Map of potential school shooting outlined goal to kill '150 - 200 people'

The Saskatoon police say they have arrested someone after threats to an east side high school were made online. The map, which was originally posted on social media, included information on where shooters would be set up, how they would disguise themselves and where they would be targeting victims.

Threat indicated when and how the alleged attack would happen

Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon was the subject of a threat made in an online post. (Don Somers/CBC)

"Goal 150 - 200 people."

That was a line of text at the bottom of a map that appeared to detail plans for a school shooting at Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon. It also had a date, Dec. 17, written on it.

The map, which was originally posted to the social media site Discord, included information on where shooters would be set up, how they would disguise themselves and where they would be targeting victims.

"Execute everyone in commons as it is lunch time," said another line of text on the map. "Execute everyone seen in highlighted hallway and exit porter doors within 5 minutes." 

The text is attached to a floor plan of Holy Cross High School and would eventually make its way to the social media application Snapchat where the image was shared further, eventually being brought to the attention of parents in Saskatoon and police. CBC is not publishing an image of the map as it contains detailed information on how to shoot-up a school.

A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody as a result of the threat and charged with uttering threats, the crown prosecutor confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

He's set to appear in court on Jan. 2, 2020. Due to his age, CBC cannot publish his name under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. He's been released on a number of conditions, including that he can't be anywhere near Holy Cross High School. Police say no one else was involved.

The threat triggered a police presence at Holy Cross on Wednesday. 

CBC Saskatoon reached out to the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for comment about the threat but officials say the division won't be commenting as the matter is now a police investigation.

The location of Holy Cross High School can be seen in this screen grab from Google Maps. (Google Maps/Screenshot)

A letter sent to Holy Cross parents Wednesday indicated the school was safe to attend, encouraging anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to report the information as soon as possible. 

"It takes the whole community to ensure we provide a safe learning environment for students and staff," said the letter.

"Students, families, teachers and staff each have the responsibility to contribute to the safe, positive school environment we all want for our children. If any member of the community sees or hears something that may affect the school community, we all have a responsibility to report it." 

Janelle Roy said she contacted police after her son, a Grade 12 student at the school, showed her the map.

"I was shocked and confused," said Roy in a message on social media. "I honestly thought my son [was] just pulling my leg, as he is known to be a prankster." 

It was unbelievable that someone would actually place such a threat to Holy Cross.- Janelle Roy, parent of Holy Cross student

Her emotions changed from confusion to fear when she realized what she was looking at, she said.

"After I realized he was completely serious I was scared," she said. "It was unbelievable that someone would actually place such a threat to Holy Cross. I mean you see these kinds of things in the news happening in the states and you definitely empathize with them, it's sad ... you would just never expect it to actually happen at your children's school." 
Roy said she "hardly slept" on Tuesday, as she had questions about whether or not she would be sending her children to school and was worried how everything would turn out.

"I had many mixed feelings and was just trying to comprehend how someone [could] actually think of something like this," she said. 

Roy said as a youth worker and parent, she feels the map was someone reaching out for help but said at the same time, parents have to be concerned for everyone at the school.

"And not just Holy Cross, any school in general," she said.

Staff Sgt. Grant Obst speaks with reporters on Dec. 4, 2019 about a threat that was made against Saskatoon's Holy Cross High School on Tuesday evening. He said while the police are taking the threat seriously, there are indications that it could have been a joke. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Saskatoon Police Service Staff Sgt. Grant Obst said police were made aware of the threat at around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, noting officers were quickly able to defuse the situation and take the teen into custody. 

"At this point, our investigators are confident that there is no threat to public safety," he said. "We're continuing to talk with the young lad and we'll see where the investigation ends up." 

Obst said it's his understanding the map was seen by "numerous people," which created anxiety and concern in the community. He said some of the comments posted to the map included people providing insight on suggested weapons and explosives, which he called "disturbing."

Police said they're still working to determine the boy's motives for creating the map.

"When the investigators look at this, especially when you consider all the circumstances, when you consider the age of the young man, you have to make a determination: was this a serious threat, or was this an extremely, poorly thought out joke or somebody's idea of fun?"

Obst said while police and the community are taking the threat seriously, there is early indication the map may have been a joke, saying there are "two sides" to the threat.

When asked if he had a message for other teens who feel this type of act may be funny, Obst said they should think again, as they can cause immense anxiety and fear in a community. 

"For God's sake, give your head a shake," he said.