US newspaper shooter hunted victims after barricading door

Jarrod Ramos has now been charged with five counts of murder

US newspaper shooter hunted victims after barricading door

A photo released by Anne Arundel Police of 38-year-old suspect Jarrod Ramos

Police believe the man suspected of shooting dead five people at a US newsroom last night moved through the office hunting victims after barricading the door.

Jarrod Ramos is being held without bail after allegedly killing five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday evening.

US President Donald Trump said the nation was "shocked" by the shooting, and said all Americans should be free of fear of attack while at work.

Maryland state prosecutor Wes Adams said one of the victims was shot while they were trying to escape through the back doors of the office in Annapolis.

"Tactical approach"

Addressing the judge, Mr Adams explained the series of events inside the newsroom, saying Ramos "is alleged to have executed a brutal series of attacks on innocent victims."

He said he had barricaded a back door and "used a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent victims."

Mr Adams added: "There were two entrances to the offices in which this attack occurred. The rear door was barricaded. Mr Ramos entered into the front door and worked his way through the offices.

"There was one victim that had attempted to escape through the back door and was shot at that point.

"He [Ramos] was taken at the scene."

The shooter is reported to have stopped firing when the police came in and hid.

"Free of fear"

President Trump said the attack "shocked the conscience of the nation and filled our hearts with grief."

He said: "Journalists, like all Americans, should be free of fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs."

He said he pledged "eternal support" from his government to the families of the victims of what he called a "horrible" event.

He said: "My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime."

Police in Annapolis said Ramos used a pump-action shotgun he had purchased legally about a year ago to carry out the shooting.

Police Chief Timothy Altomare confirmed there had been a previous incident between the newspaper and the suspect.

He made threatening comments online to members of the newsroom in 2013.

However, the decision was taken by the staff not to press criminal charges as they were concerned it would exacerbate the situation.

Ramos has now been charged with five counts of murder after the shooting. He has appeared in court, and will be held without bail, pending a hearing date.

Ramos, 38, appeared via video link and did not speak during his hearing.

Police Chief Altomare said the suspect had been "uncooperative."

Warrant

In a press conference in Annapolis, Police Chief Altomare said: "Maryland Police helped serve a warrant and we found evidence at the address to show the planning [of the attack].

"We have a bad guy and for his own reasons, he chose to do what he did."

He added there was evidence to show he intended to "kill as many people as he could."

Asked whether police should have pressed charges despite the newspaper's decision not to, Police Chief Altomare explained the investigator made a call based on the evidence he had at the time.

He added: "Everyday, we speak with someone who doesn't want to press charges. For a felony, we would go ahead, but on a misdemeanour, we would not always."

Attack

Speaking outside the courthouse, Maryland state prosecutor Wes Adams said one of the victims was shot while they were trying to escape through the back doors of the office in Annapolis.

Addressing the judge, Mr Adams explained the series of events inside the newsroom, saying Ramos "is alleged to have executed a brutal series of attacks on innocent victims."

He said he had barricaded a back door and "used a tactical approach in hunting down and shooting the innocent victims."

Mr Adams added: "There were two entrances to the offices in which this attack occurred. The rear door was barricaded. Mr Ramos entered into the front door and worked his way through the offices.

"There was one victim that had attempted to escape through the back door and was shot at that point.

"He [Ramos] was taken at the scene."

He is reported to have stopped firing when the police came in and hid.

In a show of defiance, the Capital Gazette staff still put out the newspaper on Friday, despite the deaths of five of their colleagues.

Images showed them working from laptops on a truck as they continued to put the paper together. The opinion page was left blank as the staff said they were "speechless."