Canadian police foiled a plot by two suspects who were planning to go to a mall and kill as many people as they could before committing suicide on Valentine’s Day in Halifax, a senior police official said.
The official told The Associated Press on Saturday that police acted quickly after receiving information from the public on the Crime Stoppers tip line.
The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
A 19-year-old male suspect shot himself to death after police surrounded his home, the official said. A 23-year-old woman from Geneva, Illinois, was arrested at Halifax airport and confessed to the plot, the official said, adding that she had prepared a number of pronouncements to be tweeted after her death.
The official said the suspects used a chat stream and were apparently obsessed with death and had many photos of mass killings. Police and other officials said the plot was not related to Islamic terrorism.
Police said the suspects had access to firearms, but did not elaborate.
At the home of the male suspect, police saw two people leave the house who they determined were his parents and pulled them over on a traffic check. They then called the suspect.
The man told police that he didn’t have any guns, but shot himself as he was on his way out of the house, the official said.
The official said police worked with Canadian border officials to find the female suspect on her flight as she was making her way from Chicago.
Police said Friday they first received information a day earlier about a potentially significant weapons-related threat. Police said two other Nova Scotia men, ages 20 and 17, were also involved, although investigators are still trying to determine what their roles were. The police official said the 17-year-old male was wanted for threatening to shoot up a high school and had an outstanding warrant.
“Had they been able to carry out their intentions the possibility for a large loss of life was definitely there,” Brian Brennan, Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commanding Officer, said Friday.
“We believe we have apprehended all known individuals in this matter and have eliminated the threat. We are not seeking any further suspects at this time in relation to this investigation.”
Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney applauded the work of police in Canada and Geneva, Illinois and well as border officials in a statement. The Geneva police department said in a statement they were contacted by Canadian police and had no contact with the American woman before her arrest.
Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay has scheduled a news conference for Saturday morning.