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Suspect In Foiled Canadian Mall Shooting Left Social Media Trail

Police say the Halifax Shopping Centre in Nova Scotia was the target of a thwarted attack.
Police say the Halifax Shopping Centre in Nova Scotia was the target of a thwarted attack.

The Canadian man who police say was involved in a foiled mass shooting plot reportedly expressed admiration for the 1999 Columbine High School massacre online.

Although police have yet to confirm his identity, Canadian media identifies the man as 19-year-old James Gamble. Police say he committed suicide as they closed in on him for allegedly planning attack at a shopping mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He and at least two others — Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Ill.; and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax — were reportedly part of the plot. A fourth suspect arrested on Saturday was subsequently released.

The CBC says: "Souvannarath was arrested at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport after arriving in Canada early Friday, at around 2 a.m. Shepherd, who was there to meet her, was also arrested."

As we reported on Saturday, police believe that the plot, which they say the co-conspirators discussed online, "would have been devastating."

The CBC reports: "Police tracked down a 19-year-old to a home on Friday on Tiger Maple Drive in Timberlea, about 20 minutes outside Halifax. Authorities initially thought he may have been linked to the alleged plot. He was found dead early Friday, and his death is under investigation by Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team."

Maclean's magazine says that a social networking website believed to be linked to Gamble "features pictures of weapons, Nazi symbols and images relating to the Columbine school shooting. Other pictures on the social media site show the young man posing with a rifle and a knife."

The Canadian weekly reports that on Feb. 5 "an image circulated on another account featuring the 19-year-old's username and the phrase: 'Valentine's Day it's going down.'"

The Halifax Chronicle Herald quotes neighbor Cindy Greenwood as saying the family attended the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

"This is really shocking. ... The parents are good people. They attend church. It's a nice family. I'm not sure what they even know of this so far," Greenwood told the newspaper.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.