Deadly shooting at US paper

Jun 30, 2018, 08:12 IST | Agencies

Five dead; shooter arrested minutes after the rampage, suspect had vendetta against newspaper

Deadly shooting at US paper

A man with a long-standing grudge against a newspaper in the US city of Annapolis massacred five people, four of them journalists, as he blasted his way through its newsroom with a shotgun and smoke grenades in what police say was a "targeted attack." The suspect barricaded an exit so that employees could not escape, says a prosecutor.

The shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, that also injured three others, was the deadliest day for US journalism since 9/11 terror attacks. The shooter identified as Jarrod Warren Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. "This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette. This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm," Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief William Krampf said.

Jarrod Ramos
Jarrod Ramos

The five persons killed are assistant editor Rob Hiaasen, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, editor and reporter John McNamara, special publications editor Wendi Winters and sales assistant Rebecca Smith, police said. A few hours before the shooting, a profane tweet was posted to a Twitter account under Ramos' name. Ramos was taken into custody at the scene. He had damaged his finger tips in an apparent effort to thwart identification by law enforcement. County executive Steve Schuh said that the suspect was hiding under a desk in the building when police officers arrived at the scene. He said there was "no exchange of fire".

Defiant staff at The Capital have published a Friday edition after the shooting. Pics/AFP
Defiant staff at The Capital have published a Friday edition after the shooting. Pics/AFP

Suspect lost court battle with paper
Almost a year earlier, Thomas Hartley, a former columnist for The Capital, the group’s flagship paper, wrote a column describing the suspect’s interactions with an unnamed woman Jarrod Warren Ramos contacted over Facebook, court documents showed. Hartley said Ramos had sent her numerous emails in which he called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself. The lawsuit named Hartley, its then editor-publisher Thomas Marquardt, and Capital-Gazette Communications, then the parent company of the paper. Ramos had pled guilty to criminal harassment five days before Hartley published his column, records showed. He claimed in court documents that his perspective was not fairly represented. His lawsuit was dismissed in 2013, and an appellate court upheld the dismissal in 2015.

Attacks against media offices globally
Shamshad TV, Afghanistan
Terrorists disguised as police officers launched a three hour gun and grenade attack inside the Kabul offices of Shamshad TV in November 2017, killing at least one person and leaving two dozen wounded. ISIS claimed the attack. It later also said it was responsible for the April 2018 double suicide blast in Kabul that killed nine journalists and 16 others.

Charlie Hebdo, France
The terrorist attack on the central Paris offices of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo in January, 2015 left 12 people dead and profoundly shocked the nation.

Newspaper bombings, Nigeria
Double bomb attacks at newspaper offices in the capital Abuja and the city of Kaduna in April 2012 marked the first such attacks against the news media in Nigeria by terrorists. Eight people were killed.

Soir d’Alerie, Algeria
A February 1996 car bomb blast at the Maison de la Presse in Algiers killed some 21 people, including three journalists from the Soir d’Algerie newspaper.

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