The two men accused of planning a mass shooting at last week's Pokmon World Championships were capable of carrying out a devastating attack, police have said.
27-year-old James Stumbo and 18-year-old Kevin Norton were detained on Thursday and subsequently arrested after threatening Facebook posts led Boston police to search the pair's vehicle and discover a hunting knife, AR-15 assault rifle, 12-gauge Remington shotgun and ammunition.
In a statement to the press, Boston police superintendent Paul A. Fitzgerald said that the authorities' discovery of the weapons and ammo led them to believe the two to be capable of a ‘potential tragedy'.
What we can read is what they were saying and the actions that they took, bringing the weapons they were showing online as a threat,"Fitzgerald said.
That could have been a mass shooting.”
Police Commissioner William B. Evans added: Inside, there were a lot of kids, a lot of gamers, and thank God we were able to cut off whatever these two individuals coming from Iowa were up to.”
A separate news release from the Suffolk County, Massachusetts district attorney's office offered further insight into the possible danger.
According to prosecutors, Stumbo allegedly posted an image (pictured) of the assault rifle and shotgun on the bonnet of his car to a Facebook page titled ‘Mayhem Pokemon Crew' with the caption "Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!"
In a separate Facebook chat conversation, Stumbo compared the planned attack to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre as well as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, referring to ‘Columbine pt 2', ‘another Boston massacre' and the ‘Boston bombing'.
Norton also made remarks, allegedly threatening to shoot a person he had been bullying on a chatroom after it led to his being banned.
Oh, ok, that's fine then I will just shoot him on Friday thanks,” Norton is said to have responded.
Both Norton and Stumbo were refused bail pending a dangerousness hearing, which allows a judge to hold the accused for up to 90 days without bail pending trial upon clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community”.