Judge rules prosecutors can see alleged newspaper shooter’s mental health records — (The Hill)

SSRI Ed note: Man with grudge against newspaper The Capital goes to newsroom, shoots 7, kills 5. Pleads NCR, judge rules prosecutors can access his "mental health" records.

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The Hill

Prosecutors in the case of a man charged with a 2018 mass shooting at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper, will be allowed access to his mental health records since his arrest, a judge ruled Wednesday, according to NBC Washington.

William Davis, an attorney for suspect Jarrod Ramos, argued the information in the records is privileged and would only be relevant if and when a jury finds his client guilty.

Judge Laura Ripken disagreed, writing that an insanity plea in the case is “actively being pursued” and the privilege does not apply in such cases, according to NBC.

“These records are highly probative and can help the state,” Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Leitess said, adding that Ramos’s mental health is “highly relevant,” according to NBC.

Ripken also granted prosecutors access to records for Ramos’s visits in detention with identifying details of the visitors redacted, as well as phone records for calls he has received.

Ramos’s lawyers have withdrawn a subpoena for records relating to his grudge against Rick Hutzell, the editor of the Capital Gazette, after Hutzell’s attorney told them the editor did not have that information.

They are, however, continuing to seek information from Robert Douglas, the newspaper’s defense attorney in a defamation lawsuit Ramos brought, as well as files from a lawyer who represented a woman Ramos was found guilty of harassing.

Ramos spent years railing against the newspaper after it reported on his case in 2011.

Brennan McCarthy, who represented the harassment victim, called the file “an incredibly privileged document” and told the court he plans to seek a protective order against the subpoena, telling Ripken he does not believe the state can legally subpoena the document, according to NBC.

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Capital Gazette was specifically targeted in shooting that killed 5, injured others — (Global News)

June 28, 2018 3:26 pm

Latest updates:

  • Police say gunman specifically targeted the newsroom
  • Reports say suspect identified as Jarrod Ramos, who has previous lawsuit against Capital Gazette
  • 5 dead, two others with superficial injuries
  • The newspaper the Capital will still be publishing Friday
  • Police named the victims – all were employees of the paper

A gunman specifically targeted Annapolis’s Capital Gazette newsroom and opened fire Thursday afternoon, killing five people and injuring two others, police say.

“This person was prepared today, he was prepared to shoot people, his intent was to cause harm,” acting police chief Bill Krampf said Thursday night.

He was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos by multiple news outlets, including CNN, NBC and CBS. Ramos brought a lawsuit against the paper in 2012, according to reports. The Baltimore Sun says the suit — which was regarding story written by a then-columnist about a criminal harassment charge Ramos plead guilty to — was thrown out in 2015.

Ramos is described as a white male, and isn’t cooperating with officers.

Police said he used a shotgun during the incident.

The victims were identified late Thursday night as: Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman and John McNamara.

All were employees of the paper, police said. Four were identified as journalists, while the other was a salesperson.

The Capital Gazette had received multiple threats indicating violence on social media in the past, but police couldn’t say if the suspect was behind the threats.

Police say they are not looking for other suspects, and said the building was “clear” from a tactical standpoint.

Acting police chief Bill Krampf told reporters they did find “what we thought was an explosive device” in the building, and the bomb squad was on scene. County executive Steve Schuh clarified that the device contained a flammable liquid that was found on the ground.

There was no motive given for the shooting.

“It looks like it was amateur hour. But even amateurs can cause a lot of damage in the absence of excellence response by law enforcement. We fortunately had that in this instance,” he told CNN.

While police didn’t confirm the exact location of the shooting within the building, The Baltimore Sun, which owns the Gazette, reported that multiple people were shot at the newspaper’s office.

The editor of Capital Gazette News said he was “devastated and heartbroken” and said his reporters give all they have every day. Reporters said there were about 20 people who worked in the newsroom and it was like a tight-knit family.

Police said there were two people injured, and the injuries were superficial. CBS News reports that one person was already released from hospital, and another was expected to be released later Thursday.

“The city sends its love and thoughts to all the families affected by this horrible event,” Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley said at a press conference.

He also thanked first responders on scene. Officials said police were on scene within minutes of receiving the first call at 2:35 p.m. local time.

“They went immediately into that building without hesitation,” Schuh said, noting the bravery of the officers.

Maryland Governor Larry Horgan commended the “brave people who came in and stopped [the situation] from getting worse.”

Anne Arundel County police spokesperson Lt. Ryan Frashure said that officers were focused on getting people out safe. There were about 170 people in the building at the time.

Gazette reporter Phil Davis shared his experience on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police about the incident,

“A single shooter shot multiple people at my office, some of whom are dead,” Davis wrote on Twitter.

He said the suspect shot through the glass door and fired at his co-workers.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk, and then hear the gunman reload.”

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Davis said he and others were hiding under their desks when the shooter stopped firing for an unknown reason. That’s when police arrived and surrounded the shooter.

“I’m a police reporter. I write about this stuff — not necessarily to this extent, but shootings and death — all the time,” he told the Sun.

“But as much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”

Police are present at other newspaper offices in Maryland after the incident.

According to a Twitter post from a reporter at the Baltimore Sun, police entered the office for a “precautionary sweep” around 3 p.m. local time.

The New York Police Department also told reporters they were deploying officers to major newsrooms out of caution following the shooting.