Capital Gazette shooting suspect barricaded door, preventing staffers from escaping rampage

The Capital Gazette killer barricaded an exit door and shot at least one fleeing victim during his brief but bloody rampage at the Maryland newspaper Thursday, a prosecutor said.

Jarrod Warren Ramos, 38, has been charged in the murder of five staffers at the paper.

Wes Adams, a Maryland prosecutor, said Friday one person tried to escape the terror but was thwarted by Ramos.

Jarrod ramos

Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder on Friday.

 (Anne Arundel Co. Dept. of Detention Facilities)

“There was one victim that attempted to escape through the back door and was shot,” Adams said.

The prosecutor said Ramos “entered through the front door and worked his way through the office, where he shot victims as he walked through the office.” 

Police said Ramos explicitly targeted the newspaper. On Friday, a judge ordered Ramos held without bond pending a trial. Earlier on Friday, Ramos was charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Ramos appeared before Judge Thomas Pryal on Friday wearing a green detention suit in a video court appearance. The suspect said nothing but watched attentively, the Associated Press reported. Authorities have described the suspect as being uncooperative.

In this June 28 2018 photo released by the Anne Arundel Police, Jarrod Warren Ramos poses for a photo, in Annapolis, Md. First-degree murder charges were filed Friday against Ramos who police said targeted Maryland's capital newspaper, shooting his way into the newsroom and killing four journalists and a staffer before officers swiftly arrested him. (Anne Arundel Police via AP)

Jarrod Warren Ramos was ordered held without bond pending a trial on Friday, June 29, 2018.

 (Anne Arundel Police via AP)

Adams said the judge’s finding that Ramos was a danger to society is justified because of evidence that he carefully planned the attack barricading the back door so victims couldn’t escape, before using “a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent people.”

The five Gazette staffers killed in the attack were identified as Wendi Winters, John McNamara, Gerald Fischman, Rebecca Smith, and Rob Hiaasen. Two other employees, Rachel Pacella and Janet Cooley were injured in the attack and treated at a hospital before being released.

Winters was the special publications editor. McNamara was a writer. Fischman was editorial page editor. Smith was a sales assistant. Hiaasen was an assistant editor and columnist.

Police held a final press conference on the shooting on Friday stating the suspect used a pump-action shotgun that he legally purchased about a year or so ago. The suspect was also carrying smoke grenades.

Anne Arundel County Chief Timothy Altomare said, “The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could.”

Altomare said authorities were not searching for any other suspects in connection with the shooting and said they had no reason to believe that anyone else was involved. Police obtained a search warrant at the suspect’s apartment and found evidence that showed the “origination of planning.” Altomare said he believed the attack was planned. He said investigators did not find a written manifesto in the residence.

Crime scene tape surrounds a building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper's offices, Friday, June 29, 2018, in Annapolis, Md. A man armed with smoke grenades and a shotgun attacked journalists in the building Thursday, killing several people before police quickly stormed the building and arrested him, police and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Crime scene tape surrounds a building housing The Capital Gazette newspaper’s offices on Friday, June 29, 2018, in Annapolis, Md.


Altomare said investigators were able to identify the suspect using quickly with help of facial recognition technology from the Maryland Image Repository System. The chief refused to say the suspect’s name, refusing to give him the satisfaction of identifying him by name.

The chief said the Capital Gazette declined to press charges against Ramos over social media threat he made against the newspaper in 2013. Further details were not immediately available.

Altomare said some 300 law enforcement officers from different agencies were on the scene that day to help capture the suspect who was found hiding under a desk at the officer.

“Every cop from all those agencies was a part of how we saved these people’s lives yesterday, I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Altomare said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

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