The Chicago Tribune reports the staffer sought to get out of work early and intended to use the threat as cover.
On the second day of the long-running Chicago music festival, 18-year-old Janya B. Williams reportedly sent a message to a colleague from a phone number which read, “Mass shooting at 4pm location Lollapalooza. We have150 targets.” The number was allegedly created via TextNow, a free, internet-based phone service platform which allows users to register real phone numbers.
The colleague notified supervisors of the threat, which subsequently led to the involvement of Chicago Police and the FBI Joint Counterterrorism Task Force, per the Tribune. Williams allegedly created a throwaway Facebook account under the name “Ben Scott” and posted the threat there as well.
As part of TextNow’s privacy agreement, the company retains users’ IP addresses upon registration. As such, law enforcement was quickly able to tie the TextNow number back to Williams’ IP address.
Sources say Williams was arrested and charged with a felony count of making a false terrorism threat. Prosecutors reportedly stated that upon questioning, Williams admitted the scheme was an attempt to get out of work early.