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(Reuters) – The man suspected of killing five people in a Maryland newsroom posted a barrage of hostile tweets over more than two years about the newspaper but law enforcement remained unaware of those posts until after the attack, the local police chief said on Friday.
Police, however, had known that the suspect, Jarrod Ramos, had posted threatening comments on his web page about the newspaper, which he had unsuccessfully sued for defamation in 2012.
The article goes on to state the following:
“We were not aware of that history until last night. Should we have been? In a perfect world, sure, we should have been. We were not,” Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare conceded about the tweets at a briefing the day after the shooting at the Annapolis office of the Capital Gazette news group.
“We get a threat call a day. It is hard to keep up with them,” Altomare said.
According to the report, in 2014 Ramos began to make regular posts to Twitter about his battle with The Capital, using @EricHartleyFrnd as his handle. The handle incorporates a reporter’s name, Eric Hartley, the reporter who wrote the story that triggered Ramos’s anger and led to the defamation lawsuit he filed against the publication.
The tweets on the account made reference to the battle against The Capital, and also referenced its then-editor Thomas Marquardt and Hartley.
The report goes on to list some of the Twitter messages:
“Yes, Eric Thomas Hartley, you moved to … oh just go ahead and kill yourself already before I do (legally in court),” read a tweet in 2014.
The account abruptly went silent in January 2016. But on Thursday, before the newsroom shooting began, a new post appeared: “F**k you, leave me alone @judgemoylanfrnd,” a reference to Judge Charles Moylan, who upheld the dismissal of the defamation case in 2015.
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