A 32-year-old North Vancouver man who allegedly posted death threats on his Facebook page and said he would commit crimes similar to the recent shooting rampage in Colorado appeared in court Wednesday, charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.
Investigators were alerted to the threats July 24 when an anonymous caller phoned in to tip them off, said Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP. Police launched an investigation to track down the owner of the Facebook account on which the messages had been posted. They arrested Ryan John Lewis at his home in the Lower Lonsdale area on August 1.
Lewis’ account was not protected by privacy settings, meaning that anyone could access the page and see its contents. Facebook has now removed the account.
Investigators seized Lewis’ home computer for forensic study to see if he had made any other threats using social media, said De Jong.
“His postings were several, and they were fairly lengthy and made reference to Colorado shootings and that he wanted to repeat that behaviour here in the Vancouver area,” said De Jong.
Investigators described Lewis as being “greatly disturbed” about the Colorado shooting, according to De Jong. The spokesman could not confirm whether any weapons had been found in Lewis’ home.
Lewis has been released on several conditions: He cannot have access to the Internet; he must live with his mother and abide by a curfew; he can’t possess weapons or explosives; and he must not consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs.
Lewis will next appear in court Aug. 22
On July 20, gunman James Holmes allegedly killed 12 people and injured 58 when he opened fire in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.