HALIFAX – A man who went to rock shows with two young men alleged to have been planning a Valentine’s Day shooting at a Halifax mall says his friends never spoke of guns to him.
Call-centre-worker Vincent Appleton said he was friends with Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, and James Gamble, 19. Shepherd was charged Saturday with conspiracy to commit murder. Gamble was found dead in his house in Timberlea, NS when police surrounded it early Friday.
They never mentioned firearms, said Appleton. “It throws you back a little bit. It gives you pause,” said the 35-year-old, who had planned to spend Saturday morning at the Halifax Shopping Centre, where police allege the attack was to take place.
Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Ill., has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Appleton said he was friends with Shepherd and Gamble, and that he went to rock shows with them and had them over for a few beers at his apartment.
A social networking website linked to Gamble features pictures of weapons, Nazi symbols and images relating to the Columbine school shooting. Other pictures on the social media site show him posing with a rifle and a knife.
Professor of psychology and dean of science at Saint Mary’s University said in cases like this it’s possible the alleged plot was hatched within a specific group of people without anyone else finding out.
“It’s quite probable that almost everybody who knew these people had no idea this was going on,” said Smith.
Despite that, Smith said it appears the alleged plot was ready to be executed.
“The point that this was already at the very specific plan stage suggests that it was quite plausible that they were actually going to do it. They had a date, they had a place, they had the materials they needed to do it, so that’s what makes it so high risk,” he said.
Meanwhile, police in Geneva, just west of Chicago, say they searched Souvannarath’s home Friday night and seized several items.
A former neighbour, Eva Schooley, moved into the same cul-de-sac a few months after the Souvannaraths in 2000 and lived across from them for about a decade, the Associated Press reported Saturday. She recalled them as “very nice people” and said they participated in frequent block parties, Easter egg hunts and Halloween parties.
“My granddaughters ran around with Lindsay,” she told AP. “Lindsay was a little strange. I think at one point she went kind of gothic on us for a while. She liked to dress in black, the whole gothic style.”
Police said Souvannarath and Shepherd will be in court Tuesday to face the charges.
– With files from Marieke Walsh, Global News
© 2015 The Canadian Press