HALIFAX — Two people accused of plotting to open fire in a Halifax mall are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for the first time on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
The charges against Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Ill., and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, were announced by the RCMP on Saturday, the same day police allege the Valentine’s Day attack on the Halifax Shopping Centre was planned.
A third suspect was found dead by police Friday morning at a home in Timberlea, N.S.
The identity of the deceased suspect has not been released by police because an independent agency that investigates serious incidents involving officers is looking into the circumstances of his death. The Serious Incident Response Team says it will not release the man’s identity.
Some published reports have identified him as Jamie Gamble, 19.
The Canadian Press has not been able to confirm the deceased man’s identity. A man at the house where the body was found declined to speak to The Canadian Press, but neighbours say Gamble did live at the home.
A social networking website believed to be linked to the deceased 19-year-old 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.
On Feb. 5, an image circulated on another account featuring what is believed to be the 19 year old’s username and the phrase: “Valentine’s Day it’s going down.”
Meanwhile, police in Geneva, Ill., say they will be talking to the RCMP and Halifax police on Tuesday about items seized during a search of Souvannarath’s home on Friday.
Julie Nash, commander of patrol operations, said she expects investigators to discuss the nature of items collected and whether any of them will be shipped to police in Nova Scotia.
“We’re not noting what those items are at this time,” she said in an interview. “We’ll be reaching out to those police departments in Canada to determine the evidentiary value of the items.”
Nash confirmed that the police department has had no dealings with Souvannarath prior to last week.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the private college she attended in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, declined to speak about the young woman.
However, Rod Pritchard confirmed in an email that Souvannarath enrolled at Coe College in 2010 and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing.
“We at Coe are not going to grant any interviews regarding Ms. Souvannarath,” he said in the email.
Prof. Charles Aukema confirmed that the young woman was one of his students, but he declined to say anything about her.
It appears Souvannarath wrote for the English Department’s Coe Review, an online literary publication that included a story attributed to her called “My Pet Skeleton.”
In the story, posted on July 10, 2013, the author describes owning a pet skeleton that scares people in department stores, restaurants and her grandmother’s house.
“Everyone else’s skeletons are locked up in closets,” the story says as it concludes. “Most people think they should stay there. Maybe you do, too. But I wouldn’t say anything bad about skeletons. There’s one inside you.”
Calls to Geneva High School, where she graduated in 2010, were not returned.
A man who went to rock shows with Shepherd and Gamble said they never mentioned firearms.
“I never heard either of them talk about shooting or killing,” Vincent Appleton told The Canadian Press on Saturday. “That’s why I find it (alleged plot) so surprising.”
Appleton confirmed pictures of the young man on the Tumblr site were of Gamble.
Shepherd and Gamble were close friends, Appleton said, adding he would usually see them together, most recently at an all-age music show in the city.