The suspected gunman in the Maryland newspaper shooting previously sued editors for defamation and lost the case

  • The suspected gunman in the Capital Gazette shooting on Thursday has been identified as Jarrod Ramos, according law-enforcement officials cited by a multiple news reports. He is believed to be in his late 30s.
  • Five people were killed, several others were injured in the shooting.
  • A man with the same name filed a lawsuit against the newspaper in 2012. Ramos accused the publication of defaming him in a column that was published in 2011.
  • The article in question told the account of a woman who described a "yearlong nightmare" she said began after she was unexpectedly contacted by Ramos.
  • Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge related to his interactions with the woman.

The suspected gunman in custody after a deadly mass shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper has been identified as Jarrod Ramos, according law-enforcement officials cited by multiple news outlets Thursday night.

Police did not immediately confirm the suspected gunman's name, but they called the shooting "a targeted attack" and said the suspect, who they identified as a man in his late 30s, may have been motivated by a "vendetta" against the local newspaper.

Multiple news outlets reported on Thursday night that a man also named Jarrod Ramos filed a lawsuit against the newspaper in 2012. Ramos accused the Capital Gazette of publishing a defamatory article titled, "Jarrod wants to be your friend." According to court documents, it described a "yearlong nightmare" in which a woman said Ramos harassed her after contacting her on Facebook.

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Deadly shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland
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Deadly shooting at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - Several people were feared killed Thursday in a shooting at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. A reporter for the Capital Gazette, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.' He said several people were killed.'There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Jarrod Ramos, suspected of killing five people at the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018 is seen in this Anne Arundel Police Department booking photo provided June 29, 2018. Anne Arundel Police/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Police gather after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook (R) and photographer Joshua McKerrow (L) work on the next days newspaper while awaiting news from their colleagues in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by Ivan Couronne / AFP) (Photo credit should read IVAN COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police gather near the Capitol Gazette newspaper office where a shooting occurred in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
ANNAPOLIS, MD - JUNE 28: Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Photo by Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us
A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead.
There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload
Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can't say much more and don… https://t.co/i1RmtpXmO9
Police officers respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Greg Savoy
Journalist E.B Furgurson (R) takes notes with two other people as police officers respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Greg Savoy
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - JUNE 28, 2018: Gavin Buckley, Mayor of Annapolis, comments on the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
A New York Police officer is seen deployed outside the New York Times building following a fatal shooting at a Maryland newspaper, in New York City, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A member of the FBI responds to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials secure a crime scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Capital Gazette reporter Chase Cook (R) and photographer Joshua McKerrow (L) work on the next days newspaper while awaiting news from their colleagues in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by Ivan Couronne / AFP) (Photo credit should read IVAN COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
New York Police officers are seen deployed outside the New York Times building, following a fatal shooting at a Maryland newspaper, in New York City, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - Several people were feared killed Thursday in a shooting at the building that houses the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. A reporter for the Capital Gazette, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.' He said several people were killed.'There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (C) speaks during a press conference following a shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials secure a crime scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
FBI SWAT team members confer near a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
A newspaper stand selling the Capital Gazette is pictured in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28, 2018. - At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper published in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington.A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted that a 'gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees.''There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,' Davis said. (Photo by ZACH GIBSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others, in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Police officers talk to a man as they respond to an active shooter inside a city building in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018.

(REUTERS/Greg Savoy)

