The Boston Police Department on Sunday said they prevented a “potential tragedy” after taking action over violent threats made on social media toward those attending the Pokemon World Championship.
Private sector public safety personnel at the Hynes Convention Center first received the thread on Thursday, according to the Boston Police. Two male suspects – 18-year-old Kevin Norton and 27-year-old James Stumbo – who had driven from Iowa with multiple weapons, according to the police statement, were stopped before entering the event.
Prior to the event this weekend, an account which appears to belong to Stumbo posted in a Facebook group called “Mayhem Pokemon Crew.”
“Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!” the account wrote with a photo posted of a white car with guns lying on top of the trunk. An account that appears to be Kevin Norton’s replied to the post: “With killing the competition?” Another person responded, “Haha yes”.
According to the statement, detectives recovered one 12-gauge Remington shotgun, one DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife.
Boston police spokeswoman Officer Rachel McGuire told msnbc the car in the police report is a white Chevy sedan.
According to The Daily Beast, Stumbo in a police report claimed during questioning that the post was taken out of context.
“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,” BPD Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis Commander Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald said in a statement.
There is an arrest warrant for both Stumbo and Norton. They were charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and other firearm related charges and will be arraigned at Boston Municipal Court on Monday.
“The BPD detectives and collaborating agencies did a great job in the stop and prevention of a potential tragedy,” Fitzgerald added.
The Pokemon Company International said after the arrests that it took immediate action after hearing about a threat.
“Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue. We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department. 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 company said in a statement.