Prosecutor: Capital Gazette Shooter Barricaded Exit Door; Faces 5 Murder Counts
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Jarrod Ramos, the suspect in the shooting at the Capital Gazette, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
A bail review was held for Ramos Friday morning, and he is being held without bond. Ramos appeared at the hearing via video feed and said nothing during the bail review, but his attorney asked for a gag order, which the judge denied for now.
Court documents obtained by WJZ allege Ramos, 38, entered the building at about 2:33 p.m. Thursday and shot out the doors using a pump-action shotgun.
Prosecutor Wes Adams said Ramos barricaded the back exit door of the Capital Gazette so victims could not exit.
Adams said Ramos "worked his way through the office," and one of the five people who was killed was shot while trying to escape out the back exit that had been barricaded.
He also said Ramos had an escape plan that he never implemented.
"While I appreciate the public wanting to know all the fine details, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to a fair trial. So I ask that you allow the process to work," Adams said following Friday's bail review.
New video obtained by WJZ shows police taking Ramos into custody. It was recorded by Marjorie Rock, a woman who was in the building of her dentist's office as the chaos began to unfold.
Ramos was identified with the help of the facial recognition technology Maryland Image Repository System because of what Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tom Altomare said was a "lag" in getting results from the computer system used to analyze fingerprints. Police denied news reports that Ramos had mutilated his fingertips to thwart his identification.
Authorities are not searching for any other suspects in this shooting.
The shotgun used in the attack was legally purchased about a year ago, officials said.
They say Ramos then entered the business and shot people he encountered. He then allegedly hid under a desk until police arrived and located him. Police say the surveillance within the building was used to positively identify Ramos as the shooter and to verify the events described in the documents.
Police located his vehicle a short time after the shooting. After getting a search warrant, officers went through the vehicle, but police would not release what was found inside.
Authorities also searched Ramos' home in the 400 block of Armstrong Court in Laurel, Maryland, and reportedly discovered evidence that he had planned the attack, although they didn't go into detail about the plans.
Ramos had been posting online threats against the newspaper for years. He was upset at an article they wrote about him harassing a former high school classmate. Ramos later lost a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper.
A detective was assigned to investigate it, and that detective spoke to legal counsel with the Capital Gazette.
Police wrote of a conference call about Ramos with Capital Gazette staff.
"I indicated that I did not believe that Mr. Ramos was a threat to employees for the Capital... He has not attempted to enter the Capital Newspaper building or sent direct threatening correspondence," the report states.
The Capital Gazette did not wish to pursue criminal charges, as there was a fear that doing so would "exacerbate an already flammable situation."
RELATED: Police Called Capital Gazette Suspect No Threat In 2013
Brennan McCarthy is an attorney who represented the former classmate Ramos harassed.
"He was as angry an individual as I have ever seen," McCarthy said. "She lost her job because of this individual….He is malevolent. He forwarded a letter to her employer, basically stating that she was bipolar and a drunkard, which is ridiculous."
A Twitter account reportedly belonging to Ramos referenced past mass shootings and targeted Capital Gazette employees dating back to 2012.
"I, for one, received what I considered to be a death threat," said Tom Marquardt, who was The Capital Gazette's executive editor. "I feared for my life, I feared for my family's life and I feared for my staff's life."
Marquardt said he went to police about Ramos' threat, but was told nothing could be done.
A 2013 police report obtained by WJZ states, "Ramos makes mention of blood in the water, journalist hell, hit man, open season, glad there won't be a murderous rampage..."
Chief Altomare defended his department's actions in 2013.
"We had a detective assigned to investigate it...On the conference call, it was discussed that the Capital Gazette did not wish to pursue criminal charges. There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation," Chief Altomare said.
Anne Arundel County Police identified the victims as Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. Police said two others had minor injuries, and the newspaper later reported both were employees later released from a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Fischman was an editorial page editor; Hiassen was an assistant editor and columnist; McNamara was a writer; Smith was a sales assistant; and Winters was the special publications editor.
Altomare also said that about 300 officers from more than a dozen different law enforcement agencies responded to the scene Thursday to assist.
The two people injured in the shooting were identified as Capital Gazette employees Rachel Pacella and Jenet Cooley, and they have been treated and released from the hospital.
There were about 170 people who fled the scene before speaking with officers, and police are asking any of those people, or anyone with additional information on Ramos, to call them at 410-222-0473. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the tip line at 410-222-4707.
WJZ's Mike Hellgren and George Solis contributed to this story.
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