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Lollapalooza Security Guard Faked Mass Shooting Threat To Leave Work Early, Prosecutors Say

The security guard was charged with making a false terrorist threat for allegedly circulating two fake messages, one of which said "Mass shooting at 4 pm location Lollapalooza. We have 150 targets."

Festival goers meander through Grant Park during the last day of Lollapalooza on July 31, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — A Lollapalooza security guard has been charged with making a false terrorist threat after circulating two fake mass shooting messages so she could leave work early, according to prosecutors.

On Friday, the second day of Lollapalooza, Janya Williams, 18, allegedly sent her supervisor an anonymous text message that read “Mass shooting at 4 pm location Lollapalooza. We have 150 targets” via TextNow.

Williams’ supervisor immediately notified supervisors, reporting it to the Chicago Police command post in Grant Park. The FBI’s Joint Counterterrorism Task Force was also notified of the potential threat, according to court documents.

When Williams’ supervisor returned to her team, Williams told them that her sister alerted her to a mass shooting threat found on Facebook.

Prosecutors said when Williams was asked to share a screenshot of the post, Williams created a Facebook page under the name “Ben Scott” and wrote out a post that read “Massive shooting at Lollapalooza GrantPark 6:00 p.m.”

Williams took a screenshot of the post, without actually posting it to Facebook, and send the screenshot to her supervisor, prosecutors said.

Through an emergency disclosure request, the FBI and Chicago police were able to determine that it was Williams who sent the initial threat to her supervisor using TextNow, prosecutors said.

“The Emergency Disclosure Request returned an Apple ICloud account and an IP address, the information revealed the account belonged to the [defendant],” court documents said.

Prosecutors said when Williams was brought in for questioning, she admitted she sent the message and created the fake post in order to leave work early.

A judge set Williams bond at $50,000, with the conditions that she must be on electronic monitoring if she’s bonded out. Her next hearing is set for Aug. 8.

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