The woman who was stalked and harassed for years by the man charged with fatally shooting five people and injuring several others at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland spoke out about the abuse she endured.
In an exclusive Monday morning interview with the “Today” show on NBC, the woman, who was referred only by a fake name, “Lori,” and had her features obscured to protect her true identity, says the years of being
“traumatized and terrorized” drove her to move out of the state of Maryland, and still has her afraid for her life.
“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,'” Lori told “Today,” adding, “I knew if he was to do anything on a mass shooting level, it was going to target The Capital.”
The alleged shooter, identified as 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, filed a defamation lawsuit against Capital Gazette Communications, including a columnist and editor there, in 2012 after they covered his 2011 guilty plea for criminally harassing “Lori.” The suit against the newspaper company was ultimately dismissed, but Ramos continued to harass Capital Gazette employees over the internet.
In the interview, “Lori” said Ramos was a classmate of hers from the Anne Arundel High School class of 2009. He reached out to her two years after graduation, but “Lori” said he became “obsessed” with her, and his messages quickly turned hostile and threatening, including suggesting she kill herself.
“I used to come home from work and I used to drive by my house every day and pause and make sure nothing looked amiss, make sure my windows looked cracked, my door wasn’t ajar,” Lori recalled. “I was afraid he could show up at any point, any place … and kill me.”
Even after Ramos received a suspended sentence of 90 days in jail and 18 months on probation, Lori said that her fear for her safety prompted her to move out of Maryland and has left her permanently changed.
Several prominent mass shooters from recent years have had a history of harassing and abusing women. An analysis from TIME Magazine of 46 mass shootings between 2009 and 2017 found that 33% of the shooters had shown a documented pattern of violence against women, and the laws on the books often don’t do enough to prevent such men from accessing or keeping guns.
Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and is currently being held without bail in police custody. A trial date has not been set.