Parents make chilling discovery of teen’s plot for mass shooting at school

MARYLAND – A Catoctin High School student is facing felony charges after what investigators called a detailed plot to carry out a mass shooting at her school.

Thursday, the father of 18-year-old Nichole Cevario from Thurmont alerted school officials of the impending threat to the school and his daughter’s plot, which included a timeline, phases of the attack, and a target date. He also disclosed a shotgun and materials to make explosives that were found at their home, according to WTOP News.

Cevario was arrested Thursday and will be charged with possession of explosive materials, intent to create a destructive device, and possession of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device after she is released from Frederick Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation.

Authorities believe Cevario was acting alone and no one else was to be charged as of Monday, according to a news release issued by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

During a news conference Monday afternoon, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said, “This event was very probably prevented by the parents who stepped forward. They saw something, they said something, they came forward. They did the right thing. So, I give all the credit in the world to the parents of this young lady.”

The Frederick News-Post reports:

A number of “explosive materials” — including pipes with end caps, nails to be used as shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape and fuse materials — were seized by deputies in a search of Cevario’s home last week, but none of those materials had been combined in any way to create a bomb, Jenkins said.

“Basically, the plan was to extract the black powder from the fireworks to create the pipe bombs,” Jenkins said, adding that a Remington 870 shotgun and 12-gauge ammunition were also recovered from her home.

The press release on Monday clarified that no weapons or explosives were recovered at the school.


Among the items retrieved from Cevario’s residence was a journal, which remains at the center of the sheriff’s investigation as of Monday, according to Jenkins. He claimed the first entry, dated Dec. 16, 2016, eluded to violence.

“Within this diary, we saw evidence of mental health issues … a number of emotional issues. The way she went out and found the means to purchase materials,” Jenkins said. “… it was to create, basically, to be a mass shooting-type event. [There were] no specific names or targets.”

The journal contained a detailed analysis of every stage of Cevario’s plan and what she expected to encounter, including information she gathered from speaking with the school resource officer assigned to the school, Jenkins said.

Based on their disturbing findings, Jenkins said, “It was very clear to us that she had the means and materials to cause significant damage to herself, to the student body, to the facility up there at Catoctin High School. … We felt this was going to be carried out. There was no doubt in our minds that we averted a disaster up there.”

Authorities also have reason to believe that Cevario was intent on dying on Apr. 5, a date she specified in her journal for the shooting to occur. It remains unclear as to why she had chosen Apr. 5 and what events may have motivated her to plot the attack.

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