Police say they foiled the alleged plot by three suspects to mark Valentine's Day by killing as many people as possible at the Halifax Shopping Center in Nova Scotia — and then committing suicide.
The suspects used a chat stream, were apparently obsessed with death and had many photos of mass killings, a senior police official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Police acted quickly after receiving information from the public on the Crime Stoppers tip line. Early Friday, they arrested Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Illinois, and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax.
The third suspect, 19-year-old James Lee Gamble, fatally shot himself around the same time after police surrounded his home in the Halifax suburb of Timberlea, the official said.
Souvannarath and Shepherd were charged with conspiracy to commit murder. 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, according to prosecution information submitted to a provincial court and made public Tuesday.
Neither suspect appeared to acknowledge the other at a courthouse hearing Tuesday. Two sheriff's deputies sat between them.
Their cases were adjourned until March 6, and their court-appointed lawyer, Kishan Persaud, said they won't seek bail.
Souvannarath confessed to the plot when she was arrested at the Halifax airport, the official said, adding that she had prepared a number of pronouncements to be tweeted after her death.
Shepard was also arrested at the airport, where he went to meet his friend, police said.
The prosecution alleges the crimes took place between Jan. 6 and Valentine's Day and were carried out in concert with Gamble.
After police surrounded Gamble's home early Friday, they saw his parents leave, get into a car an drive off. Police pulled the car over and then called the suspect.
The 19-year-old told police that he didn't have any guns. He then shot himself as he was on his way out of the house, the official told the AP
Associated Press reporter Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this story.
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