FBI alerted Wilfrid Laurier University about online threat to students
Joshua Freeman and Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Friday, October 16, 2015 7:25AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 16, 2015 12:23PM EDT
The lockdown initiated at the Waterloo campus of Wilfrid Laurier University has been lifted, as multiple law enforcement agencies investigate an online threat made against the school on a popular online message board.
The lockdown went into place at 6 a.m. and was lifted at approximately 11:30 a.m. Friday.
University President Max Blouw told reporters the school would resume operations as soon as possible, but students and staff were under no obligation to return to campus on Friday.
Blouw said the school’s own emergency dispatch centre received a “heads-up” warning about an online threat from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation overnight. The university said earlier that campus police received a tip through Crime Stoppers about a threat against the school’s science building.
The threat was posted on 4chan.org, a popular image-heavy online message board.
Waterloo Regional Police Supt. Pat Dietrich would not disclose the specific details of the threat, but told reporters at the scene that “the verbiage used on the 4chan website was similar verbiage used in a tragic incident in the United States.”
Dietrich continued on to say the language used was similar to what was seen prior to a school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1.
“There’s indication right now that the poster (of the threat) is not local,” Dietrich said.
He said the person found to have created the threat may face a charge of public mischief.
“Sadly these types of incidents are way too prevalent in North America right now,” Dietrich said.
“These are very complicated investigations, locating IP addresses and the ways you can mask them is something that is very complex,” Dietrich said, adding the RCMP is assisting local police in finding the person who posted the threat.
Investigators do not believe the person who posted the threat is a Wilfrid Laurier University student, and Dietrich said the threat likely came from outside Canada.
Blouw said the university is on a fall reading week, which meant far fewer students, staff and faculty were on campus Friday morning.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson at University of Waterloo – located just 1.3 kilometres from Wilfred Laurier -- said that school has not received any similar threats and is open as usual.