Tragedy averted?: Boston Pokemon World Championships
Published: August 24, 2015
Tragedy averted?: Boston Pokemon World Championships, Police have foiled an alleged plot to carry out a mass shooting at this weekend’s Pokémon World Championships after two gunmen apparently boasted about their violent plans on social media.
Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, attracted investigators’ attention after they reportedly threatened to cause harm to thousands of attendees at the tournament in Boston, Massachusetts.
Although the details of these threats remain unclear, Stumbo had posted a photo of a 12-gauge shotgun and an AR-15 rifle, laid on the back of a white car, on Facebook earlier this week.
Alongside the image, he had written: ‘Kevin Norton and I are ready for Worlds. Boston here were come!!!’. Norton, meanwhile, had joked in a comment about ‘killing the competition’ at the event.
After private sector security staff at Hynes Convention Center – which is hosting the competition – alerted intelligence officials to the deadly threats on Thursday, an investigation was launched.
Hours later, the two men were stopped while trying to enter the center. It is unclear why they were attempting to access the building on Thursday – one day before the tournament kicked off.
When detectives searched the pair’s car, they found the Remington shotgun and DPM5 Model rifle, as well as several hundred rounds of ammunition and a hunting knife, police said in a statement.
Neither Norton nor Stumbo, both from Iowa, could produce a license to carry.
The suspects were arrested at a hotel in Saugus, and have now been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other firearms counts.
They will shortly be arraigned at Boston Municipal Court, police said.
On Saturday, Boston Police Department Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis Commander Supt. Paul Fitzgerald said of the arrests: ‘The relationship between police and private sector security is important in both our community policing philosophy, as well as our counter-terrorism strategy.
‘This incident is a good example of private security reaching out to their local Boston police district and relaying information to detectives and BRIC analysts in order to identify the very real threat.’
He added that officials had done a ‘great job’ in preventing a ‘potential tragedy’.
In a statement, the Pokémon Company told Fox News that attendees had informed them of the social media threats earlier this week, prompting them to alert staff at Hynes Convention Center.
‘Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue,’ the firm said. ‘We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at Hynes Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with Boston Police.
‘Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokémon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority.’
The Pokémon World Championships, which is an invitation-only event, ends on Sunday. The annual competition features the top video game and trading card game players from across the world.
Players compete for more than $500,000 in scholarship prizes.
According to the New York Daily News, both Norton and Stumbo are Pokémon fans who were invited to the tournament under the Masters Division. The two men remain in police custody.
The FBI is assisting cops with the investigation.
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