Canadian Police Foil Valentine's Day Mass Killings Plot By "Murderous Misfits"
Halifax police on Friday said a man and woman planned to open fire at a public venue "to kill citizens, and then themselves." The pair now face a number of charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.
Alleged mass murder plotters Lindsay Souvannarath and Randall Shepherd appear at Halifax Provincial Court in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Tuesday.
Police in Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, successfully foiled a potentially "devastating" plot by a band of "murderous misfits" to kill a large number of people on Valentine's Day, Canada's Justice Minister Peter McKay told reporters Saturday.
Three suspects, including a woman from Illinois, were arrested in connection with the alleged plot, police said Friday. Another suspect in the plot, a 19-year-old man, was found dead in a home as officers moved to arrest the group.
Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Illinois, and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, had already been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. But they now also face charges of conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of weapons for a purpose dangerous to the public and making a threat through social media, the Associated Press reported.
McKay, the senior minister for Nova Scotia, said the plot was not "culturally" motivated and did not appear to be "linked to terrorism," according to the Globe and Mail.
"Based on what we know so far it would have been devastating," he said. "Mass casualties were a real possibility."
Police acted quickly after receiving information from the public on the Crime Stoppers tip line, the AP reported.
"A day known to represent love and affection would have taken on a much different meaning today," McKay said.
Souvannarath was arrested at 2 a.m. Friday at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, along with Shepherd. A third suspect, a 17-year-old male, was arrested in Cole Harbour hours later, police said.
The fourth suspect, 19-year-old James Lee Gamble, shot himself at his home as police closed in.
In a statement, Brian Brennan, the commanding officer of the Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said authorities had "apprehended all known individuals in this matter and eliminated the threat."
"We are not seeking any further suspects at this time in relation to this investigation," he said.
Police have not specified the intended target for the alleged attack, but McKay said there was now extra security at the site, CBC reported.
"This appeared to be a group of murderous misfits ... prepared to wreak havoc and mayhem on our community," McKay said.
"We have averted a true tragedy here in Halifax," he said.