Authorities have confirmed the identify of suspect in the shooting Thursday at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, that left five people dead and others injured.
Law enforcement sources identified the shooting suspect as 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos of Laurel, Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports. Officials previously identified the shooter as a white male in his 30s. Ramos reportedly damaged his fingers to avoid identification, according to ABC 7, but sources said investigators used facial recognition technology to identify him.
A Twitter account that under Ramos’ name suggests he held a longstanding grudge against the Gazette and former columnist Eric Hartley, who now works at the Virginian-Pilot.
The Twitter handle is in Hartley’s name and includes an avatar of Hartley. The account’s bio says: “Dear reader: I created this page to defend myself. Now I’m suing the shit out of half of AA County and making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.”
The Sun reports that Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper and Hartley in July 2011 over “a criminal harassment case against him.”
According to court documents reviewed by Gizmodo, the Capital Gazette covered the suit, which alleged that Ramos “harassed and threatened a former high school classmate,” and repeatedly told the woman to kill herself.
The article the Gazette wrote about the case was titled “Jarrod wants to be your friend,” possibly prompting the Twitter handle @EricHartleyFrnd.
Capital Gazette Communications and Thomas Marquardt, the Gazette’s former editor and publisher, were named as defendants.
The Twitter account included specific death threats.
before the shooter was identified, Marquardt posted on Facebook.
“I can’t even fathom with any degree of understanding what happened at my old newspaper today,” he wrote. “The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.”
Ramos also made a reference to shooting the old office of the Capital Gazette.
Mass shootings cannot happen anywhere, @ChiefKevinDavis. For example: 2000 Capital Drive. No one left there to shoot. http://t.co/jCbhe1uTPa
— Jarrod W. Ramos (@EricHartleyFrnd) September 14, 2014
Tweets on the Ramos account refers repeatedly to attacking journalists, and included praise for the 2015 attack on French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, where 12 journalists were killed for publishing a drawing of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The Twitter account under Ramos’ name had been inactive since January 2016, but a tweet was posted just minutes before the shooting. “Fuck you, leave me alone @judgemoylandfrd,” it says, appearing to reference to Maryland Judge Stephan M. Moyland, who was involved in the suit.
Following the shooting, commentators on either side of the political spectrum guessed at political motives for the shooting. A tweet on the Ramos account from September 2015 threatened that the Gazette’s description of President Donald Trump as unqualified “could end badly.”
As of publication, the Ramos account is still up.
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