The man accused of killing four journalists and a sales assistant at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., used a legally purchased weapon, police said on Friday.
Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare told reporters that the suspected firearm was a pump-action shot gun.
The suspect, Jarrod Ramos, 38, appeared before Anne Arundel County Judge Thomas Pryal of the Maryland District Court on Friday via video conference, was denied bail and remanded into custody. He was charged with five counts of first degree murder.
Anne Arundel County Police allege in a charging document obtained by the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette, that Ramos used the long gun to shatter the newspaper’s glass front doors.
Ramos, who was identified using the building’s security footage, then allegedly opened fire on Capital Gazette employees, killing Gerald Fischman, 61; Rob Hiaasen, 59; John McNamara, 56; Rebecca Smith, 34; and Wendi Winters, 65. Two others, Rachael Pacella and Janel Cooley, were injured in the attack.
“Mr. Ramos then attempted to conceal himself under a desk until the police arrived where they located Mr. Ramos,” charging documents state.
Acting Anne Arundel County Police Chief Bill Krampf told reporters Thursday afternoon that “general threats” were made against the newspaper, describing the shooting as a “targeted attack on the Capital Gazette.”
Ramos had a long-running legal dispute with the Capital Gazette, which was sparked by a column published in July 2011 that detailed a criminal harassment case Ramos was fighting, according to the newspaper. He sued the Capital Gazette for defamation, but the court ruled in favor of the paper in the initial proceedings and when Ramos appealed the original decision. The columnist, as well as the editor and publisher at the time, are no longer employed at the Capital Gazette, per the paper.
Phil Davis, the The Capital’s courts and crime reporter who was in the newsroom at the time of the shooting, told the Baltimore Sun on Thursday shortly after the incident that his workplace resembled “a war zone.”
“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Capital Gazette put out an edition of the paper on Friday, running a blank-page in lieu of an editorial, saying it “was speechless.”