The police cordon at the scene in Maryland | Reuters

The man suspected of killing five people at a newspaper office in eastern Maryland State has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to court records filed Friday.

Jarrod Ramos, a 38-year-old white male, is accused of shooting five people dead on Thursday at the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis, capital of Maryland.

Two others suffered superficial wounds during the shooting, possibly from broken glass.

Ramos had sued the newspaper for defamation in 2012 after it wrote about a criminal harassment case in which he had pleaded guilty.

His case against the newspaper was dismissed and when he appealed against the dismissal, an appeals court affirmed the decision.

William Krampf, acting police chief of Anne Arundel County, said Thursday night that threats had been made to the newspaper on social media before the shooting, but it was not clear if Ramos had made them.

Four of the dead victims were journalists with the paper and the fifth a sales assistant.

Police said the suspect damaged his fingers in possible efforts to disguise his identification before the “targeted attack” with a shotgun.

“This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm,” Krampf said Thursday.

“He entered the building with a shotgun and he looked for his victims inside.”

A reporter for the newspaper, Phil Davis, tweeted that the gunman shot through a glass door.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he said in another tweet. He later clarified that he was safe when he started tweeting.

The Maryland tragedy comes after 10 people were killed and another 10 wounded in a shooting at the Santa Fe High School southeast of Houston on May 18.

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