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Families Of Capital Gazette Shooting Victims Sue The Baltimore Sun, Tribune Publishing

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- The families of the five Capital Gazette shooting victims are suing The Baltimore Sun and its parent company, Tribune Publishing, for the alleged security lapses that allowed gunman Jarrod Ramos to enter the newsroom on June 28, 2018 and open fire.

"Ramos was able to succeed in his announced and repeatedly threatened intention to shoot employees of The Capital due to a series of negligent acts and failures to act by the companies responsible for obtaining, providing, maintaining and securing the premises where Plaintiffs and/or their deceased loved ones reported to work each day," one of the lawsuits stated.

Rebecca Smith, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen and John McNamara were killed in the mass shooting inside 888 Bestgate Road, Suite 104, in Annapolis. Several others were assaulted.

The lawsuit also named their former office building owners -- Bestgate Corporate Center, LLC, St. John Properties, Inc., St. John Properties Acquisitions, LLC, and/or St. John Properties LLC --  as defendants in the lawsuit as well.

The lawsuit stated the defendants each breached their duties of reasonable care to make the premises safe and to exercise reasonable care for the safety of their tenants and/or invitees by, among other failings: failing to conduct a security review of the premises; failing to take steps to
prevent the newsroom from being directly accessible by anyone from the lobby of the building; failing to provide solid doors capable of preventing entry to the newsroom by assailants; failing to provide a security guard or even front desk person(s) at the entrance; failing to take any steps to
limit or monitor entry to the building or to the newsroom; failing to maintain locks and/or controlled access on side or back doors (and, in fact, affirmatively disabling the controlled access features for one such door); and failing to take any steps to protect employees of Capital-Gazette Communications, LLC from known and foreseeable risks to their health and safety."

The plaintiffs believe the companies didn't take action to protect their employees despite threats against journalists and the news media. Ramos was upset about a 2011 article published about a harassment case involving him. In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper.

In a letter to the editor, Ramos wrote, "You've crippled my life for a year, and now I'm going to cripple your company forever."

The lawsuit alleges as a direct result of the defendants' failings, Ramos was able to access the building and block of exits and ultimately shoot and kill the five employees "all without being detected, observed, identified, engaged, slowed, stopped, or hindered in any way."

A statement on behalf of Tribune Publishing and The Baltimore Sun said, "we recognize and share the continued grief of the victims' family members, friends and colleagues. The five lives lost in this senseless attack always will serve as a reminder of the important role that independent journalism provides for communities across America."

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