A plan to commit a mass murder in a public space as part of a suicide pact in Canada on Valentine’s Day has been thwarted by law enforcement.
Law enforcement in Halifax, Canada, received a last-minute tip from a member of the public, reports The Daily Mail, that led to the arrests of two suspects — Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Illinois, and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Nova Scotia, at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
A third suspect, 19-year-old James Gamble, took his own life before police could arrest him at his home in Nova Scotia. Police heard a single gunshot from inside of the home before they entered and discovered the suspect's body.
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An unnamed 17-year-old boy was arrested and released from custody.
The plan by the group was to take place inside Halifax Shopping Center on Saturday, Feb. 14. The foiled plan is not being characterized as a terrorist act, reports Global News.
“Based on what we know so far, it would have been devastating — mass casualties would have been a real possibility,” Justice Minister Peter MacKay said. “The attack does not appear to have been culturally motivated, therefore not linked to terrorism. A day known to represent love and affection could have taken a much different meaning today had it not been for the exceptional efforts of the combined law enforcement community.”
Souvannarath allegedly confessed to police about the mass murder plot. She and Gamble had communicated online and planned to open fire at a public venue as part of their suicide pact. She had also scheduled tweets to be posted posthumously — the content of which is unknown.
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MacKay referred to the group as “murderous misfits” who were reportedly obsessed with killing and death, and owned a variety of photos of mass killings.
Gamble's Tumblr page reportedly featured photos from the Columbine High School massacre with a quote from the Columbine shooters: "This is a weird time, weird life, weird existence."
Weapons were seized by investigators and police said the group presented a “significant weapons-related threat.”
“This appeared to be a group of murderous misfits that were coming here, or living here, and were planning to wreak havoc and mayhem on our community,” MacKay said. “To be clear, all suspects are either dead or in custody."