the Daily Mail. During the 10-minute hearing at the Anne Arundel District Court, Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder after the killing spree Thursday at the Annapolis-based Capital and Gazette local newspapers. Prosecutor Wes Adams called it a “coordinated attack” to make sure he was able to kill as many people as possible.
“This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm,” William Krampf, acting police chief of Anne Arundel County, said at a news conference, reports USA TODAY. It was revealed that Ramos barricaded a door so that people couldn’t escape. Carrying a backpack full of smoke bombs, he walked around to the front of the building and opened fire. One of the smoke bombs was then deployed to mask his entrance and to cause even more terror for his victims. “He was going down our newsroom, starting from the front and just continually shooting people,” crime reporter Phil Davis said to the Daily Mail. When John McNamara tried to open the barricaded door, he was killed for trying to escape.
“The mass shooting occurred after years of threats and abuse following the 2011 Capital Gazette article about Ramos harassment of a former classmate, headlined ‘Jarrod wants to be your friend’, and was published after he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment,” reports the Daily Mail. In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation suit against the newspaper but it was thrown out of court, they said because it “fails to come close to alleging a case of defamation.” He later tried to appeal the ruling but it was upheld by a Maryland appeals court.
Ramos would later engage the writer of the article on Twitter, tweets which “reveal that Ramos was angry about how the criminal case — and the press coverage of it — was handled.” The news outlet managed to publish a paper Friday, one day after the horrible shooting, and paid tribute to those five who were killed. “On page A9, there was an eerie reminder of editorial page editor Fischman’s absence, as well as the other staffers lost. The opinion page was blank, aside from saying ‘today, we are speechless’ alongside the names of those killed Thursday.”