A security guard who worked at this year’s edition of Lollapalooza has been charged with making a false terrorist threat, after allegedly circulating an anonymous text messages which indicated a mass shooting was going to take place at the festival.
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18-year-old Janya Williams is accused of sending her supervisor an anonymous text message shortly before 3pm on the second day of the Chicago festival on Friday (July 29). Using the text message platform TextNow, it allegedly read: “Mass shooting at 4pm location Lollapalooza. We have 150 targets.”
As NBC Chicago reports, prosecutors allege that Williams also told her supervisor that her sister had seen a post about a mass shooting being planned for the event on Facebook. It’s alleged that Williams then created a fake Facebook page under the name Ben Scott, wrote a post saying there would be a shooting at the Lollapalooza site at 6pm, and sent a screenshot to her supervisor.
Chicago police and the FBI Joint Counterterrorism Task Force were notified, and, according to prosecutors, investigators soon discovered the Apple iCloud account and IP address of the TextNow number used to send the threatening message belonged to Williams. It’s alleged that during questioning, Williams admitted to sending the message and making the fake Facebook post “because she wanted to leave work early”.
Williams’ charge of making a false terrorist threat is a felony. On Sunday (July 31), Cook County Judge Mary Marubio set her bail at $50,000. Williams is due back in court on Monday (July 8).
This year’s edition of Lollapalooza featured a line-up that included the likes of Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, Green Day, Machine Gun Kelly, The KID LAROI, Charli XCX and more. Tomorrow X Together made history as the first K-pop act to perform at the festival, while BTS‘ J-Hope was the first K-pop artist to headline a major music festival in the US.
On the opening day of the festival, a group of activists protested Chicago’s 10pm weekend curfew for people under the age of 18 outside the event’s site. Elsewhere, Metallica jammed with Stranger Things star Joseph Quinn backstage at the festival.