More than 13 hours after a gunman killed five people at the Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, Twitter has suspended the apparent account of the suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos, who tweeted in explicit detail about his grudges against the newspaper, its journalists, and the local judges who ruled against his attempts at legal retribution.
As of early this morning, the account was still visible, with Twitter users meticulously going through his tweets and posting screenshots. However, Twitter cut off access a short while ago. The company typically does not discuss why it suspends individual accounts, although it’s a bit surprising that it took this long.
In a Twitter stream dating back more than five years, antagonistic tweets were routinely directed at the main Capital Gazette account and the account of some of its journalists, in particular, Eric Hartley, a columnist who wrote about a court case involving Ramos in 2011. In it, Hartley described how Ramos stalked a former high school classmate on Facebook before ultimately pleading guilty to harassment. Ramos went on to sue the newspaper and Hartley for defamation, but his case was ultimately tossed. Hartley now works for the Virginian-Pilot.
The Twitter stream also showed Ramos appeared to be obsessed with his own internet presence, and would make references to how his name, or the name of Hartley’s article, would appear in Google’s autocomplete results when he made different search queries.
According to the Washington Post, Ramos, 38, has been charged with five counts of murder.
Despite the horror that unfolded in their newsroom yesterday, journalists at the Capital newspaper still put out an issue this morning, with a front page covering the attack and honoring the victims.