A high school classmate of the man suspected of fatally shooting five people at the Capital Gazette’s Maryland headquarters last week said he tormented her online for years.
The woman, who was identified only as Lori, had been afraid Jarrod Ramos, 38, “could show up anywhere at any time and kill me,” she told NBC’s “Today” show Monday.
Lori said Ramos reached out to her via Facebook and that their initial exchanges were friendly. They had both attended Arundel High School, and he said he remembered her because she was nice to him. However, he became hostile toward her after she didn’t respond to his messages fast enough. She said he cursed at her, told her to kill herself and warned her, “You’re going to need a protective order.”
Lori eventually involved the police, and Ramos pleaded guilty to criminal harassment in July 2011. The Capital Gazette wrote about the harassment in a piece titled “Jarrod wants to be your friend.” Ramos responded to the article by suing the paper for defamation in 2012. A judge threw out the suit.
Lori told “Today” she immediately thought of her cyberstalker when she heard about the shooting, and that she gave his name to the police.
“I knew if he was to do anything on a mass shooting level, it was going to target The Capital,” she said.
Lori described Ramos as “cold,” “calculated” and “intelligent.”
“I have been tormented and traumatized and terrorized for so long that it has changed the fiber of my being,” Lori said, adding that she moved out of her house to get away from him.
She said she hoped speaking out about her experience would empower other stalking victims to do the same.
“One thing that I do feel now is that he can no longer silence me,” she said.
Ramos was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree murder and is being held without bond. Police say he killed five Capital Gazette employees and injured two with a legally purchased shotgun. He allegedly barricaded one of the exits so people could not escape.
Ramos had written antagonistic and threatening social media posts toward the Capital Gazette prior to the shooting. Staff members reported Ramos to authorities, but police “came to the conclusion that there wasn’t enough substance,” according to former executive editor Tom Marquardt.