UPDATED: Arrest made in UK after Laurier Waterloo campus lockdown
UPDATED, Mon. Oct. 19: The man in the United Kingdom accused of posting an online threat against Wilfrid Laurier University has been released on bail and is due back in court in January.
In an interview with CTV News, 22-year old Daniel Ransem apologized to the school for the distress he caused. He said the post is a “running inside joke” on 4chan and there was no malicious intent. He said he posted it around 2 a.m., his time.
Ransem is charged with malicious communications.
UPDATED, Sat. Oct. 17: At 10:35 a.m. Saturday morning, Waterloo Regional Police confirmed an arrest was made in Tottenham Hale, northern London in the United Kingdom in connection to the online threat that caused the lockdown Friday morning.
A 22-year old male was arrested on suspicion of malicious communication and currently remains in custody.
Details of the arrest and potential charges are limited.
Full details can be found here.
At 6 a.m. Friday morning, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus was placed on lockdown after a tip was received about an Internet threat.
Around 1:00 a.m., Special Constable Services were notified by the FBI and Crime Stoppers that there was a threat on 4chan toward the Science Building, very similar to the one made in regards to the Umpqua Community College in Oregon shooting earlier this month. After thorough conversations with Waterloo Regional Police Services, SCS and the university, Laurier decided to lockdown the school for precautionary reasons.
At 11:30 a.m., the lockdown was lifted after police and SCS confirmed there was no threat.
“In these situations, you have to [turn] to the side of caution. You have to put the safety of students and faculty at the front and that’s exactly what we did,” said Pat Dietrich, superintendent with the Waterloo Regional Police, at a press conference Friday.
“I want to emphasize that the information was received from sources we felt were highly credible. And secondly, the safety of our community is absolutely paramount. That is what caused us to put in place the lockdown,” said Max Blouw, president of Laurier.
Police say there is reason to believe the poster is not a Laurier student and may have been posted from outside of Canada. The police would not reveal where outside of the country the post is located.
“These are very complex investigations,” said Dietrich. “We are working with the RCMP in attempting to locate the origin of the posting.”
All buildings were closed and all classes and meetings were cancelled, according to a campus update via the SafeHAWK app and online at wlu.ca.
About 165 students remained in residence during lockdown. No one is allowed in or out and no one was harmed. Reading week is still occurring this week at Laurier.
According to CP24, the University of Waterloo has not received any similar threats. The police said they did not feel the need to lock down UW because they were not mentioned in the posting.
The school will resume operations as normal, but students, staff and faculty are encouraged to make their own decision in terms of work. No one is required to come back to Laurier today.