The Capital Gazette gunman used a legally purchased pump-action shotgun, police say

  • The Capital Gazette shooter used a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun to kill five people in the Maryland newsroom, the police said Friday.
  • The suspect appeared in court Friday morning and was ordered detained until trial. He faces five counts of first-degree murder.
  • Authorities said they had searched the suspect’s car and apartment and found evidence indicating he had been planning the attack.
  • The suspect has not been cooperating with investigators, the police said.

The gunman who killed five staff members at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday used a legally purchased pump-action shotgun in the attack, the police said Friday.

The suspect, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, faces five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendy Winters.

Ramos appeared in court Friday morning and was ordered held without bail until trial.

A prosecutor, Wes Adams, also on Friday accused Ramos of barricading the Capital Gazette newsroom’s exit door to prevent employees from escaping, according to the Associated Press.

Adams alleged that Ramos entered through the newsroom’s front door and “worked his way through the office,” shooting the employees, including one victim who attempted to escape through the back door.

Tim Altomare, the Anne Arundel County police chief, told reporters at a news conference that Ramos hadn’t been cooperating with authorities.

“We’re not getting very much communication,” he said.

Altomare said authorities had located and executed search warrants on Ramos’ car and apartment and found “evidence showing the origination of planning things like that.” The motive is still unclear, Altomare said.

The evidence “shows what we knew we would find, which is that we have one bad guy and for his own reasons he chose to do what he did yesterday,” he said, adding: “This was a targeted attack. We can’t fathom why that person chose to do this.”

Altomare confirmed news reports that Ramos had sued Capital Gazette Communications in 2012 over an article published the previous year by The Capital about a misdemeanour harassment charge to which Ramos pleaded guilty.

The 2011 Capital article described the testimony of a woman who said she endured a “yearlong nightmare” when Ramos repeatedly harassed and threatened her after he contacted her on Facebook.

Altomare also confirmed that the police had investigated Ramos in 2012 on suspicion of harassing Capital Gazette staff members but that the newsgroup declined to pursue criminal charges.

“There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation,” he said.

Altomare added that he was unsure whether a misdemeanour harassment charge should have prohibited Ramos from purchasing his weapon under Maryland law.

Asked by reporters whether Ramos had given any indication of how his encounter with officers after the shooting would end, Altomare said he didn’t know. Charging documents indicate the police found Ramos hiding under one of the newsroom desks.

“Using statistics, generally active shooters are wanting to go out in a blaze of glory – I just can’t get into his head,” Altomare said.

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