Five people were killed and two were injured following a mass shooting at the Capital Gazette’s office in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Police confirmed in an 8 p.m. press conference Thursday, what was said to be their last of the night until authorities make more updates tomorrow morning.
“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” William Krampf, the Deputy Chief of Anne Arundel County Police said.
The suspect is in custody, and police said he is a white man in his late 30s. They did not identify him or any of his victims, and would not speak to reports of finger-tip mutilation or other identity obscuring efforts by the suspect. “We are working now on securing his residence. He does live in the state of Maryland.”
While police would not say where the suspect was from, WMAR-2 News’ Eddie Kadhim was traveling to a house in Laurel where police activity was occurring.
ABC News reported that multiple law enforcement sources said the alleged shooter in the “targeted” attack on the Capital Gazette is tentatively identified as Jarrod Ramos of Laurel. Reportable clarification: ABC News updated information that was miscommunicated. "We are now told that there was not a problem with the suspects fingers but a problem with a machine that made it initially difficult to identify the suspect through fingerprints, according to a local law enforcement official," ABC news said.
“He entered the building with a shotgun, and he looked for his victims as he walked through the lower levels” of the building at 888 Bestgate Road, Krampf said. “We have five confirmed fatalities and two injuries. The injuries, to my understanding, are superficial.”
“We have no knowledge at all that he was targeting anyone at the Capital,” Krampf said.
Krampf said the potential explosive police spoke of earlier was not an improvised explosive device, or IED, but smoke canisters.
“This person was prepared today to come in. This person was prepared to shoot people,” Krampf said. “His intent was to cause harm.”
Police were able to reopen Bestgate Road after clearing the building.
Police did not reveal any early motives or personal connections between the shooter and his target, but did discuss potential social media threats that may play a factor.
“The only connection I can tell you about right now is possibly, possibly through social media,” Krampf said. “We know there were threats sent to the Gazette on social media. …. There were general threats towards the Capital.”
”It was quite apparent this individual had some type of vendetta against the Capital Newspaper,” Anne Arundel Public Information Officer Ryan Frashure said.
This violent episode in the small city of Annapolis resonated among police, citizens, and the news organization that covers them.
“The capital newspaper is our local newspaper,” Krampf said. “We have friends at the Capital newspaper. We speak with these men and women every day to get stories out to the people of this county. We’re here and we’re invested.”