Capital Gazette suspect allegedly mailed threatening letters before shooting
The alleged gunman in the killings Thursday at The Capital sent three threatening letters before the shooting rampage at the Annapolis newspaper, Anne Arundel County police said Monday.
Thomas Marquardt, the Capital’s former publisher, said the paper’s former attorney turned over to police mail received at his law office Monday — a document, signed in the suspect’s name, saying he was on his way to the newspaper “with the objective of killing every person present.”
The document was dated June 28, the day of the shootings. It included instructions to share a copy with Marquardt, the former publisher said. The document was signed Jarrod W. Ramos, who is charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the mass shooting.
Capital Gazette suspect allegedly mailed threatening letters before Thursday's shooting. https://t.co/7Uyv34paCv
— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) July 2, 2018
Anne Arundel County police said investigators believe Ramos mailed three letters in total, including one to Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals and one to a Baltimore City judge.
Police spokesman Marc Limansky declined to describe the letters but said they bear Ramos’ name and return address. He said police believe they were sent before the attack, and detectives are now investigating.
“They’ll examine them and see what the letters show,” Limansky said. “It could point to different things. It could maybe open up another avenue of exploration.”
The document received by The Capital’s former attorney is styled a “Motion for Reconsideration” by Maryland’s top court, which in 2016 refused to hear a defamation case Ramos had filed against the newspaper.
“You were too cowardly to confront those lies, and this is your receipt,” the document says. “I told you so.”
The writer says a copy was being sent to the newspaper’s lawyer.
“I further certify I then did proceed to the office of respondent Capital-Gazette Communications … with the objective of killing every person present,” the document says.
A letter attached to the filing is addressed to retired Judge Charles Moylan Jr., who wrote a scathing opinion against Ramos as part of the defamation case.
“Welcome, Mr. Moylan, to your unexpected legacy: YOU should have died,” the letter says.
In an interview, Marquardt called the document “chilling.”
Police say Ramos used a shotgun to blast through the doors of The Capital newsroom Thursday afternoon. In a post on Twitter moments before the shooting, Ramos wrote, “F — you, leave me alone” and tagged another account he appears to have created in Moylan’s name.
Ramos is charged in the killings of editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who led special publications; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a recently hired sales assistant.
Ramos held a long-standing grudge against the paper. It began with an article in The Capital in 2011 that detailed a criminal harassment charge that a woman filed against Ramos, a former high school classmate of hers.
A woman whose harassment by Jarrod Ramos led to his vendetta against the Capital Gazette newspaper says his relentless abuse forced her to move out of Maryland, where Ramos is now charged with five counts of murder. https://t.co/358XED7TDq
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 2, 2018
Capital editor Rick Hutzell told staff members Monday morning that a threatening letter had been sent by Ramos. He told his reporters not to open their own mail going forward.
“Do not open any mail,” he said. “We’re going to filter it first.”
A spokeswoman for the judiciary declined to comment.