Yesterday, the world of journalism was rocked by news of a shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD. While early reports indicated that this wasn’t a particularly well-planned attack and that the newsroom may not have even been intentionally targeted, and a number of other things, this morning, we have learned a whole lot more.
We have learned the identity of the alleged shooter and his motivations, such as they were. As per Bearing Arms policy, however, we will not share the killer’s name, however, we will note that it is a Hispanic surname, which suggests that this wasn’t a white guy this time around.
The suspect in the deadly shooting at a Maryland newspaper building has been identified as 38-year-old [Name Redacted] of Laurel, Maryland, law enforcement sources tell CBS News.
[The Suspect] is suspected of opening fire Thursday at the offices of Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and fatally shooting five people while injuring others. He allegedly used a shotgun and was carrying smoke grenades or flash-bang grenades when he was apprehended, police said.“This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” Anne Arundel County acting police chief Bill Krampf said at a press conference Thursday evening. Krampf declined to name the suspect. “This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”[The alleged shooter] was taken into custody at the scene and refused to cooperate with authorities. He carried no identification and had damaged his finger tips in an apparent effort to thwart identification by law enforcement, sources said. Authorities resorted to using facial recognition software and comparing his face to databases of passports and driver’s license photos.
It seems that the alleged killer had a score to settle with the newspaper. It seems that he pled guilty in a case of criminal harassment. A few days later, the Capital Gazette ran a story about the harassment back in 2011.
The suspect then filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for defamation. Unfortunately for him, as he’d pled guilty to the charges, thus essentially admitting the truth of them, there wasn’t squat he could do and the judge essentially told him so.
In 2012, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that “there is absolutely not one piece of evidence, or an assertion by you that the statement [in the article] was false.”
“I think people who are the subject of newspaper articles, whoever they may be, feel that there is a requirement that they be placed in the best light, or they have an opportunity to have the story reported to their satisfaction, or have the opportunity to have however much input they believe is appropriate,” Judge Maureen M. Lamasney said when dismissing the case. “But that’s simply not true. There is nothing in those complaints that prove that anything that was published about you is, in fact, false.”
However, the suspect wasn’t done. He took to Twitter to lash out at the paper at every opportunity.
In other words, this appears that it may be the culmination of years of rage targeted at the newspaper itself. As a journalist myself, making people angry comes with the territory. Back when I covered local news, I can’t tell you how many angry calls I fielded from people furious that they weren’t painted in a more favorable light.
But I never worried about something like this. The closest I ever got to worrying about something like this was after a story about voter fraud when word got to me that I might be targeted in some way. As I was carrying already, I was already taking all the precautions I could and didn’t worry too much.
Never anything like this.
Of course, journalists may well latch onto this shooting because it hits close to home. Or, they may not because it doesn’t seem to advance the narrative.