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Woman harassed by Capital Gazette shooting suspect says he 'tormented' her

"I was afraid he could show up at any point, any place ... and kill me," the former high school classmate of the suspect told "Today."
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A former high school classmate of the man accused of killing five people at a Maryland newspaper office last week said she lived in fear of his cyberstalking for years and had no doubt he could be capable of unleashing such a "calculated" attack.

"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,'" the woman, who asked to be identified as Lori, told "Today" in an exclusive interview Monday. "I knew if he was to do anything on a mass shooting level, it was going to target The Capital."

Jarrod Ramos, 38, remains held without bond after he was charged Friday with five counts of first-degree murder in the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis. Prosecutors say Ramos opened fire Thursday afternoon with a pump-action shotgun in the "coordinated" rampage — six years after he sued the newspaper for defamation.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2011 column that profiled Lori, who said she was victimized by Ramos after he contacted her via email in 2009 after they graduated from Arundel High School.

"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," Lori said.

While she didn't remember Ramos from school, she said, he grew obsessed with her during their renewed interaction.

"We were sending just short emails back and forth every couple days and then all the sudden out of nowhere one day he sent me this really angry email ... he said something along the lines of he was worried about me, that I hadn't responded to him in three or four days, what was wrong with me, why was I doing this to him?" Lori said. "And at that point, I kind of took a step back and said, 'What is going on here?'"

Lori said Ramos became belligerent and cursed in his messages, and suggested she should kill herself and get a protective order.

"I don't know what he wanted," she added. "He never asked for my phone number. He never asked to call me. You know he never asked to meet me."

The attorney representing Ramos did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Lori said she went to authorities after the harassment became relentless.

Ramos initially pleaded guilty in July 2011 to criminal harassment in Anne Arundel County. Ramos' 90-day jail sentence was suspended, and he was placed on 18 months of supervised probation.

But while the legal proceedings dragged on between him and the Capital Gazette, Lori said she ended up moving out of fear that he might find her in the Annapolis area.

"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, make sure my windows looked cracked, my door wasn't ajar," she said.

"I was afraid he could show up at any point, any place ... and kill me," she added.

While the lawsuit against the Capital Gazette was dismissed in 2015, a former publisher said Ramos continued to harass employees online.

Lori said she continued to live in fear as well — until the shooting at the newspaper last week. But after so many years looking over her shoulder, she still doesn't feel safe.

"I know he can't come and get me today, but I have been tormented and traumatized and terrorized for so long that it has, I think, changed the fiber of my being," she said.