Halifax police foil shooting plot
Suspects, who planned to kill citizens, not tied to terrorist group, RCMP say
With only hours of warning, Halifax police announced Friday they had successfully averted a Valentine’s Day mass shooting.
The alleged attack planners, a 19-year-old male and a 23-yearold female, “had access to firearms and it was their intention to go to a public venue in the Halifax region on February 14th with a goal of opening fire to kill citizens, and then themselves,” read a statement by Nova Scotia RCMP.
The Mounties and Halifax Regional Police first got word of the “significant weapons-related threat” on Thursday morning, and by that evening had dispatched Emergency Response Teams to Timberlea, a community on the city’s outskirts.
By 1:30 a.m., police had tracked the 19-year-old suspect to an address on Tiger Maple Drive. Upon entering the home, however, they found that the man was already dead.
Neighbours, who were placed on lockdown by police, reportedly heard a single shot fired. Only minutes later, at 2. a.m., police arrested the 23-year-old female and an alleged male accomplice, 20. Both were arrested without incident at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
By Friday at 11 a.m., police had arrested a fourth alleged conspirator, a 17-year-old male. The conspirators are all believed to be Canadians, aside from the alleged wouldbe female shooter, who came from Geneva, Ill.
According to initial reports, the attack was “not culturally motivated,” and the suspects did not have any known connection to a terrorist organization.
“We believe we have apprehended all known individuals in this matter and eliminated the threat,” Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan, the commanding officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, told a news conference Friday. “We are not seeking any further suspects at this time in relation to this investigation.”
He added that the incident could have been “extremely tragic.”
“I am extremely pleased to report that this threat was averted.”
Federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney applauded police efforts. “These arrests are a great example of the fine work they do on a daily basis to help keep Canadians safe,” he said in a statement.
Brennan thanked the police department in Geneva, Ill., for assisting in the investigation. Although police believe they have apprehended all of the suspects in the case, they urged the public to remain vigilant.
The Timberlea operation is now under investigation by the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team.