Lawsuit Settled Over Maryland Newsroom Shooting

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The families of the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting and some newspaper employees who survived the fatal 2018 attack dropped civil charges against The Baltimore Sun and Tribune Publishing this week after settling the case, the paper said.

Gerald Fishman, Rob Hyasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendy Winters were killed in a terrorist attack on June 28, 2018.

The Capital Gazette reported Wednesday that the plaintiffs filed a joint notice Tuesday afternoon with The Sun and Tribune to dismiss claims in Anna Arundel Circuit Court against the news organization and its parent company.

A negligence lawsuit filed in 2021 shortly after gunman Jarrod Ramos was found guilty of the shooting said the Annapolis attack was “a tragedy that could have been prevented.”

The lawsuit states that had the defendants “taken reasonable steps to protect The Capital and its employees,” the gunman “would have been located and stopped before he entered The Capital’s office, and he may never have attempted to commit any crime at all.” attack”.

In early 2022, the lawsuit was merged with a similar lawsuit.

After Tuesday’s filing, any dispute between the plaintiffs and the newspaper and its parent company has been settled, Steven Silverman, an attorney for the Smith and Fishman families, said Wednesday. Everything else about the settlement, including the terms, is confidential, he said.

The newspaper says the notice does not change claims against St. Johns Properties, the owner of the building where the shooting took place. The previous document stated that the plaintiffs had reached an agreement with St. John’s but were awaiting the completion of the settlement.

Ramos broke into The Capital’s offices with a shotgun, smoke bombs, and a device that blocked his victims from escaping. He shot five employees. Six other members of the newsroom survived, either escaping or hiding from Ramos.

After pleading guilty and being prosecuted for his actions, Ramos was sentenced in September 2021 to six life terms in prison, five without the possibility of parole, plus 345 years, all with consecutive terms.

The lawsuit argued that the newspaper companies “certainly should have known” that Ramos was a threat to The Capital’s journalists due to litigation between him and the company, as well as a series of messages and tweets dating back to 2011 in which he threatened employees. .

He accused The Sun and the Tribune of failing to protect the newsroom from threats when The Capital moved its offices from Capital Drive to 888 Bestgate in 2014, months after the Annapolis-based newspaper was bought by the Baltimore Sun. Media, a subsidiary of Tribune Publishing.

In response, James P. Ulwick, a Baltimore attorney representing The Sun and the Tribune, said the company was “not legally responsible for the criminal conduct of a third party.”

Claims against The Sun and Tribune were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be returned.

Top photo: Photos of five employees of the Capital Gazette decorate candles during a vigil on June 29, 2018, across the street from where they were killed, at the newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The families of the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting and some newspaper staff who survived the fatal attack in 2018 dropped civil charges against The Baltimore Sun and Tribune Publishing this week after settling the case. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, file)

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