Accused Capital Gazette mass shooter, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, maintained a Twitter feed where he expressed his bitterness at the media and court system, but on that feed, Ramos tweeted about only two specific politicians. One, as The Inquisitr was among the first to report on Thursday, was Donald Trump.
The other was a local county council member in Anne Arundel, County, Maryland, where Ramos resided and where he allegedly carried out the Capital Gazette massacre, which killed five employees, as CNN reported, four journalists and a sales assistant.
That second politician for whom Ramos (pictured above left) appeared to express sympathy on his Twitter feed was 66-year-old Michael Petrouka (above right), who when he was elected in 2014 had been member of The League of the South — a racist hate group that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, advocates “a second Southern secession and a society dominated by ‘European Americans.’ The league believes the ‘godly’ nation it wants to form should be run by an ‘Anglo-Celtic’ (read: white) elite.”
But Petrouka, who was also an outspoken supporter of Roy Moore, the defeated Alabama Senate candidate who was accused of sexually abusing underage girls, was defeated in his bid for re-election to the council in a primary election held on Tuesday, as The Capital Gazette site reported. Two days later, according to police, Ramos attacked the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper organization against whom he carried a long-standing grudge.
Ramos has made no reported statements about what motivated him to commit the mass murder, though he had a long history of threats against the Capital Gazette since the Capital newspaper published an article about his online stalking of a woman he had known in high school, according to court documents.
But why he chose June 29, 2018, to act on his long-simmering anger and threats is currently unknown and no connection between the attack and Petrouka’s election defeat has been made clear. There has been no suggestion or allegation that Petrouka — who ran for president in 2004 as a member of the “Constitution Party” — knew of or was in any way connected to Ramos or the Capital Gazette attack.
Ramos mentioned Petrouka on Twitter on July 8, 2014, after the Capital Gazette wrote an article critical of the far-right candidate. In the tweet, Ramos told the news organization to “shut th f*** up” and defended Petrouka, saying, that the neo-Confederate politician’s “columns don’t get the pickled s*** sued out of him”
Fred Clarkson, an expert on extremism with the anti-right-wing watchdog organization Political Research Associates, told the online magazine Salon that other posts on Ramos’s now-suspended Twitter feed appeared to express similar to views to those held by Petrouka.
“His defense of Michael Peroutka is particularly interesting since his views seem to echo Peroutka, a local politician and think tank leader, and other elements of the theocratic far right,” Clarkson told the site.
The mass murder of journalists also took place against the backdrop of a wave of anti-media anger from America’s right, led by Donald Trump who has condemned the news media on his own Twitter feed as “the enemy of the American People.”
But it is also unclear whether Trump’s rhetoric and other verbal attacks on journalists by Trump’s supporters — such as alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos who recently said that he “can’t wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” as USA Today reported — led Ramos to escalate from threats to deadly violence at the moment that he did.
“For years Ramos stewed in his embitterment, over the newspaper’s coverage of his unsuccessful defamation case and the newspaper’s coverage of his stalking by Facebook of a woman with whom he had gone to high school. But he didn’t act,” Maryland writer Jonathan Hutson, who himself was targeted for online attacks by Ramos in 2015, told Salon. “So the question is, what triggered him?”