Teen arrested in Canada for allegedly threatening mass shooting at Pride event in West Palm

·3 min read

WEST PALM BEACH — A 17-year-old in Canada threatened this past weekend to commit a mass shooting at a Pride event in West Palm Beach, police alleged Monday in announcing his arrest.

Canadian police took the teen into custody in the Toronto area early Monday, West Palm Beach Police spokesman Mike Jachles said. Police did not identify the teen or say whether he has ties to Palm Beach County.

According to a police statement, the teen made anti-LGBTQ statements online and threatened to shoot people at the Pride on the Block 2022, which took place Sunday afternoon in downtown West Palm Beach.

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Rand Hoch, a retired judge who serves as president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, said LGBTQ events always take place with "the specter of the Pulse nightclub massacre always in mind."

"Heartfelt thanks go out to the City of West Palm Beach Police Department for their prompt and thorough response to a credible threat against the local LGBTQ+ community," Hoch said in prepared remarks Monday.

Investigators say the teen made the threat on the video chat platform Omegle and was seen waving a gun in the video. The teen said he lived in Palm Beach County and planned to commit a mass shooting at the Pride event, according to the police statement.

Jachles said investigators are working to confirm whether the teen has any connection to Palm Beach County, but noted that he appeared to have a detailed knowledge of local streets.

On Sunday, hours before the event was scheduled to begin, someone who saw the video notified police in Miami, who then contacted West Palm Beach police. After learning of the threat, the city assigned additional uniformed, undercover and SWAT officers to the Pride event.

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The Toronto Police Service, the Peel Regional Police Service in the Canadian province of Ontario, the New York Police Department and the FBI all were involved in the investigation that led to the 17-year-old's arrest.

Jachles said he could not comment on plans to extradite the teen to Florida as the teen is facing charges in Canada and local agencies have not yet formally charged him.

Canadian authorities have charged the teen with making threats to commit a mass shooting, Jachles said. In Florida, the teen faces a pending charge of making written or electronic threats to kill, do bodily injury, conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism.

Under state law, the crime is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

jwhigham@pbpost.com

@JuliusWhigham

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Teen in Canada accused of threatening shooting at West Palm Pride event