Authorities in Maryland say that an 18-year-old student planned to shoot up her high school in an attack similar to Sandy Hook or Columbine. The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office announced on March 27 that Nichole Cevario had been arrested and sent to a hospital for mental evaluation. Her arrest took place on March 23. Investigators say Cevario had planned her attack for April 5. She is accused of plotting to shoot people and plant explosives at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Maryland, about 70 miles northwest of Baltimore. Cevario had been amassing the weaponry needed for her plot when she was arrested, cops said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cops Say Cevario’s Journal Revealed the Teen Planned to Die During the Attack
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that Cevario’s journal was recovered from her home. From that journal, authorities believe Cevario planned to die on the day of the shooting. Other details from the journal included information about the movements of the school resource officer. Authorities said the diary, “spelled out a detailed shooting event that she planned to execute on a specific date in April at Catoctin High School.” The specific date was April 5, reports WUSA’s Stephanie Gailhard.
At no time were guns or explosives brought on to the Catoctin High School campus. The Frederick News-Post quotes Major Tim Clarke of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office saying that Cevario was arrested at the school on March 23.
Clarke explained that weapons and explosive materials had been found in her home. Though none of the materials had been formed into a bomb. In addition, cops found a shotgun and ammunition. Police do not believe that there are no other suspects relating to the attack.
2. After Her Release From Hospital, Cevario Is Expected to be Charged With ‘Intent to Create a Destructive Device’
When Cevario is released from Frederick Memorial Hospital, she will be charged with the possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device and possession of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device, according to a press release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. If convicted, Cevario could face 25 years in prison, according to Maryland state law.
Investigators are trying to establish if Cevario “would have had the will to execute the event.” The sheriff’s statement says it is “clear that Ms. Cevario was struggling with mental health issues which prompted the emergency evaluation at Frederick Memorial Hospital.”
3. Cevario Is an Honor Student
Cevario is an honor roll student at Catoctin High School, according to a November 2016 notice in the Frederick News-Post. Cevario was named in similar notices in 2014 and 2015. One student who worked with Cevario on a project, Stephen Hockschild, told WUSA, “We could always joke around and everything. You would never expect her to do something like that.”
A spokesman for the Frederick County Public Schools told the Frederick News-Post about Cevario’s arrest, “We identify the location of the student, go to where the student is and then remove the student to the office. That’s where law enforcement takes over. … It’s important to us that we do that in a non-disruptive way and that’s exactly what happened here.”
Catoctin principal Bernie Quesada told parents in an email after Cevario, via the Frederick News-Post, “We take all threats concerning student safety extremely seriously, as does law enforcement. While we are handling this incident quickly and appropriately, we ask for your help in controlling rumors, particularly social media rumor. The bottom line is this: our school is safe, and we will work together as a community to keep it safe. We will share additional information as appropriate.”
4. Cevario’s Parents Are Being ‘Extremely Cooperative’ With the Investigation
The investigation into Cevario began when her father contacted authorities about his daughter’s behavior, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. The office said they are “extremely appreciative of the parent’s actions in bringing this potentially deadly incident to the proper authority’s attention, promptly, so that a positive conclusion could be achieved. They absolutely did the right thing and have been extremely cooperative throughout the entire investigation.”
5. Catoctin High School Was Rocked by the Suicide of a Student in April 2016
In April 2016, Catoctin High School was rocked by the tragic suicide of 16-year-old Sienna Caselle. Caselle, like Cevario, was from Thurmont, Maryland. Frederick County Councilman Billy Shreve described Caselle as being “larger than life,” according to the Frederick News Post. Caselle was known for volunteering especially with those who lived with disabilities.
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