FREDERICK CO., MD — A female high school student had plans to shoot people and bomb her school in Frederick County, Maryland, police say.
The sheriff’s office found about about this threat of violence on March 23, after her father notified the school.
“I believe the father in coming forward actually averted a disaster, a tragedy; a catastrophic event,” said Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
Nichole Cevario, 18, of Thurmont, faces charges of possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device and possession of of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device.
Police say Cevario was pulled out of the classroom Thursday and taken to to Frederick Memorial Hospital for an emergency evaluation and currently remains hospitalized. The sheriff’s office says, Cevario was struggling with mental health issues which prompted the emergency evaluation.
Investigators searched the 18-year-old’s home and found a journal detailed the shooting. Police say, the journal also noted that she wanted to carry out her plan sometime in April at Catoctin High School.
Detectives say, her journal shows she had been planning the attack from sometime and even had details on emergency procedures such as emergency drills and even had information on the School Resource Deputy.
In their search of her home, officers also found a shotgun with ammunition, bomb making materials including, pipes with end caps, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape and fuse materials.
”The investigation revealed that at no time was there ever a weapon or explosive device brought on to school property. Additionally the investigation is clear that while explosive materials were located during the investigation they had not been combined in any form that actually created an explosive device,” stated the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in a press release.
Detectives have been interviewing family members and friends and known associates. So far, the sheriff’s offices says there is no one else who was assisting Cevario and the plan was solely planned by her.
The sheriff said discovering the extent to which Cevario had prepared for the event—which she had written in her journal would be April 5—surprised him.
“It shocked me to the core,” said Jenkins. “You never expected to hear it out of Columbine or Newtown or where ever. You never expect this.”
The sheriff gave credit to the teen’s father for coming forward with the information and the work of his detectives in preventing anyone from being harmed.
Louis Tennent had a class with Cevario. He was also surprised to learn that Cevario had bought the materials needed to build several pipe bombs.
"You hear the big things about how you have these kids who are mortally depressed and are overwhelmed with school and they just decide to let it all out and she didn’t seem to be one of them," said Tennent.
The school sent out a note after Cevario's arrest Thursday and a follow up on Monday encouraging students, parents and others to stop spreading misinformation about the situaion.
"While we handled this incident quickly and appropriately, we always ask for your help in controlling rumors, particularly social media rumors," read the note sent out by Catoctin principal Bernie Quesada. "The bottom line is this: We keep our school safe, and we will continue to work together as a community to keep it safe."
Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to call 301-600-2583.
Below is the latest information sent out by the high school:
Monday, March 27, 2017
Dear CHS Families:
I am writing to follow up on the FindOutFirst notice I sent Thursday, March 23. Our excellent partnership with our families and local law enforcement partners has yielded confirmation that the possible threat we advised you of has been addressed to keep our school safe. As you know we took action immediately together with our law enforcement partners to remove the student involved from the campus.
The Frederick County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with FCPS, has conducted a thorough investigation. I am providing you a link to their news release so you can see the findings they are able to share today:
I again want to assure you that no one at our school was harmed, no individual was directly threatened, and there were no weapons or other dangerous materials at our school.
We take all threats concerning student safety extremely seriously, as does law enforcement. While we handled this incident quickly and appropriately, we always ask for your help in controlling rumors, particularly social media rumors. The bottom line is this: We keep our school safe, and we will continue to work together as a community to keep it safe.
School counselors are available to any student who would like to speak with them. As always, administrators, teachers and all staff are trusted adults to whom students, parents and others may express any concern about safety at any time. Please feel free to call the school office at 240-236-8100.
FCPS also publishes the Safe Schools Tip Hotline number so that anyone can communicate concerns at any time: 1-877-636-6332.
Working together, we will continue to keep our school community a safe place to learn.
Bernie Quesada, Principal