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Capital Gazette shooting suspect barricaded door, tried to ‘kill as many’ as possible: Officials

first_imgWJLA-TV(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — A community is reeling a day after an alleged gunman targeted the local Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland and gunned down five unsuspecting employees. The suspect, Jarrod Ramos, allegedly walked into the newspaper office at 888 Bestgate Road in Annapolis with a shotgun and fatally shot four journalists and a sales assistant. Ramos had barricaded the back door to keep his victims from escaping, Wes Adams, state’s attorney for Anne Arundel County, said.“There was one victim that had attempted to escape through the back door and was shot,” Adams said.Anne Arundel Police Chief Timothy Altomare said Friday said Ramos went to the newspaper’s office to allegedly “kill as many people as he could kill.”“We can’t fathom why this person chose to do this,” he added.Keith Cyphers, who works in an office across the hall from the Capital Gazette, told “Good Morning America” he heard an “incredibly loud noise … I could feel it in my chest.”Cyphers peered out from his desk and saw the Capital Gazette’s door “shattered.”“There was a man who was holding a shotgun,” he said. “He had it braced against his chest and he was moving through the lobby of the Capital Gazette office, pointing the shotgun deeper into the office.” Cyphers said he heard yelling and then more gunshots.Phil Davis, a crime and courts reporter with the Capital Gazette, tweeted, “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.” “I thought we were going to die,” Anthony Messenger, an intern at the Gazette, told ABC News.The alleged shooter tried to hide under a desk until police quickly responded and took him into custody, according to court documents.The suspect’s shotgun was legally purchased about one year ago, police said.Ramos has not cooperated with authorities, police said. But evidence at his home indicated planning, police added. The victimsThe five victims who died in the Thursday afternoon shooting were employees of the Capital Gazette, authorities said.Wendi Winters, 65, was a writer who worked for special publications.Robert Hiaasen, 59, was the assistant editor for news and a columnist at the paper.Gerald Fischman, 61, was an editorial page editor and regularly wrote opinion pieces for the paper.John McNamara, 56, was a staff writer.Rebecca Smith, 34, the youngest victim, worked as a sales assistant for the paper.Two other people who were injured, though not wounded, in the shooting, and have been released from the hospital, authorities said.Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he is “praying for the victims, those who were injured, and their families, friends, and loved ones in this time of tragedy.” “The Capital Gazette is my hometown paper, and I have the greatest respect for the fine journalists, and all the men and women, who work there,” Hogan said in a statement. “They serve each day to shine light on the world around us so that we might see with more clarity and greater understanding.”Hogan has ordered Maryland flags to be lowered to half-staff.‘We are putting out a damn paper’Reporters and editors at the Capital Gazette vowed in the wake of the attack they would publish a paper even after the death of their five colleagues. Through their grief, they worked alongside reporters from the Baltimore Sun, which owns the newspaper.“There will be a Capital Friday,” tweeted Capital Gazette photojournalist Joshua McKerrow.“We are putting out a damn paper,” reporter Chase Cook added. The paper arrived on doorsteps and at convenience stores, as promised, with a headline reading, “5 shot dead at The Capital.” The suspected gunman and his history with the paperRamos is charged with five counts of first-degree murder and has been held without bail.The native of Laurel, Maryland, about 30 minutes inland from Annapolis, apparently had a longstanding grudge against the local newspaper. Tom Marquardt, the former editor and publisher of the Capital Gazette, told ABC News he first “crossed paths” with Ramos in 2012 when the newspaper wrote a story about the now alleged suspect in connection with a stalking case.“Our court reporter had written about a case he had in which he was a defendant in a stalking case and he was, Jarrod was, quite upset with the story and he really created a webpage that allowed him to vent and express his frustration and his anger towards me, the reporter and the newspaper,” Marquardt said. “Shortly after that, he filed a defamation lawsuit against us.”The lawsuit was the beginning of an ongoing campaign of hatred directed toward the Capital Gazette, Marquardt said.“He represented himself and took advantage of the legal system to keep the case alive for a long period of time during which he sued lawyers, judges, anybody who crossed his path and disagreed with him,” he said.“During that time he continued to rant on his Facebook page to a point that we were feeling threatened physically from what he was saying. So during that time, we had consulted with our own lawyers in the best steps that we could take, as well as the police, and we had actually contacted the police to pursue one particular comment in which he wished I would be dead and the police looked into it.” Ramos’ legal action against the newspaper was unsuccessful, Marquardt said, and the suspect exhausted all of his appeals by 2014.Marquardt said he could only comment on threats made against himself, but knew Ramos had wished him dead in the past on social media.“We contacted police … and they went out to talk to him,” he said. “They reviewed all the tweets so far and again came away with the feeling that there really wasn’t enough substance there to pursue a case in court.”Police said “online threatening comments were made in May 2013.”“The Capital Gazette did not wish to pursue criminal charges,” police said Friday. “There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. 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Police: Man arrested in murder of Louisiana African-American museum founder Sadie Roberts-Joseph

