A gunman shot to death Wendi Winters, community correspondent for the Capital Gazette, in the Capital’s newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 28 in what police called a "targeted attack," the .
Police arrested Jarrod Ramos, 38, and charged him with five counts of first-degree murder, the paper said, citing court documents. He had previously filed an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against the paper.
Winters, 65, was one of five people killed, four of whom were journalists. The other victims were editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, sports writer John McNamara, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, and Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant, the newspaper reported.
Winters moved to Maryland 20 years ago and began working as a stringer for the Capital Gazette, where she built a reputation for connecting with the community, her colleagues told The Baltimore Sun. Winters, who has a son and three daughters, wrote for news services and a Manhattan weekly, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Ramos had a longstanding grudge against the paper. In 2011, the paper had reported on a criminal harassment case against Ramos related to his stalking a former classmate on Facebook. In 2012, he filed a defamation suit against the paper, which was later dismissed. In 2015, a judge upheld the dismissal on appeal, according to court documents and news reports.
The Capital Gazette reported that the paper had received threats from Ramos leading up to the attack. A Twitter account under Ramos’s name included several posts related to the case and vitriol aimed at the paper, according to news reports. The profile photo on the account was an avatar of Eric Hartley, the author of the article about Ramos’s harassment case.
Tom Marquardt, the newspaper’s editor and publisher until 2012, told media that he had grappled with how to respond to Ramos’s threats and contacted the police, but decided against filing a lawsuit or requesting a legal restraining order. "I said during that time, ‘This guy is crazy enough to come in and blow us all away," he told The Los Angeles Times.
The Capital Gazette said neither Hartley nor Marquardt, who were the defendants of the defamation lawsuit, are still employed by the paper, and they were not present during the shootings.
Ramos carried a shotgun and hand-grenades. Law enforcement officials said he had barricaded the rear exit of the newsroom to trap his victims inside, according the Capital Gazette.