ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The man suspected of killing five people in or near the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper had sued the paper for defamation and lost.
The alleged shooter was identified in a bulletin e-mailed to Maryland law enforcement officials as Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, Md.
Ramos seemed to carry a grudge for years against the newspaper after he was the subject of a column describing how he harassed a former classmate from Arundel High School online, first through Facebook and then through e-mails. Ramos pleaded guilty in July 2011 to harassment. In a column written by Eric Hartley several days later, the victim described how Ramos had stalked her online and perhaps caused her to lose her job.
Ramos then apparently created a website detailing his complaints against Hartley and the newspaper, and noted that his conviction had been reduced to probation four months later. “I certainly did a bad thing,” the website states, “but don’t shun me for how it was portrayed by this newspaper.”
In 2012, Ramos sued Hartley, his editor and the Capital Gazette in Prince George’s County District Court. A hearing was held in March 2013, and a judge threw the case out.
Ramos appealed the ruling, and that was also rejected by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. “He is aggrieved because the story was sympathetic toward the harassment victim and was not equally understanding of the harassment perpetrator,” Judge Charles Moylan Jr. wrote.
The day after the ruling, Ramos tweeted “[Expletive] you, leave me alone,” with a link to the opinion by Moylan. On Thursday, just minutes before he allegedly opened fire at the Capital Gazette’s offices, he again tweeted, “[Expletive] you, leave me alone,” with a link to a Twitter account critical of Moylan.
Ramos’ profile photo on Twitter is a photo of Hartley.