Police gather after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper, killing at least five people and injuring several others in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Sheriff's department members outside 888 Bestgate Road after a shooting in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 28: A member of the NYPD stands guard in front of ABC headquarters as they increase security in Manhattan at major media companies following a shooting today at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland on June 28, 2018 in New York City. One suspect is in custody after up to five people were reported killed in the shooting at the local newspaper. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS, MD - JUNE 28: Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Photo by Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
Police respond to a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper building on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
The scene outside 888 Bestgate, where an active shooter was in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom, with heavy police, fire, and rescue presence on Thursday, June 28, 2018 in Annapolis, Md. (Joshua McKerrow/Capital Gazette/TNS via Getty Images)
BPD at @baltimoresun for precautionary sweep in light of Capital-Gazette incident https://t.co/ZduDQAcoDS
Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis. I am in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and… https://t.co/UmUc8MhuF2
Emergency response vehicles drive near a shooting scene after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Law enforcement officials survey the scene after a gunman fired through a glass door at the Capital Gazette newspaper and sprayed the newsroom with gunfire, killing at least five people and injuring several others, in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Police stage behind the Westfield Annapolis Mall after a shooting in the Capital Gazette Newspaper office/newsroom on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
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"Out of the blue, Jarrod Ramos wrote and thanked her for being the only person ever to say hello or be nice to him in school," the article, which was printed in full in the court documents, read.

The article continued:

"'She didn't remember him, so he sent pictures. She Googled him, found a yearbook picture and realized they apparently did go to Arundel High together.

"'He was having some problems, so she wrote back and tried to help, suggesting a counseling center.

"''I just thought I was being friendly,' she said.

"'That sparked months of emails in which Ramos alternately asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself. He emailed her company and tried to get her fired.

"'She stopped writing back and told him to stop, but he continued. When she blocked him from seeing her Facebook page, he found things she wrote on other people's pages and taunted her with it, attaching screenshots of the postings to some of his emails.

"'She called police, and for months he stopped. But then he started again, nastier than ever.

"'All this without having seen her in person since high school. They never met until they came to court a couple of months ago.'"

According to the article, Ramos told the woman that her efforts to avoid him were futile: "'He would send me things and basically tell me, 'You're going to need restraining order now.' 'You can't make me stop. I know all these things about you.' 'I'm going to tell everyone about your life.'"

Ramos, who was 31 years old at the time, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge. The presiding judge described Ramos's behavior as "rather bizarre."

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Reactions to Capital Gazette shooting
Strongly condemn the evil act of senseless violence in Annapolis, MD. A violent attack on innocent journalists doin… https://t.co/yYsg44MxfT
Another shooting. Another night in America where a father, a wife, a friend, a neighbor won’t be coming home. We ca… https://t.co/zdl0fAGZIp
The senseless attack on a Maryland newspaper today is sickening. God bless these journalists. We pray for them and their families tonight.
We try to expose corruption. We fight to get access to public records & bring to light the inner workings of govern… https://t.co/majPZ7yoe2
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issues statement on shooting at the Annapolis Capital Gazette. #capitalgazette https://t.co/WJa6xBLQRG
Attacks on journalists are attacks on freedom of expression. @UNESCO has resources online with information on how t… https://t.co/Pbz8iJSRTU
I am deeply appreciative of the well wishes my co-workers and I recieved from you all today. My thoughts and prayer… https://t.co/WeddNyjLsD
Journalists tell the stories of our communities, protect democracy, & often put their lives on the line just to do… https://t.co/TqtU9orqrD
Hearing the confirmation of names I was given hours ago of those lost, it's all too real now. Almost feel guilty sp… https://t.co/jDjViJdiQ2
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At the time, Christopher Drewniak, Ramos' lawyer, attempted to explain his client's behavior: "I read about this all the time, where Facebook conversations, email conversations, start out fine and then take a turn where they become nastier over the course of time," Drewniak reportedly said. "And this is apparently one of those situations."

Drewniak said his client had a computer engineering degree and worked for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to court documents. He reportedly had no previous criminal record.

During Ramos' 2013 appeal, the appellate court judge in that case appeared to rebuke Ramos, who was representing himself in the matter: "A lawyer would almost certainly have told him not to proceed with this case. It reveals a fundamental failure to understand what defamation law is and more particularly, what defamation law is not."

"He is aggrieved because the story was sympathetic toward the harassment victim and was not equally understanding of the harassment perpetrator," the opinion said. "The appellant wanted equal coverage of his side of the story. He wanted a chance to put the victim in a bad light, in order to justify and explain why he did what he did."

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