The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Teen Arrested for Threatening a Mass Shooting at Florida Pride Event

Police Arrest Teen for Mass Shooting Threat at Pride on the Block

A 17-year-old teenager in Canada is under arrest after he allegedly brandished a gun online and threatened a mass shooting at Pride on the Block 2022 in West Palm Beach, Fla., this past Sunday.

Police in Miami were the first alerted to the threat made Sunday morning on the online video chat site Omegle. The arrest came in Canada the following morning as the result of an international investigation involving the FBI and law enforcement agencies in West Palm Beach, Miami, New York, and Toronto. The unnamed teenager reportedly was familiar with the Palm Beach area, but allegedly made the threats from Canada.

"I can say through his statement that there's no remorse," West Palm Beach Deputy Chief Rick Morris said of the teen at a press conference held yesterday announcing the arrest and reported by local WPBF. "I think his intentions were to commit a terrorist act, a hate crime."

He added, "These people are not heroes that are doing the shooting. They're criminals. Some of them are terrorists."

Police released pictures they say showed the teen brandishing a gun during an Omegle chat session. Morris said the unnamed teen allegedly went into great detail in the video, providing the exact location of his planned massacre as well as making multiple anti-LGBTQ+ comments.

“People were very scared. The Pulse nightclub shooting is still very much in people’s minds, especially in our gay community, which is tragic. We want the LGBTQ community to know we stand behind them,” Morris said.

After police in Miami were alerted to the threat, they immediately notified the West Palm Beach Police Department. WPBPD deployed uniformed, plainclothes, and SWAT officers along at Pride on the Block while the investigation continued. With the help of the FBI and police in NYC and Toronto, the suspect was located and placed under arrest in the early morning hours of Monday.

“These were hate-filled threats targeted at a ‘gay event’ in Palm Beach County and the West Palm Beach Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety of our residents, visitors, and anyone who comes to our city,” Mike Jachles, WPBPD public information officer, said at the press conference.

The teen is currently in jail in Canada charged with threats to commit a mass shooting. Charges are pending in West Palm Beach.

The Advocate has reached out to Pride on the Block for comment.

Tags: News, Crime, Florida, Pride

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