ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Before he developed a long lasting grudge against The Capital Gazette, the man who police say opened fire and killed five newspaper staff members focused his anger on a female high school classmate he hardly knew.
The courts in Maryland are clogged with lawsuits filed by Jarrod Ramos against judges, journalists and attorneys, which he thought had wronged him. In any case, they took the side of the classmate who said Ramos had harassed her relentlessly for a year.
Ramos, 38, of Laurel, Maryland, is dedicated to five murders on Thursday, shooting — one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in AMERICAN history.
Court documents and social media posts written by Ramos paint a portrait of an angry, frustrated man fuming about how he’d been mistreated and abused.
His aunt, Vielka Ramos, said her cousin was very intelligent, but was a lonely man.
“He would try to communicate with people, but he was a loner,” she told The Baltimore Sun.
“He was far from the family. He just was not close to the others,” she said.
After his grandmother died a few years ago, Ramos went to the family gatherings, ” she said.
Ramos grew up in the Severn, about 20 miles (32 km) of Annapolis, and attended Arundel High School and graduated in 1997. In his high school yearbook photo, he is smiling, and has a shoulder-length curly brown hair and large glasses.
At the end of 2009 or early 2010, Ramos contacted a former high school classmate via e-mail, thanking her for the only person who was ever nice, or said hello to him in high school,” the woman wrote in court documents when she sought a peace order to protect her from Ramos in January 2011.
“I responded by saying that I don’t remember him,” she wrote.
She said Ramos told her about the problems of mental health, which he had seen, so she suggested a clinic. Ramos then sent her a series of vulgar, hateful, and e-mails, including calling her a “dirty slut,” she wrote.
Eventually she went to the police, and Ramos ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charges. Five days after his guilty plea, the newspaper wrote a story about the case. That touched off a yearslong tirade against the newspaper.
Ramos has a defamation lawsuit, but the judge dismissed the case, finding that Ramos was not a single mention in the article that it was false. But Ramos, who as his own lawyer, pursued the case all the way up to Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeal, which denied his petition in 2016.
In his written court filings, Ramos often used overwrought language. In 2012, when the newspaper argued the case threw, Ramos referred to his complaint as “a blob of facts — fed and grown on their own sins, and she stepped in, to be eaten alive.”
In a court document, Ramos refers to himself as a citizen who has “values, truth, integrity, equal justice under the law and equal access to justice.”
Ramos was in the service of an IT contractor for the Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics — the agency that the monthly jobs report and other economic data from 2007 to 2014, a department spokesman.
Little is known about his work history. A lawyer who represented him in the harassment case, told the newspaper he has a degree in computer engineering.
Brennan McCarthy, the lawyer who, on behalf of his former classmate, said Ramos’ harassment of her evil.
“He was such an angry person that I’ve ever seen,” McCarthy said.
After his lawsuit against the newspaper was dismissed, Ramos posted profanity-laced tweets about the paper, the reporters and editors.
In 2015, he tweeted that he would like to see that the paper stop publishing, but “it would be more beautiful” to see two of its journalists “to stop breathing.”
Ramos’ online resentment seemed to disappear for a while until the number of new messages appeared just before the murders.
One of the biggest unanswered questions is what Ramos after a two-year period of silence. Investigators were reviewing his social media posts and the search of his apartment.
A transcript of a hearing in his reproach is revealed that Ramos was particularly troubled that the newspaper article reported he said: “f— you, leave me alone” to the woman who accused him of sexual harassment. The woman said that she hadn’t written him in months.
“That carries a clear implication that there is something wrong in my head, that I am crazy,” Ramos told the judge.
Ramos sent the same message on the day of the shooting on a Twitter feed he checked.
“F— you, leave me alone,” he wrote.