Hamilton

Hamilton councillor was sent email threat — mentioned Las Vegas killings — police called

Police officers could be seen searching individual rooms around council chambers

City hall

Police came to Hamilton city hall Wednesday after a city councillor received a threatening email. (Terry Asma/CBC)

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Police are investigating after a Hamilton city councillor got an email Wednesday that made a Las Vegas-related threat at several members of council.

'I can't recall anything that has come toward us to this extent.' - Coun. Jason Farr

A councillor got a threatening email Wednesday, said city manager Chris Murray. It was serious enough to trigger the city's emergency security measures, which involves municipal security guards and eventually a police response. 

City hall wasn't locked down, and council's general issues committee meeting proceeded as usual. But police officers could be seen searching individual rooms around council chambers.

Lloyd Ferguson, Ancaster councillor, said the email referenced the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded.

Otherwise, neither he nor Murray, nor other councillors questioned, would elaborate on the contents of the email. Murray did say that police searching the building, as if a culprit was on scene, was "in line with the nature of the threat."

'Look what's on Twitter. People say terrible things on Twitter.' - Coun. Lloyd Ferguson

Jason Farr, Ward 2 councillor, said he was glad police were called. Councillors are the target of vitriol all the time, but this one was extreme.

"I can't recall anything that has come toward us to this extent," Farr said. "It really is rare."

Ferguson, who also chairs the police services board, said the acting chief informed him of the investigation this morning. Ferguson was less alarmed by the email.

"We all get these wacky emails," he said. "I probably received two or three last week. Look what's on Twitter. People say terrible things on Twitter."

Farr said police investigated a threat against him when he was first elected in 2010. That taught him just how intense citizen anger can be.

"What I learned early on," he said, "is you have to take every one of those situations seriously."

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