As details filter in about Jarrod W. Ramos, the man who police say killed five and wounded two during a shooting rampage in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper in Maryland, one key aspect of his case links him with a host of other mass shooters — a history of harassing or abusing women. According to The New York Times, Ramos held a grudge agains the paper and had made “general threats” against it on social media for years in apparent retaliation for an article the paper had published detailing his alleged harassment of a former high school classmate. In court documents from a harassment case the ex-classmate brought against him, she testified that Ramos had begun verbally abusing her over email after he tried to reconnect with her in 2009.
“He seems to think there’s some sort of relationship here that does not exist. I tried to back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop,” the woman said, adding that after she told him not to contact her again he wrote back that she should “go hang yourself.”
Weeks after that exchange, she said, she was put on probation at the bank where she worked — apparently over emails and calls Ramos had made to the bank telling them that she should be fired.
Ramos was found guilty in the case, given a 90-day suspended sentence, and ordered to go to therapy and never contact his former classmate again. After The Capital published a column detailing the saga, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper that was ultimately dismissed by a judge. When Ramos, who chose to act as his own lawyer, appealed the decision, an appellate court affirmed the dismissal and, for good measure, noted that Ramos appeared not to “have learned his lesson.”
Even as Ramos was trying to sue the paper, he was tweeting profanity-laced tirades denouncing the Capital column about him using the Twitter handle @EricHartleyFrnd — an apparent reference to the author of the original article, reporter Eric Hartley. Last Thursday, Ramos tweeted again for the first time in more than two years — this time using the handle @judgemoylanfrdn, which appeared to be based on the name of the judge in his defamation case. Ramos has been charged with five counts of murder.
Killed in the attack were five employees of the newspaper — Gerald Fischman, 61, Rob Hiaasen, 59, John McNamara, 56, Rebecca Smith, 34, and Wendi Winters, 65. For more on those who died in the attack, click here.
Read the full story at The New York Times.