Teen arrested for mass shooting threats toward Florida Pride event

An Ontario teenager is arrested after allegedly making threats to commit a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ event in West Palm Beach.

Image of police addressing the arrest of a teen who made a mass shooting threats at Pride event in Florida.
Image: Twitter via West Palm Beach Police Department

“I can say through his statement that there’s no remorse. I think his intentions were to commit a terrorist act, a hate crime,” West Palm Beach Deputy Chief Rick Morris said.

A teenager in Ontario has been arrested and charged after allegedly making threats to carry out a mass shooting at a popular Pride event in Florida. The 17 year-old was seen waving a gun and sharing detailed descriptions of his plans to commit the crime via an online chat site called Omegle.

The Miami Police Department was notified of the threat Sunday morning and informed the West Palm Beach department. An arrest was made early Monday morning following the annual Pride on the Block 2022 event which is held in West Palm Beach. The investigation was a collaborative effort involving the New York Police Department, Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The West Palm Beach Police Department charged the minor with threats to commit a mass shooting. Additional charges including written or electronic threats to kill, cause bodily injury, or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism are currently pending.

An Omegle user reported the threats the teen made to police as they were unsure about the severity behind them. Deputy Chief of West Palm Beach Police shared that this report led to the investigation.

“This was a perfect example of see something, say something,” Morris said.

Police questioned whether they should cancel the Pride on the Block event due to the threats, but decided against it. The investigation was taken very seriously and officers did not want to, ‘disrupt everybody’s normal lives.’

A representative from one of the event’s sponsors and partners, Compass Community Centre, shared their reaction after learning about the mass shooting threats in Florida.

“There’s a lot of fear — for your friends, your family, you want to feel safe. All of us do. To know that just for existing that somebody wants you to be dead, I don’t even know if anyone can process what the feeling is like. It’s devastating — and you’re talking about an entire community of people that just want to spread love and happiness and be their authentic selves,” Julia Murphy said.

Homophobic attacks are unfortunately on the rise in many areas of the world this year. Only last week a non-binary person was a victim of a brutal attack in Dublin city centre.

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