Suspect wrote he aimed to kill everyone at Maryland newsroom
A man charged with gunning down five people at a Maryland newspaper sent three letters on the day of the attack, police said, including one that said he was on his way to the Capital Gazette newsroom with the aim “of killing every person present.”
Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County police, said the letters were received Monday. They were mailed to an attorney for The Capital newspaper, a retired judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and a Baltimore judge.
The letter Jarrod Ramos sent to the Annapolis newspaper’s Baltimore-based lawyer was written to resemble a legal motion for reconsideration of his unsuccessful 2012 defamation lawsuit against the paper, a columnist and then-publisher Tom Marquardt.
Marquardt shared a copy of the letter with The Associated Press.
“If this is how the Maryland Judiciary operates, the law now means nothing,” Ramos wrote. He quoted a description of the purpose of a defamation suit, saying it was intended for a defamed person to “resort to the courts for relief instead of wreaking his own vengeance.”
“‘That’ is how your judiciary operates, you were too cowardly to confront those lies, and this is your receipt,” Ramos wrote. He signed it under the chilling statement: “I told you so.” Below that, he wrote that he was going to the newspaper’s office “with the objective of killing every person present.”
In a letter attached to what appeared to be the faux court filing, he also directly addressed retired special appeals court Judge Charles Moylan, who ruled against Ramos in his defamation case. Ramos sued the paper after pleading guilty to harassing a high-school classmate.
“Welcome, Mr. Moylan, to your unexpected legacy: YOU should have died,” he wrote. He signed it: “Friends forever, Jarrod W. Ramos.”
Douglas Colbert, a University of Maryland law professor, described the letters as “very powerful” evidence of intent that the state will make full use of at trial. Colbert said as long as it’s established in court that Ramos authored the letters, they will be used to show his “planning and deliberate actions” on the day of the attack.
President Donald Trump ordered U.S. flags on federal property be flown at half-staff through sunset Tuesday to honor the five people slain. The order came after Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said Monday that Trump had declined his request to lower the flags.
Trump has repeatedly called journalists the “enemy of the people.” He said the day after the shooting journalists shouldn’t fear being violently attacked while doing their job.
The White House says Trump ordered the flags lowered as soon as he learned of the Annapolis mayor’s request.
Several governors around the nation , including Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, also ordered that the U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Tuesday.