An 18-year-old security guard who allegedly faked a mass shooting alert in Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival to get out of work was arrested over the weekend.
Janya B Williams sent a message through her TextNow number to a witness’ cellphone alerting about a mass shooting last Friday, prosecutors said during her bond hearing on Sunday.
The message read, “Mass shooting at 4pm location Lollapalooza. We have150 targets,” reported the Chicago Tribune.
The witness, who was a staffer supervising a security team, informed her supervisors who then set off a chain of alerts to the Chicago police and FBI Joint Counterterrorism Task Force.
When the witness returned to her post at about 4.15pm, Ms Williams informed her that her sister had seen a social media post about a mass shooting threat, prosecutors said.
When Ms Williams was asked to send a screenshot of the post, she created a fake Facebook page under the name “Ben Scott.”
Ms Williams wrote a post that said “Massive shooting at Lollapalooza Grant Park 6 pm,” and then took a screenshot to send it to the witness.
While the witness sent the screenshot to her supervisor, investigators found that the Apple iCloud account and IP address of the TextNow number both belonged to Ms Williams, prosecutors said.
She was found near the entrance of the festival and then taken to police command centre for questioning.
Prosecutors said that when Ms Williams was brought to the police for questioning, she said that she sent the message and created the fake post “because she wanted to leave work early.”
Ms Williams continues to remain in custody as of Wednesday afternoon and will return to court on Monday.
On Sunday she was charged with making a false terrorism threat. Cook County judge Mary Marubio ordered her held on $50,000 bail.