Maryland newspaper reported suspected shooter to police in 2013
The Maryland newspaper where five people were killed in a mass shooting on Thursday had previously reported the suspected shooter to police, but in 2013 reached a mutual agreement not to press charges out of concern it would provoke him.
Anne Arundel County Police chief Tim Altomare said on the “Today” show Friday that his department had agreed with editors at the Capital Gazette newsroom in 2013 to drop an investigation into Jarrod Ramos’s reported harassment of the newspaper’s employees for fear of exacerbating the situation.
“It was investigated, and as a shared agreement between the investigators and the Capital management at the time, they decided not to press forward with a formal investigation because they were afraid it would exacerbate the situation,” Altomare said.
Executives at the Capital Gazette originally called police in May of that year to report “ranting” Twitter posts on Ramos’s account aimed at the newspaper, including references to “blood in the water, journalist hell, hit man, open season, glad there won’t be murderous rampage, murder career and paper,” according to a police report obtained by NBC.
At the time, police investigated Ramos and found that he had no weapons registered in the state of Maryland. Police say Ramos used a pump-action shotgun purchased legally last year in the shooting Thursday that killed five people and wounded others.
“During the conference I indicated that I did not believe that Mr. Ramos was a threat to employees for the Capital,” the officer who filed the report wrote of his interactions with Capital Gazette staff. “It was described as putting a stick in a beehive.”
Altomare said Friday in a news conference that his department deals with accusations of harassment similar to Ramos’s every day, and that his department is unable to monitor every person accused of making threats.
“In a perfect world, sure, we should have been” more aware of Ramos’s history of threats of violence, the chief said. “We were not. We had at least a threat call a day so it’s tough to keep up with them.”
“Every day we talk to somebody who decides they don’t want to press charges,” Altomare added.
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