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Read the US Naval Academy’s statement on Annapolis newspaper shooting

U.S. Naval Academy sign (Rdsmith4/Flickr)
June 29, 2018

The U.S. Naval Academy has released a statement via Twitter on the shooting that claimed five lives at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

“The Capital Gazette is our local newspaper and is often the first to tell our story. We are grieving with their staff and loved ones after the tragic events that occurred today,” the U.S. Naval Academy said.

The U.S. Naval Academy, founded in 1845, is located just three miles from the Capital Gazette in Annapolis. The shooting took place on the same day the Academy held its Class of 2022 Induction Day.

In a Friday morning press conference, Ann Arundel Police Chief Timothy Altomare confirmed that the suspect, Jarrod Ramos, used a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun in the attack, according to the Associated Press. The firearm was legally purchased by Ramos last year.

Police found devices such as smoke grenades designed to distract victims inside the building.

Acting Police Chief William Krampf said Ramos “looked for his victims” in the newspaper building.

“This person was prepared today to come in. This person was prepared to shoot people,” he said.

Before his remarks on the latest tax plan from the White House on Friday, President Trump made a statement on the Capital Gazette shooting.

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” he said.

“My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life,” he pledged.

Ramos had an ongoing feud with the newspaper for more than six years.

It began when the publication ran a story on Ramos, who plead guilty to harassment against a woman.

In 2012, he filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper. The case was dismissed due to the story’s basis on public arrest record information.

Ramos appealed, and the appeal decision was also not in his favor.

Since the lawsuit, Ramos took to social media to air his disdain for the newspaper, often in tweets filled with profanity and threats.

In 2015, Ramos tweeted his desire to see the newspaper go out of business, but added “it would be nicer” if two of its journalists would “cease breathing.”

The Capital Gazette chose not to press harassment charges against Ramos at the time, although employees reportedly expressed fear that Ramos was capable of carrying out the threats.

Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

Through video feed, he appeared in an Annapolis courtroom during his initial hearing, but did not speak. Officials said they have not received much communication from him.

Despite the events, the Capital Gazette continued to put out a paper Friday.

The issue contained commemorations of the five victims.

Among the five dead, four were journalists and one was a sales employee.

Two other employees were treated for injuries suffered in the attack.

The city of Annapolis announced that a candlelight vigil for the victims would be held Friday evening. An earlier prayer vigil will also be held at houses of worship around the city.