WASHINGTON – Maryland police investigating America’s latest mass murder say Jarrod Ramos, the man charged with the slayings, sent three threatening letters on the day of the attack, including one that said he was on his way to the Capital Gazette to “kill as many people” as he could.
Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County police, said the letters were received Monday.
Hours later, an overflow crowd gathered to remember journalist Rob Hiaasen and his four colleagues who were shot to death by a gunman who blasted his way into the Capital Gazette’s newsroom. They tried to focus on how they lived, rather than their senseless deaths at the hands of a gunman twisted by hate and festering rage.
Ramos, 38, has a well-documented history of harassing the paper’s journalists. He filed a defamation suit in 2012 that was thrown out as groundless and often railed against them in profanity-laced tweets. Police found him hiding under a desk after Thursday’s attack and jailed him on five counts of first-degree murder.
Tom Marquardt, the onetime publisher of the Capital Gazette, told The Associated Press at Hiaasen’s memorial that Ramos sent one letter to a company lawyer saying he was on his way to the Annapolis newspaper “to kill as many people” as he could. The letter was dated June 28 — the day of the deadly attack.
“In that letter, he was talking to the appeals court judge and suggesting that he didn’t do a very good job on the case and as a result, he was going to have to take out his vengeance in a different way,” Marquardt told AP.
Letters were also sent to a Baltimore judge, as well as a judge at the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
Marquardt said he once slept with a baseball bat by his bed because he was so worried about Ramos. He also said that they “stepped up security” at the newspaper years ago, and posted Ramos’s photo around the office. “But then he went dormant for about two years and we thought the problem has been solved. Apparently, it was just building up steam,” he said.
The mourning in Annapolis continued Tuesday, marked by a lowering of U.S. flags to honor the victims. President Donald Trump ordered flags flown at half-staff on federal property through sunset.