Police: Capital Gazette shooting suspect likely sent letter to Va. paper

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say they believe the man accused of fatally shooting five people at a Maryland newsroom has sent a letter to a Virginia newspaper.

Norfolk police spokesman Daniel Hudson says the letter arrived Thursday at The Virginian-Pilot. He says the sender is Jarrod Ramos, who’s accused of killing five people at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis last week.

Hudson said police gave the letter to the FBI.

While he declined to say whether it’s addressed to anyone in particular, The Baltimore Sun reported it was sent to an editor at the Virginian-Pilot who was a former columnist at the Capital Gazette.

The Baltimore Sun is owned by the same company that owns The Capital Gazette and The Virginian-Pilot.

The Baltimore Sun said the letter was sent to Eric Hartley who wrote about a criminal case involving Ramos in 2011.

In the column, Hartley wrote that Ramos had been charged with misdemeanor harassment for a long series of threats he made against a former high school classmate.

Ramos sued Hartley and the newspaper for defamation, but lost the case and an appeal. Ramos then harassed Hartley for years.

Hartley found the pink, card-sized envelope in his newsroom mailbox on Thursday with a return address marked simply as “anonymous source,” and was postmarked June 28, the day of the shootings, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The letter was turned over to police who told Hartley the envelope contained an unsigned card along with a CD.

Police did not say what was on the CD, but Hartley told The Baltimore Sun the unsigned, store-bought congratulatory card said, “Smile, you’re on camera” and “It’s your big day. All eyes are on you.”

Police said Ramos sent several threatening letters the day of the shooting.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Jason Knight requested that the jail housing Ramos turn over “certified copies of all incoming or outgoing mail (front/back with envelope, delivered every two weeks)” for him.

The Baltimore Sun and WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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