Thomas “Tom” Marquardt is one of the people that Jarrod Ramos sued from Capital Gazette Communications. Officials have identified Jarrod W. Ramos as the suspect in the Capital Gazette shooting that left five people dead. Here is what we know about Marquardt and why Ramos sued him and tweeted about him so frequently.
1. Jarrod Ramos Named Thomas Marquardt, Along with Eric Hartley, in His Defamation Lawsuit
On July 2011, Ramos entered a guilty plea of criminal harassment and was placed on supervised probation for 18 months, court records indicate. Five days later, Eric Hartley wrote an article talking about how Ramos emailed a woman and called her vulgar names, harassing her, and she ultimately called the police. Part of Hartley’s story read: “She stopped writing back and told him to stop, but he continued. When she blocked him from seeing her Facebook page, he found things she wrote on other people’s pages and taunted her with it, attaching screenshots of the postings to some of his emails. She called police, and for months he stopped. But then he started again, nastier than ever. All of this without ever having seen her in person since high school.”
In response to Hartley’s story, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit one day before the statute of limitations was going to expire, about a year later. He named Hartley and Marquardt in the lawsuit. Two months later, he filed a fuller complaint that was 22 pages long. His complaints were dismissed.
You can read the court records here.
After the shooting, Marquardt wrote on Facebook: “I can’t even fathom with any degree of understanding what happened at my old newspaper today. The Capital, like all newspapers, angered people every day in its pursuit of the news. In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.”
2. Jarrod Ramos Often Tweeted about Marquardt, Saying He Wanted To See Him ‘Cease Breathing’ & Calling Him ‘Evil Tom’
On more than one occasion, Ramos tweeted about Marquardt. When it was announced that the Capital Gazette was being taken over by the Baltimore Sun, he wrote: “I’ll enjoy seeing @capgaznews cease publication, but it would be nicer to see Hartley and Marquardt cease breathing.”
He also frequently referred to Marquardt on Twitter as “Evil Tom.”
Ramos had a second Twitter account that only made a few tweets, compared to the 800+ from his main account, and he tweeted about Marquardt there too.
3. Thomas Marquardt Was Editor of the Capital Gazette at the Time of Ramos’ Lawsuit, But Retired in September 2012
Hartley included Marquardt in the lawsuit in 2012 because he was editor and publisher of Capital Gazette Communications at the time. Marquardt retired from his position as editor a short time later, in September 2012. No indication was made that the timing had anything to do with Ramos, however.
When he retired, he told the Capital Gazette: “There are so many things I’m going to miss. The news business – it really was the natural high, being on top of the news and working with a staff.”
He said he had kept his decision a secret for a while before announcing it. He said he decided to retire because of his age, his wife Sue’s retirement from nursing, watching friends pass away, and still wanting to enjoy life while he could. Today, he lives on a waterfront property on Kent Island with his wife, Sue, according to his bio.
When he retired, Marquardt had worked at the Capital Gazette for more than 35 years, The Baltimore Sun reported. It was called The Evening Capital when he joined in 1977 as the managing editor. He became executive editor and then later publisher. He came to Annapolis when he was 29, before the Internet, he noted in an interview at the time. He said he had always wanted to work in journalism since he was 10, despite his family’s history of working for Ford.
Marquardt has a bachelor’s in journalism from Central Michigan University and was a reporter and editor in Michigan before he joined the Capital. He won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Maryland-Delaware D.C. Press Association. He was also chosen in 2010 as one of The Daily Record’s Influential Marylanders.
4. Marquardt Said He & Others Worried About How to Stop Ramos’ Harassment, & He Was Concerned Ramos Might ‘Blow Us All Away’
In an interview with the LA Times, Marquardt said that he and other newspaper officials worried about how to stop Ramos’ harassment.
“He waged a one-person attack on anything he could muster in court against the Capital… I said during that time, ‘This guy is crazy enough to come in and blow us all away,'” he told the LA Times. ”
The paper didn’t sue him, he said, because they didn’t want to infuriate him more and make it worse. And the police couldn’t arrest him for his behavior. He said he felt powerless to stop Ramos’ harassment. “If it’s him, I’m gonna feel…responsible for this. I pray it’s not him,” he told the LA Times.
5. Today Marquardt Writes About Wine & Is a Board Member of Several Advocacy Groups
Although he’s retired from his job at The Capital, Marquardt still writes for a publication called More About Wine. He’s been there since 1986, co-authoring a weekly column about wine that runs in the Capital Gazette, he wrote on LinkedIn. Marquardt writes the column with Patrick Darr.
He’s also a board member for the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center and the Anne Arundel County Public Library. For a year in 2014, he was the President of the Southwind Property Owners Association.
This is a developing story.