Woman stalked by US newspaper shooter lived in fear of attack
A woman who was cyberstalked by the gunman who shot dead five people at a US newspaper office last week has said she lived in constant fear he would one day find and kill her.
In an interview with the "Today" show on NBC broadcast Monday, the woman, who asked to be identified as Lori, added that when she heard about the rampage at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis on Thursday, she had no doubt her stalker was behind it.
"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."
Jarrod Ramos, 38, was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with five counts of murder.
Police and prosecutors say his attack, which he carried out with smoke grenades and a pump-action shotgun, was motivated by revenge after he unsuccessfully sued the newspaper in a defamation case.
The case stemmed from a 2011 column entitled "Jarrod wants to be your friend" that detailed the harassment case against Lori.
Ramos had contacted Lori by email in 2009, reminding her they went to high school together.
"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," she said.
Though she did not remember him, Lori wrote back and the pair began exchanging emails every few days, until Ramos grew angry when she did not reply promptly.
"And at that point, I kinda took a step back and said, 'What is going on here?'"
From that point, Ramos grew increasingly belligerent, telling her to kill herself and suggesting she would need a restraining order against him.
Lori eventually involved the authorities and Ramos pleaded guilty in July 2011 to misdemeanor criminal harassment, avoiding jail but receiving 18 months supervised probation.
Though Ramos turned his ire toward the newspaper and pursued a lawsuit against them, Lori was left feeling vulnerable and fearing he could show up at any time.
"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," she said.
"I was afraid he could show up at any point, any place ... and kill me," she added.
The lawsuit against the Capital Gazette was dismissed in 2015, but Ramos continued to harass and threaten its employees online.