A woman who was cyberstalked by the man suspected of opening fire last week on journalists and staffers at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland said she was “tormented and traumatized and terrorized” by him for years after they graduated high school together.
The woman, identified only as Lori, told NBC News she filed a report with police after she was harassed by Jarrod Ramos, the 38-year-old man suspected of killing four journalists and a sales assistant in last week's deadly shooting in Annapolis.
"He told me at one point that he was reaching out to me because I was the only person who had been nice to him in high school," Lori told NBC News. She added that she didn't remember him from school.
She said the pair exchanged emails every few days until she got an angry email from him.
"He said something along the lines of, he was worried about me, that I hadn't responded to him in three or four days, what was wrong with me, why was I doing this to him?" Lori told NBC News. "And at that point, I kind of took a step back and said, 'What is going on here?'"
She said that in some emails, Ramos suggested she kill herself.
"I don't know what he wanted," she told NBC News. "He never asked for my phone number. He never asked to call me. You know he never asked to meet me."
Ramos was charged with criminal harassment after Lori filed a report with police. He pleaded guilty in July 2011, according to NBC News.
“I have been tormented and traumatized and terrorized for so long that it has, I think, changed the fiber of my being.” Stalking victim of #CapitalGazette shooting suspect exclusively tells @CatieBeckNBC pic.twitter.com/wNGGphIRww— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2018
The case was at the center of the dispute between Ramos and staffers at the Capital Gazette newsroom. Thomas Marquardt, the newspaper's former editor and publisher, told The Baltimore Sun that Ramos started to harass staff members shortly after a columnist wrote an article in 2011 about the harassment case. The columnist, Eric Hartley, no longer works at the paper.
Ramos sued Harley, the Capital Gazette and Marquardt for defamation in 2012, but a judge dismissed the case.
Anne Arundel County police Chief Timothy Altomare said Friday that the Capital Gazette declined to press charges against Ramos after he made threats against the newspaper on social media in 2013.
“There was a fear that doing so would exacerbate an already flammable situation,” he said.
Lori told NBC News that she knew Ramos was behind last week's attack after police said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting that they could not identify the suspect.
“I would be afraid that he could show up anywhere at any time and kill me.” Stalking victim of #CapitalGazette shooting suspect exclusively tells @CatieBeckNBC pic.twitter.com/pDDIw8oPCX— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 2, 2018
“As soon as they said it happened at The Capital newspaper and they couldn’t identify their suspect, I picked up the phone and said, ‘I know who your suspect is,’” she said. “I knew if he was to do anything on a mass shooting level, it was going to target The Capital.”
Marquardt told the Sun he called police about Ramos's threats in 2013.
“I remember telling our attorneys, 'This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’” he said.
Altomare said Ramos was armed with a 12-guage, pump-action shotgun when he showed up Thursday afternoon at the Capital Gazette offices in Maryland.
“The fellow was there to kill as many people as he could kill,” Altomare said.
Police arrested Ramos on Thursday after finding him hiding under a table at the Capital Gazette offices. He was charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
A judge ordered him held without bail Friday.
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