first_imgiStock(BATON ROUGE, La.) — A Louisiana man has been arrested in the murder of a beloved 75-year-old community activist whose body was discovered asphyxiated in the trunk of her car, police said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.The death of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who founded an African American museum in Baton Rouge and teamed up with police on an anti-drug and violence program, was ruled a homicide by “traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation,” according to an autopsy report.Ronn Jermaine Bell, 37, a convicted sex offender, was taken into custody Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder, police said.Bell was living in one of the homes Roberts-Joseph was renting out and it is believed he was several months behind in rent payments, police said. Authorities estimated Bell owed Roberts-Joseph $1,200.“On behalf of the family of Sadie Roberts-Joseph we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of the entities that came together in this tragedy to bring this person to justice,” Roberts-Joseph’s daughter, Angela Machen, said during Tuesday’s news conference.Police said numerous leads came in from community residents and helped police identify and arrest Bell in the slaying.“All my mother ever wanted was for this community to come together. It’s ironic that that happened in her death,” Machen said.Roberts-Joseph was found slain Friday afternoon when police were directed by an anonymous 911 caller to her car parked behind a vacant house northeast of downtown Baton Rouge, said the city’s police Chief Murphy Paul.“Our detectives immediately began following up on leads, interviewing witnesses and searching for evidence during the midst of a hurricane,” Paul said at Tuesday’s news conference. “We say we can’t do this without the community and this is an example of when a community steps up and does their part we’re able to put these bad actors away.”During an interview with homicide detectives, Bell denied seeing Josephs-Roberts on the day she was killed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.But detectives obtained surveillance video that showed Bell “in the same exact area the victim’s vehicle was abandoned at the same exact time the vehicle was abandoned,” according to the affidavit.Bell matched the description from a witness of a man seen abandoning the vehicle and walking away, the affidavit reads.The suspect’s DNA was also found on the victim’s body, according the affidavit.Roberts-Joseph was last seen alive visiting her sister about 11 a.m. on Friday. Her body was discovered in her car a little over three miles from her home about 3:45 p.m. on Friday, police and relatives said.There was a 90 minute time frame that investigators focused on, from the time she was last seen alive to the time her body was found, police said.A warrant was already issued for Bell on unrelated charges, including failing to comply with probation regulations and failing to register as a sex offender.Bell was previously convicted for sexual assault against an 8-year-old girl, said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar C. Moore III, adding that Bell pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexual battery and received a seven year sentence, which was completely served.The slaying of Roberts-Joseph, who was well known in Baton Rouge, came as a complete shock for her family and the community.“We’re devastated that someone has actually killed her and put her in the trunk of her own car,” Roberts-Joseph’s niece, Pat McCallister-Leduff, told ABC News.The victim’s sister, Beatrice Johnson, told The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge that Roberts-Johnson stopped by her house around 11 a.m. on Friday. She said her sister lived near her in the Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge and would check in with her daily.“Friday, she came by [because] she had mixed some cornbread, but her oven went out, and she brought it here to put in the oven,” Johnson told the newspaper. “The bread is still there. She never came back to get it.”Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum in 2001. The museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, is housed on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.She also organized the city’s annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, commemorating the day slaves were belatedly freed in Texas more than two years after Emancipation Proclamation was signed. She also partnered with Baton Rouge police to launch a Community Against Drugs and Violence program.In a recent interview with ABC affiliate station WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Roberts-Joseph said her work at the museum and the annual Juneteenth event was meant “to celebrate, to embrace” African American history and to “learn of our past and to be able to move forward in unity.”Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome described Roberts-Joseph on Tuesday as “one of the standout matriarchs of Baton Rouge.”“She was a part of the fabric of Baton Rouge and that is why you see so many people concerned about her death,” the mayor said. “We will make her legacy a priority here in Baton Rouge … because of what she gave to so many here.”East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said he personally knew Roberts-Joseph.“I’m heartbroken that our community has lost such a kind and selfless soul in such a violent, tragic manner,” Gautreaux said. “I’ve known and loved Ms. Sadie for years and admired and respected her dedication to education and our community. I’m grateful for the swift action of the Baton Rouge Police Department and the Louisiana State Police in finding her alleged killer and putting him behind bars.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more