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Teen Arrested in Freedom High School Bomb Plot

Expelled student Jared Michael Cano found with "minute-to-minute" instructions and bomb-making materials.

Editor's Note: This article was updated at 3:14 p.m.

 

A violent bomb plot planned for the first day of class at has been foiled, Tampa Police are saying.

Expelled student Jared Michael Cano, 17, was arrested and charged with "threatening to throw, project, place or discharge a destructive device."

Authorities said they found a diary with "very specific" and "minute-by-minute" details for wreaking havoc after receiving a tip late Tuesday morning, Aug. 16. The diary targeted specific administrators and any students who happened to be nearby during the planned incident. Police said it also included schematic drawings of rooms inside the educational facility and "disturbing statements about his intent to kill."

Authorities searched Cano's New Tampa home late Tuesday and uncovered the bomb-making materials needed for the teen to carry out such a plot: shrapnel, plastic tubing, as well as timing and fusing devices.

Just how likely it would have been for Cano to properly assemble the materials and get into a building he was expelled from is unclear, but the Tampa Police Department's Regional Bomb Team determined the quantity of materials seized had the capability of "taking multiple lives" and that he reportedly wanted to surpass Columbine in the number of casualties.

It appears at this point he was acting alone, police said.

Cano faces additional charges of possession of bomb-making materials, cultivation of marijuana because authorities found plants growing in his room and possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana.

According to TBO.com, Cano was recently arrested on a burglary charge in which a firearm was stolen. Police told the publication they are "very, very familiar with him." The youth was suspended from Freedom in Spring 2010 for an unspecified off-campus incident.

Cano was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center without incident, police said, and it is up to the State Attorney's Office whether or not to charge him as an adult.

Signs of Trouble?

Cano's Facebook page, which shows pictures of malt liquor and him posing with a machete, says his college is the "University of Marijuana" and his activities include "smoking weed." One of his favorite quotes? "Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten."

The youth's Aug. 16 post — the most recent — says "i jut did the dumbest thing ever!"

Cano's address is listed as Building 28 at the apartment complex on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Police and management shooed away members of the media quickly this afternoon. But Building 28 resident Brett Lee told Patch he was surprised to hear the suspect, whom he did not know, stays right near him.

"That's crazy," he said. "I had no idea (the person accused of the bomb plot) would live here.

"There were cops everywhere here last night," Lee added. "I thought it was a drug bust or something."

The foiled plot has members of the community shocked. On Twitter, @msuguy (New Tampa Patch blogger Don Gould) wrote "This is just down the street, YIKES!"

On Cano's Facebook page, Nicolette Thyne French wrote, "i can't believe you. i had to find all this out cause of the news? wow........... like i'm literally speechless."

And on New Tampa Patch's Facebook page, Glynese Presley called the news story "disturbing."

District Thanks Police

The Freedom High School community was alerted to the failed plot via an automated voice-mail message. 

The Hillsborough County School District thanked the response from Tampa Police as well as the individual who tipped them off to the deadly plot — a person who so far remains anonymous.

"It's extremely disappointing to know that a former student may have been planning an attack on one of our schools," spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said in a statement. "We will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure all our schools are safe and secure."

Named in honor of those Americans who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, Freedom High School serves more than 2,100 students.

School will open on Aug. 23 as originally planned.

Stay with New Tampa Patch for updates. 

Undacovabrotha August 17, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Thank God they're stupid (Jerry Orbach as Lenny Brisco, Law and Order)
Barbara Kendall August 17, 2011 at 08:46 PM
There is some great parenting in Florida. I still say that something is in the water or food because there is a nut case every in the news from Florida.

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