Valentine’s Day massacre? Murder-suicide plot ‘averted’ in Canada – police

Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer Brian Brennan (screenshot from CTV news video)
A mass murder-suicide shooting planned for St. Valentine’s Day was foiled by Canadian police in Nova Scotia, thanks to a tip just before the attack. A suspect was found dead and three more arrested, police said, declining to label the plot as “terrorist.”

A man and a woman planned to go to a public venue in Halifax on February 14 “with a goal of opening fire to kill citizens, and then themselves,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement on Friday.

A senior police official confirmed that the two suspects had plans to go to a mall to carry out the mass shooting on Valentine’s Day, AP reported. The two individuals involved were reportedly fascinated with mass murder and death, the official added.

Police said that the planned attack is not being considered a terror act or an attack tied to a particular religion at this point. “I wouldn’t characterize it as a terrorist event. I would classify it as a group of individuals that had some beliefs and were willing to carry out violent acts against citizens,” said Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer Brian Brennan, adding that the planned attack was “not culturally based.”

All suspects are said to be in custody. “We believe we have apprehended all known individuals in this matter and eliminated the threat. We are not seeking any further suspects at this time in relation to this investigation,” Brennan stated at a news conference.

Police received a tip Thursday morning about a 19-year-old man from Timberlea and a 23-year-old American woman from Geneva, Illinois, who allegedly had access to firearms and were a threat.

The 19-year-old individual was found dead in a house after police tracked him to Tiger Maple Drive in Timberlea early on Friday. A police official anonymously told AP that the suspect shot himself after police surrounded the house he was in.

The female suspect was arrested with a 20-year-old man at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday at 2 am local time. She was arriving into the country and the man came to meet her, according to police. At 11 am police apprehended the last suspect, a 17-year-old, in Cole Harbour.

The roles of the two suspects aged 20 and 17 are still being determined by the police.

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant about anything suspicious they may see or hear in their physical or online communities and to not hesitate to report anything to police,”
Brennan added.

READ MORE: Shooting at Canadian Parliament: Area in lockdown, manhunt underway

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said that he is taking law enforcement’s advice but is not canceling any of the planned celebrations for Saturday.

The mass murder plot comes just a few months after the nation was shocked by the actions of a gunman who fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and then rushed to Parliament Hill, where witnesses reported hearing 30 to 50 shots being fired inside the main Parliament building.

The gunman was eventually shot down. A massive manhunt ensued for other possible suspects as the whole capital was put under lockdown. The attack was classified by police as an act of terrorism and the suspect was identified as a Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

After the parliament shooting the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, Islamophobia has become a concern for many Muslims in Canada. Some mainstream media “blamed the whole faith,” instead of just pointing at the individuals and the extremist groups who committed the terror acts, Canadian activist Asoomii Jay told RT.

Jay decided to raise awareness of the issue after getting death and rape threats for being a Muslim. She asked people to hug a Muslim man labeled a “terrorist” in the streets of Toronto, and the action got a largely positive response. “We didn’t expect to receive so much positive reaction, this much encouragement and support. But we are happy to see Canadians react this way to Islamophobia,” Jay said.

READ MORE:‘Media blamed whole faith’: Canadian activist tries to cure Islamophobia with street hugs