An 18-year-old security guard at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival has been arrested and charged with sending a fake gun threat to event staff – in order to get off work.
Janya Williams, who was hired to work the weekend of the event, is alleged to have used the TextNow platform to send an anonymous message on July 29 reading: “Mass shooting at 4pm location Lollapalooza. We have 150 targets.”
She’s also accused of setting up a fake Facebook profile to create a second false message reading: “Massive shooting at Lollapalooza GrantPark 6:00 p.m.” While she didn’t post the note, she took a screenshot and sent it to her supervisor, allegedly hoping to reinforce the urgency of the first message.
NBC Chicago reported that event organizers alerted local police and the FBI. Investigators said they traced Williams through the IP address used to send the text message, and arrested her. Under questioning, Williams reportedly admitted to creating the fake messages “because she wanted to leave work early.”
She was charged with falsely making a terrorist threat, a Class 1 felony that carries a jail sentence of between four and 15 years. Bail was set at $50,000 and Williams is expected to reappear in court on Monday (Aug. 8).
This year’s Lollapalooza had a daily capacity of 100,000 people, although some days didn’t sell out. Metallica headlined on July 28, with Dua Lipa on the day of Williams’ alleged crime, J. Cole on July 30 and and Green Day closing on July 31.
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