Geneva police search home of woman charged in Canada
A 23-year-old woman from Geneva has been charged in a foiled plot to kill as many people as possible at a Halifax shopping mall on Valentine's Day, Canadian police officials said today.
Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath was arrested at the Halifax, Canada, airport and confessed to being part of the plot, police said.
Souvannarath and Randall Steven Shepherd, a 20-year-old from Halifax, were both charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia. They are due in court Tuesday morning.
On Friday, Geneva police executed a search warrant at Souvannarath's home about 6:20 p.m. Multiple items were taken from the home, but police would not reveal what items were seized at the request of Canadian authorities. Geneva police, though, are expected to hold a news conference this afternoon.
A third person taken into custody, a male 17-year-old from Cole Harbour, was released overnight. Investigators have determined he was a person of interest, but have not leveled charges against him.
They also are investigating a 19-year-old male suspect who shot himself to death after police surrounded his home, a senior Canadian police official told The Associated Press.
The official said 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.
Police said the dead man and the Geneva woman had planned to kill themselves after committing the shootings. The woman told police 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 Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay said the plot was not related to Islamic terrorism.
"This appeared to be a group of murderous misfits that were coming here, or were living here, and prepared to wreak havoc and mayhem on our community," MacKay said. "It would have been devastating. Mass casualties were a real possibility."
MacKay credited police for their quick action.
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.
MacKay said all the suspects have been arrested or are dead.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney applauded the work of police in Canada and Geneva, as well as border officials in a statement.
Police said they arrested the 20-year-old and Souvannarath about 2 a.m. Friday at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Police arrested the 17-year-old at a home shortly after 11 a.m. Friday. All three remain in police custody as the investigation continues.
The Geneva Police Department released a short statement Friday confirming it had been contacted by the Halifax Regional Police Department to assist with the investigation involving Souvannarath in a "potential significant weapons-related threat." The department added it had not previously had contact with the woman.
Daily Herald staff writers Steve Zalusky and Katlyn Smith and Associated Press contributed to this report.