A 32-year-old B.C. man is facing charges after allegedly threatening to repeat the Colorado shootings that left 12 people dead last month.
Mounties in North Vancouver say Ryan John Lewis “made significant death threats” on his Facebook page “to commit crimes similar to the recent shootings in Colorado.”
Lewis was arrested Aug. 1. He made a short court appearance in North Vancouver and was charged with uttering threats.
North Vancouver RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong said he was later released from police custody on several conditions, including that he not have access to the internet.
“The police are committed to keeping our communities safe and take these types of threats very seriously,” De Jong said.
“Social media is a powerful tool and can be used for good or bad. Comments and postings are not private and for public safety reasons, are taken seriously.”
De Jong said Lewis has no previous criminal record and was not known to them before, but officers were quite concerned with the statements that he allegedly published.
“He had a very disturbing affinity and support to these shootings and said he would repeat them in the Vancouver area,” De Jong said.
Twelve people died and 58 were wounded when a gunman opened fire on an audience attending the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises last month in Aurora, Colo.
James Holmes, a 24-year-old former University of Colorado graduate student, is in custody and charged with dozens of counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Forensic study underway
North Vancouver police said their investigation into Lewis’s alleged threats is ongoing.
“We have seized his computer. We are seeing if he has posted on any other sites, other than on Facebook. And a forensic study will be done of all his electronics. His apartment has been gone through,” De Jong said.
“At this point we can’t disclose whether any weapons were found.”
Lewis is scheduled to appear in court again later this month.