Annapolis, MD – The Capital Gazette newspaper published an editorial in their Sunday edition that said the paper has been receiving death threats in the wake of the tragic shootings at their offices, and blamed President Donald Trump.
The column began with words of tribute from Annapolis-based newspaper about their murdered colleagues, and thanked the community that has supported the publication so well in the aftermath of the tragedy.
But then the writing turned very dark, as the Capital Gazette revealed that their publication had also received death threats in the wake of the mass shooting committed at their offices on Thursday.
“Here’s what else we won’t forget: Death threats and emails from people we don’t know celebrating our loss, or the people who called for one of our reporters to get fired because she got angry and cursed on national television after witnessing her friends getting shot,” the unsigned column read.
“We won’t forget being called an enemy of the people,” the newspaper said. “No, we won’t forget that. Because exposing evil, shining light on wrongs and fighting injustice is what we do.”
They were referencing a tweet by President Trump on Feb. 17, 2017, and in doing so, attempted to squarely lay the blame for the active shooter incident at the Capital Gazette, and the threats that ensued, on the President.
A 38-year-old gunman with a personal “vendetta” against the newspaper killed five staff members, and wounded two more, in what police called a “targeted attack” on their newsroom on June 28.
Armed with a 12-guage pump-action shotgun and smoke grenades, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos barged into the Capital Gazette building on June 28 and shot his way into the newsroom, The Baltimore Sun reported.
"I'll tell you this, the fellow was there to kill as many people as he could," Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said during the agency's press conference on Friday morning.
Ramos refused to cooperate with police after he was captured. He was successfully identified using facial recognition software.
During a Thursday night press conference, Ann Arundel County police officials said that Ramos had a “long running feud” with the Capital Gazette, and that he had made threats on social media “indicating violence” prior to the attack, the New York Post reported.
“You just f--ked with the wrong person,” Ramos tweeted to the Capital Gazette in 2013, according to the New York Post. “You have awakened a sleeping giant f--ker.”
The feud may have begun in July of 2011, after the newspaper published an article about a criminal harassment charge that was pending against Ramos, The Baltimore Sun reported.
According to the article, Ramos had attempted to initiate a relationship with a woman he knew in high school by sending her a Facebook friend request.
During the “yearlong nightmare” that ensued, Ramos allegedly told the woman to kill herself and called her vulgar names. Then he tried to get her fired from her job by emailing the bank where she worked.
Ramos eventually pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offense and was placed on probation.
He sued the Capital Gazette for defamation in 2012, according to the Capital Gazette.
The news outlet’s former editor and publisher, Thomas Marquardt, said that Ramos harassed the paper and its employees “for years.”
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt recalled. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’”
Marquardt said he reported Ramos’ threats to police in 2013 and that he considered filing a restraining order him, but ultimately did not.
The newspaper ultimately opted to not pursue criminal charges either, because they feared it would further enrage Ramos, Chief Altomare said on Friday.
“I remember telling our attorneys, 'This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’” Marquardt told The Baltimore Sun.
After the court dismissed Ramos’ lawsuit in 2013, he appealed to the higher court, the Capital Gazette reported.
In 2015, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling.
“A lawyer would almost certainly have told him not to proceed with this case," the court noted, according to the Capital Gazette. "It reveals a fundamental failure to understand what defamation law is and, more particularly, what defamation law is not."
“F--k you, leave me alone,” Ramos tweeted one day after the ruling, according to The Baltimore Sun.