U.S. company alerted Kelowna RCMP to school threats made on Twitter - InfoNews

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U.S. company alerted Kelowna RCMP to school threats made on Twitter

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Image Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
June 14, 2018 - 4:34 PM

CONTENT AND LANGUAGE ADVISORY

SALMON ARM - A private company out of the U.S. says it detected a string of violent tweets late last night and immediately alerted the Kelowna RCMP.

Bob Dowling, a former senior special agent with the FBI's National Joint Terrorism Task Force and president and founder of the U.S.-based threat spotting company Tactical Institute says they picked up on the tweets late Wednesday night.

The Twitter account, which claims to be registered in Kelowna, includes 62 tweets starting in late February 2018. Six tweets were posted on June 13. These examples have not been edited. 

“When i think about it. man the columbine shooters kill count was only 14? like really? you had automatic and a shotgun. 14 is all you could pull off? amateurs.” The user goes on to say “See if you think you're better than me when i put a fucking 12 gauge in your mouth and paint the walls with you sad excuse of a brain.”

In the last tweet, the user says he’s going to make a list of people he hates. The photo associated with the account appears to show a teenage boy with red on his face. One of his tweets suggests the red is blood. 

“Any time we see a school threat we go directly to the school or in this case, because schools were not in session at the time, we went to the RCMP in Kelowna,” Dowling says.

The RCMP has not yet responded to inquiries by iNFOnews.ca or confirmed if it is investigating the Twitter account.

Today, school officials in the North Okanagan said a high school student was detained by police after making threats on social media. The student was located and detained. No weapons were found, according to the school district.

It is unclear if the Twitter account and the alleged threat in Salmon Arm are linked. The Twitter account contains references to both Salmon Arm and Kelowna.

According to Dowling, Tactical Institute picked up on the tweets during its regular sweep of social media for key words and phrases. They then vetted the account and notified the RCMP.

“This individual had been tweeting for days, perhaps weeks about mass shootings, Columbine, taking their own life…. those were all warning signs,” Dowling says.

Tactical Institute has been hired by schools and law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Dowling says, but currently has no clients in Canada. The company has, however, made at least two reports to Canadian agencies regarding threats of school shootings, including one in Calgary and another in Edmonton last year.

“We prefer to err on the side of caution than not say anything,” Dowling says.


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