A lone gunmen opened fire in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, today, killing five and gravely injuring an unspecified number of others. A suspect, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, is in custody.
Authorities have called it a targeted attack. “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said William Krampf, Anne Arundel County Deputy Police Chief. “This person was prepared today to come in. He was prepared to shoot people.”
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Ramos has been previously involved in legal proceedings with the Capital Gazette. In 2012, Ramos sued the Gazette for defamation. The suit was brought against a columnist and the paper’s former editor and publisher. A Maryland court found for the Gazette and the journalist in 2015.
The Baltimore Sun owns the Capital Gazette.
One hundred and seventy people were inside the building at the time of the shooting, according to police. They say Ramos used a shotgun in the attack, as well as “smoke grenades.” Authorities also say Ramos mutilated his fingers, attempting to make it harder to make an identification. It was being reported that authorities used facial recognition technology to identify him.
Phil Davis, a crime reporter for the Gazette who was present at the time of the shooting, tweeted as he was waiting to be interviewed by police.
“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. 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.”
The attack drew widespread condemnation.
“The Capital Gazette is my hometown paper, and I have the greatest respect for the fine journalists, and all the men and women, who work there,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said. “They serve each day to shine light on the world around us so that we might see with more clarity and greater understanding.”
“There is no place in our society for this kind of hatred and violence, and the individual responsible for this horrendous crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Today’s violence at the Capital Gazette was tragic & evil. My heart goes out to all affected in this brutal & senseless attack, & I send thoughts & prayers for comfort to the friends, family & colleagues of those killed & injured,” tweeted First Lady Melania Trump.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted the White House’s condemnations. “Strongly condemn the evil act of senseless violence in Annapolis, MD. A violent attack on innocent journalists doing their job is an attack on every American. Our prayers are with the victims and their friends and families,” she wrote.
Despite the tragedy, journalists at the paper remained defiant. “I can tell you this: We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow,” wrote Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook on Twitter.