‘This is a very dangerous person,’ says lawyer who represented harassment victim of Maryland gunman
Anne Arundel Police(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — The attorney who represented a woman who was harassed by alleged Maryland newsroom shooter Jarrod Ramos from 2009 to 2011 described him as a “dangerous person.”
Nearly seven years ago, Ramos pleaded guilty to a criminal harassment charge, court documents filed in the District Court of Maryland in Anne Arundel County show.
Ramos, now 38, had befriended the woman on Facebook in 2009 and used information he gathered from the social media platform to attack her, Brennan McCarthy told ABC News.
“He would tell her to do things like hang herself,” McCarthy said. “He wrote a letter to her [employer] stating that they should fire her because she’s a ‘bipolar drunkard.’ He did terrible things to this woman.”
On Thursday, Ramos allegedly entered 888 Bestgate Road, the building that houses the newsroom for the Capital Gazette, and opened fire on employees for the local newspaper, killing five people, according to the Anne Arundel Police Department.
In 2012, Ramos had filed a defamation lawsuit against the Capital Gazette following a story about a harassment case, former editor and publisher Tom Marquardt told ABC News. It was unclear whether the article was about the case involving McCarthy’s client.
The article, which was written in 2011, stated that Ramos had reached out to a former high school classmate on Facebook, asking for help because he was having some issues.
The woman, who was not named in the story, tried to help and suggested that he seek counseling.
“That sparked months of emails in which Ramos alternately asked for help, called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself,” the article said.
A judge placed Ramos on 18 months of supervised probation and ordered him to continue therapy and refrain from any further contact with the woman or her family, the court documents show.
Ramos claimed he was defamed in the lawsuit against the Capital Gazette, which named Marquardt as well as the reporter who wrote it. A few months later, Ramos filed another complaint that added a charge of invasion of privacy. The case was ultimately dismissed.
Marquardt had once received a death threat from Ramos and alerted authorities, but there was not enough evidence to file charges against him, he said.
McCarthy described Ramos as “incredibly angry.”
“The malice dripped off this man in court,” he said.
McCarthy was so affected by Ramos that he began to fear for his own life as well.
After McCarthy got a second protective order for his client and agreed to accept all pleadings and correspondence on her behalf, Ramos allegedly began to harass him too.
“He then started stalking me, my Facebook feed, my own personal things,” he said. “…I have no doubt that he was on my street, and it was a very scary situation.”
Each morning when he wakes up, McCarthy says se looks out the window to make sure Ramos isn’t near his home. He still does it to this day, as does the woman he stalked, he said.
“He left that sort of impression on me,” he said. “This is a very dangerous person.”
McCarthy also said that Ramos was “smart enough to walk the edge so that he did not quite violate the law.”
“He would say things, like, for instance, ‘Mr. McCarthy, wouldn’t it be so sad if you were to be run over today and die bleeding in your own driveway, and if, perhaps, I might have been in the truck?’ It’s not a direct threat. It’s a referential threat.'”
The woman whom Ramos stalked was so frightened by him that when she left the state, she didn’t leave a forwarding address, and she alerted the local sheriff’s office to Ramos in case he went looking for her, McCarthy said.
“She still has her gun,” he said. “…She’s still scared.”
As soon as McCarthy heard the news about the shooting at the Capital Gazette, he “knew immediately that it was Jarrod Ramos,” he said.
“This did not surprise me,” he said. “This man had serious anger and mental health issues.”
Ramos is currently being held without bond. A spokesperson for the public defender’s office was not immediately available for comment.
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