29/06/2018 05:55 SAST | Updated 29/06/2018 05:55 SAST

Capital Gazette Shooting Suspect Sued News Outlet For Defamation In 2012

The shooting in Annapolis, Maryland left five people dead and two injured.

The suspect in the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland on Thursday had a long-running feud with the newspaper and sued it for defamation in 2012, according to multiple reports.

Jarrod Ramos, 38, has been identified by several media outlets as the suspect in the attack, which left five people dead and two injured. The Washington Post also obtained a copy of a message sent to Maryland law enforcement that named Ramos, although authorities have yet to publicly identify the suspect.

Police declined to name him at a press conference late Thursday, saying they had "an obligation and a responsibility to these victims that we get it right."

Ramos, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, filed a lawsuit against Capital Gazette Communications and a columnist, Eric Hartley, in 2012 over an article about a criminal harassment case against him. Ramos, who represented himself in the suit, lost both the initial case and an appeal in 2015.

"A lawyer would almost certainly have told him not to proceed with this case," the court wrote in its opinion following the appeal. "It reveals a fundamental failure to understand what defamation law is and, more particularly, what defamation law is not."

Authorities on Thursday said the gunman appeared to have a "vendetta" against the paper and had staged a "targeted attack."

"This person was prepared today to come in, this person was prepared to shoot people," Bill Krampf, deputy chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, said at a news conference. "His intent was to cause harm."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.