Capital Gazette Journalist Killed While Attacking Mass Shooter

Wendi Winters' coworkers said she saved their lives during the June 28 attack on their newsroom.

Annapolis, MD – The heroic actions of Capital Gazette journalist Wendi Winters likely saved the lives of many of her coworkers during the targeted attack inside the paper’s 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 and shot his way into the office, The Baltimore Sun reported.

While employees scrambled for cover and hid beneath their desks, Ramos walked around the newsroom, shooting his victims.

"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 in the wake of the attack.

Just weeks before the gunman’s ruthless rampage, 20-year veteran journalist Wendi Winters took an active shooter training at her church, the Capital Gazette reported.

During the training, she learned that her last option during an attack would be to fight, and that’s exactly what she did.

Her coworker, Janel Cooley, said she was under her desk when she saw Winters rise up with a recycling bin and a trash can in her hands.

According to Cooley, Winters yelled at Ramos to stop and charged towards him.

Photojournalist Paul Gillespie said he heard Winters holler a defiant “No!” at the gunman from his hiding spot a few feet away.

“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Cooley told the Capital Gazette. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting… anyone to charge him.”

Five employees – including Winters – were killed during Ramos’ rampage, and two more were wounded. Her coworkers agreed that Winters’ heroic self-sacrifice likely saved their lives.

“It sounds like her,” Winters’ son, Phoenix Geimer told the Capital Gazette. “She’s got four kids – she’s not going to take it from anyone.”

Anne Arundel County Police Corporal Jim Shiloh conducted the training Winters attended at the Unitarian Universalist church, and said that trainees there were taught that creating a distraction could help provide others with an opportunity to escape.

“I think that Wendi doing what she did served as enough of a distraction that maybe he didn’t see us,” reporter Rachael Pacella told the Capital Gazette. “I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life.”

Police have said the gunman had a personal “vendetta” against the newspaper and that he conducted a “targeted attack” on the Capital Gazette’s newsroom.

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.

“I remember telling our attorneys, 'This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’” Marquardt told The Baltimore Sun.

Comments (20)
No. 1-20
NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

“The newspaper ultimately opted to not pursue criminal charges either, because they feared it would further enrage Ramo.” Oh sure, just be nice to him and he will like us! The law was there to protect these people and the liberal management team would not use the laws.

kerbango
kerbango

Its the liberal way. Be nice and it all beciomes well in the universe.

Mrs10
Mrs10

What a great story to come out of that horrific scene! Her sacrifice saved many.

LEO0301
LEO0301

This woman did what everyone should do in an active shooting situations. I'm not going to crawl up in a ball and wait to be killed. I'd rather go down fighting.

With all the information the paper had about this lunatic why didn't they do something to secure their building. I don't know, like maybe having locked doors or a security guard?!

cspcapt
cspcapt

too bad she wasn't armed

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I wonder whether stricter federal gun control laws could have prevented this tragedy

wmc50
wmc50

@BAD You mean like making it against the law to go about armed to the terror of the people, or breaking and entering with the intent -to kill everybody you see-, or Homicide? If the lawyers for the organization had followed through on their due diligence; pursued a restraining order; perhaps the Court could have required him to turn over his weapons for safe keeping and even required him to seek anger management counseling...not that counseling would have stopped this. The Court could have even put him on the NICS list as a prohibited individual regarding further firearms purchases. Wait a minute, dang it all, all those options already exist.

SDLucas
SDLucas

Kudos to the Brave lady. As many crazy and violent people as our society is producing, her training and equipment should have included defensive firearms use; facing firearms with trashcans is not an effective defensive technique. Mass shooting attempts simply do not succeed, except when perpetrated by military or para-military forces, when the targeted individuals are well armed and trained. By the way, reports of this crime included assertions that LEOs responded in about one minute; does anyone “on the job” or otherwise now how that astoundingly rapid response happened? Were they already there on another matter or surveilling the perp or what?

SDLucas
SDLucas

BURGERSALLDAY, your little one-note samba sure is getting tedious.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The steady drum beat of stories where it needs to be said is tragically tedious. But, every time one of these stories comes up, one must make the connection, lest one forget that many, if not most, of these tragedies are preventable with better law.

Truthrulestheday
Truthrulestheday

What a load of crap, Burger boy! We are loaded with laws already & NONE of them would have prevented this! Stop being so friggin’ naive. Companies need to ‘harden the target’. Secure entry points; armed guards; armed/trained employees

FrogHill
FrogHill

BaD

I think stricter rules against murder would help. Maybe even make it a law or something?

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Well, then we need to add different kinds of laws. Insurance requirements. Criminal liability for stolen guns. Registries to check owners for mental problems on an ongoing absis, etc., etc. This particular shooter did plenty to demonstrate that he shouldn't have been sold a gun -- yet he was -- and it was legal. So there is a problem right there.

NDNBORI
NDNBORI

Sad ..... Brave woman! .... Anti Gun Laws don't help, this guy committed murder with a prohibited firearm :/ ..........so he broke all kinds of laws .......... so much for laws.

believer2003
believer2003

Honestly all news repoters should be concealed carryers

Mudpup
Mudpup

Reporters should report the news, not be the news, not manipulate the news, and not add their bias. If Wendi was allowed to conceal carry, I bet she would have put the bastard down before he got off his second shot. Wish I had known her.

pbm4jc
pbm4jc

Soooooo... where were all the men? Phh, I forgot. Gender equality, right?

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

Instead of stricter gun control, it helps when the family knows that their brother / son / dad whatever Johnny Nutball is crazier than a shithouse rat but does nothing to gather up all his dangerous weapons. And then want to come out and take my guns from me. Fuck him and fuck them.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

All I know is that this person should not have been allowed to purchase / possess a gun. Need both better enforcement of gun control laws we have, as well as even stricter laws to decrease the number of times this sort of tragedy happens. The police cannot be expected to prevent this sort of tragedy when the shooting starts.

Hi_estComnDenomnn
Hi_estComnDenomnn

I disagree, I think in this case, better application of the laws period would have worked, and not the police, the DA in the court room. Instead of letting him plead to a misdemeanor harassment charge, which allowed him to still legally purchase the shotgun, they shoulda hit him with a stalking charger perhaps, or worse. He obviously sounded pretty serious, pretty dangerous, and highly unstable. Maybe a part of a bigger charge, could have been a medical evaluation, to try determine if he was a threat to the public. Problem is, even a law abiding citizen who already owns guns can snap given the right conditions, and the wrong person. (like many mass shooters who own arsenals of weaponry) The mental health of these people I think goes under the radar for too long..... Maybe a current clean bill of mental health card program could prevent some of these shootings. A card that has to be updated every so often, required along with a criminal background check to purchase a firearm. Of course, Ramos might have opted for a knife, or car to do his killing given his state of mind.

Another venue is social media. This guy had tons of violent intent expressed there.