The man was arrested after someone notified Canada's RCMP that threats to kill people in a repeat of the Colorado theatre shootings were posted on a Facebook page.
The North Vancouver resident was arrested Aug. 1 but the RCMP only released details of the incident yesterday. Police described the threats made on Facebook as "disturbing" and found them to constitute a threat to public safety.
Ryan Lewis, 32, is charged with uttering threats. It is alleged he threatened to carry out a mass shooting similar to the one in an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre on July 20 where 12 people were killed and another 58 wounded.
Cpl. Richard De Jong, a spokesman for the North Vancouver RCMP, said, "The police are committed to keeping our communities safe and take these types of threats very seriously. Social media is a powerful tool and can be used for good or bad. Comments and postings are not private and for public safety reasons, are taken seriously!"
Lewis has been released from custody. He is subject to several bail conditions including one that he is not allowed to access the Internet.
Police refuse to disclose the exact wording of the threats or whether any weapons were found at Lewis's home.
Lewis made his first court appearance out of custody yesterday and then gave an interview to The Province. Described by his friends as having a hot temper, Lewis told the newspaper he threatened to do something stupid "as a means of blowing off steam." He denied ever having the intention to carry out the threats.
Lewis said, "I think (the charges) are fair—I was being stupid. I've never attacked anyone...I'm pretty embarrassed. I said some pretty stupid s---."
The 32-year-old baker, who has not seen The Dark Knight Rises, said he was not surprised when police showed up at his door.
Don Dutton, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia who assisted the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson trial, praised the person who notified the RCMP of the postings. Dutton is quoted in the Toronto Sun as saying, "It's typical after the fact people will go back and say, 'Oh, he put all this stuff up on the Internet but we didn't pay any attention, we didn't take it seriously.' So it makes a lot of sense to take it seriously."
One of Lewis' bail conditions is to obtain a psychiatric assessment. But the courts do not seem to take him seriously given, as CTV News reports, police believe he is mentally ill but he was still released into the community.
Lewis is scheduled to go back to court on Aug. 22.