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Gunman Shoots Up Newspaper

October 21, 1986

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A shouting gunman set off a smoke grenade in the lobby of The Anchorage Times newspaper Tuesday and shot up an office before being subdued by the newspaper’s 79-year-old publisher and his daughter.

Police arrested 41-year-old Donald Ramsey and said they believed the incident was triggered by a disagreement over a newspaper ad.

″He said he put an ad in the Times and his house burned down,″ said publisher Bob Atwood. ″He blamed us.″

Ramsey was awaiting a hearing before a magistrate and had not been charged, said police spokesman Joe Young.

The gunman, armed with a .223-caliber rifle, a handgun and several knives, burst into the building during the morning, then chained and locked the front doors behind him before setting off the smoke bomb and firecrackers, Atwood said.

″Then he came upstairs and shot up the outer office,″ he said. ″He was just firing away.″

Atwood and his daughter, Elaine, jumped the gunman and managed to wrestle the rifle away. ″Then he came up with a handgun. I figured it was empty so I grabbed for it and kept pounding on him.″

Atwood had said he thought the man was firing blanks because he didn’t see anything being hit. But officers said there were bullet holes in the ceiling and light fixtures.

Atwood suffered a cut on his hand and a burned finger. Nobody else was injured.

Lois Padgett, a secretary in the upstairs offices, said the man came up a flight of stairs shouting, ″but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.″

She said she heard the ruckus downstairs and locked Atwood’s doors and told him to stay inside, but he bolted from his office as the man approached his daughter’s office.

Afterward, the building was filled with smoke and an area of the lobby was charred from a small fire apparently ignited by the smoke grenade.

Firefighters and police cleared the building immediately after the incident and then a second time later after they found the man’s backpack.

″They found smoke grenades and a couple of things they aren’t sure of,″ said Anchorage Public Safety Commissioner John Franklin. ″Nobody is going back in until the bomb squad checks them out.″

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