Monday, June 6, 2022



Within 24 hours of posting a video online theatening to "shoot up" yesterday's Pride on the Block event in West Palm Beach, a 17-year-old man has been taken into custody in Canada, where he is being charged with planning a mass shooting.

In the video posted on the video chat platform Omegle, the man, who claimed to be a Palm Beach County resident, was seen wielding a gun while making death threats.

While the video has not yet been released to the public, the man appeared to have very specific knowledge of the event location, according to the West Palm Beach Police Department.

The terrorist's name has not been released, pending filing of formal charges in West Palm Beach. .

Canadian authorities arrested the man this morning.
Pride on the Block is an annual block party and fundraiser held on the 500 block of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. Begun in 2020, the event draws crowds from all over South Florida to celebrate Pride month and raise funds for the local LGBTQ+ nonprofit, Transpire Help.

"Heartfelt thanks go out to the City of West Palm Beach Police Department for their prompt and throrough response to a credible threat against the local LGBTQ+ community," said Rand Hoch, a retired judge who serves as President of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC),

Based in West Palm Beach, PBCHRC is Florida’s oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
On Sunday morning, just hours before the event was to begin, a person who saw the video notified the City of Miami Beach Police Department, which promptly informed the West Palm Beach Police Department of the mass shooting threat.

Local police immediately notified event organizers. Additional uniformed officers were dispatched to the event as well as SWAT team members and undercover officers. Fortunately, the event,was held within steps of the City of West Palm Beach Police Department.

"More than 2,000 LGBTQ+ and allied people attended our thrid annual Pride on the Block," said Donna Weinberger, Founder of Transpire Health who produced the event. "Once we were informed of the threat, police officers were promptly dispatched to ensure our safety."

"Threats and hate speech have no place in our city, in our community, in our country," said West Palm Beach Police spokesman Mike Jachles.

In addition to working with the City of Miami Beach Police Department, the West Palm Beach Police Department worked with the New York City Police Department, the FBI, the Toronto Police Service, and the Peel Regional Police Service, to locate and apprehend the alleged terrorist, according to West Palm Beach Deputy Police Chief Rick Morris.

 "We want the LGBTQ community to know we stand behind them. Every event they have, we will protect them from hate and ignorance." said Morris.

"With the specter of the Pulse nightclub massacre always in mind when LGBTQ+ events are held, we are always grateful for the support of our law enforcement partners," said Hoch.

While the man faces severe charges in Canada, the City of West Palm Beach is planning to extradite him to Florida to face charges, including anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime charges.

"We hope justice is served and hope the man gets the help he needs," said Morris.

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